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Transition words

Have you ever received comments such as: ‘Your writing does not flow well,’ or ‘poor linking’? Often there is an easy solution: use transition words. Transition words and phrases help your work to flow smoothly from one paragraph to the next. They act as a signpost: change direction, carry on along the same path, or conclude. We often think we know all about transition words, but it’s worth reminding ourselves exactly how different ones work.

Image credit: No-longer-here from Pixabay

1 Changing direction

Your first paragraph of main body text might explore the negative aspects of online education, for example. However, in your next paragraph, you wish to change direction and introduce some positive views, arguing the benefits of remote study. To mark this change, use transition words: ‘nevertheless’, ‘however’ or ‘nonetheless’, or phrases such as ‘on the other hand’ or ‘in contrast’.

2 Carrying on

If you are adding further evidence to support your argument, you might decide to start the next paragraph with a transition word such as ‘similarly’, ‘moreover’ or ‘furthermore’. Alternatively, you may want to move to a related idea: ‘Another significant aspect is . . .’ If you are concluding a point, towards the end of a paragraph, try words such as ‘therefore’, ‘consequently’ or the phrase ‘as a result’.

3 Ending

In your conclusion, you can use transition words such as ‘finally’, ‘briefly’ or ‘thus’ to signal a summary of what you have argued. Summing-up phrases include ‘to summarise’, ‘in conclusion’ and ‘in summary’. Such words indicate to the reader that your piece is heading towards a suitable close.

Geoff Barker
20 May 2021

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