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Thursday, August 27, 2015

How can I improve the transitions between my ideas?

TRANSITIONS

What is a transition?
· Transitions indicate the connections and relationships between your ideas and sentences.

Why are transitions important?
· Transitional words and phrases help you write clearly and coherently. Moreover, such transitions help the reader follow the text, stay focused, and understand how your main ideas are related to one another.


Why are transitions dangerous?
· Improper transitions can confuse readers. For instance, the use of the transition "Here, …" (see line 52 on page 2) in the sample is not correct because it indicates direction, but that is not the author's intention. This choice confuses the reader. Better to use a transition that indicates consequence, such as "Therefore,” or “Thus,”.

Which transitions should I use?
· The following list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections:

1. Addition: also, again, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly
2. Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, subsequently, therefore, thus
3. Contrast and Comparison: conversely, instead, likewise, on one hand/on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast
4. Emphasis: above all, chiefly, especially, particularly, singularly
5. Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as
6. Illustration: for example, for instance, as an example, in this case
7. Sequence: at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind
8. Similarity: comparatively, correspondingly, likewise, moreover
9. Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally

Which transitions should I NOT use?
· Try to avoid “restatement” transitions in formal writing. Rather than writing phrases like “in other words,” “that is to say,” or “to put it differently,” try improving your writing so you can express yourself effectively in the first place.

Exception: you might want to use transitions like “in other words” in TOEFL writing, since you might get extra “points” for additional content (longer is better as long as quality is high). Since you are unlikely to have time to edit your TOEFL writing, restating your key ideas using phrases like “in other words” might help your reader / grader understand your main idea. By contrast, when submitting papers for publication (or to your professor), you have to time to proofread and edit. Therefore, take time to produce clear, concise writing when submitting papers for a grade and/or publication.


Exercise

· Find and circle the transitions in your paper.
· Ask yourself, "Do my transitions express the connections between my ideas?"
· Are my transitions misleading in any way?

Homework: Re-write your transitions so that they best express the connections between your ideas.

Make use of transitional words and phrases. They help you write clearly and coherently. Moreover, such transitions help the reader follow the text and stay focused.

Transitions enhance logical organization and understandability and improve the connections between thoughts. They indicate relations, whether within a sentence, paragraph, or paper.

This list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections:

  • Addition: also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly
  • Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, subsequently, therefore, thus, thereupon, wherefore
  • Contrast and Comparison: but, by the same token, conversely, however, in contrast, instead, likewise, nevertheless, on one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, still, yet
  • Direction: beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance, here, there, over there
  • Diversion: by the way, incidentally
  • Emphasis: above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially, particularly, singularly
  • Exception: aside from, barring, beside, except, excepting, excluding, exclusive of, other than, outside of, save
  • Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as
  • Generalizing: as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually
  • Illustration: for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, illustrated with, as an example, in this case
  • Restatement: in essence, in other words, namely, that is, that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently
  • Similarity: comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly, identically, likewise, similar, moreover, together with
  • Sequence: at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in the meantime, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind,
  • Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally






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