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Effective Writing Skills for Paragraph Transitions


Just as you should write the topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence of a paragraph to support the paragraph’s main idea, you should write paragraphs so that they support your paper’s central idea, or thesis. Using transitions within paragraphs helps you stick to each paragraph’s main idea. Effectively using transitions between paragraphs helps you connect them so they flow in a logical manner to help your readers understand your paper’s central idea.

Purpose

Creating effective transitions helps to unify your paragraphs and prevents choppy wording in your paper. Unifying your paragraphs with transitions also strengthens support for your thesis. In addition, developing well-connected paragraphs that support your thesis improves your chances of achieving a good score on your writing test or assignment.

Within Paragraphs

Using transitions within paragraphs helps to signal to your readers that your sentences work together to support the paragraphs’ main idea. Words like “next,” “then,” and “finally” help your readers anticipate what’s coming next. Short transitional phrases such as “in addition” and “equally important” unite sentences within paragraphs.

Between Paragraphs

When you arrange paragraphs to flow logically, using transitions between them emphasizes those connections. Make the transitions between paragraphs by using a single transition word, a transitional phrase and complete sentences. While it is common to see transitions at the beginning of paragraphs, you can also use them at the end of paragraphs to connect them to the ones that follow.

Choose Right

Select the right transition words to achieve uniformity in your paper, because different transition words have different meanings. For example, to show a similarity, you could choose words such as “also,” “likewise” and “similarly.” When showing an exception or contrast, use words like “but,” “on the other hand” and “however.” You can conclude or summarize with the words “in conclusion,” “to summarize” and “finally.”

Revise

Read your paper several times to determine if your transitions effectively connect your paragraphs so they support your thesis. Reading your paper aloud can help you hear whether the transitions you have made within and between paragraphs result in your paper flowing logically. Whenever possible, give your paper to a classmate, friend or parent to check whether your writing flows well.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Melissa Nicholas has been writing features articles since 1995. She was a features writer and columnist for “The Gainesville Times” newspaper and “The Island Packet” newspaper. During that time, she received Associated Press awards for features writing and for newspaper page design.

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