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Writing Center

Connecting Ideas with Transitions

So what?

Paragraphs are the foundation of most written texts. Paragraphs allow writers to convey significant and compelling ideas. Unfortunately, written texts often include ideas within and between paragraphs that are not unified. A writer might be communicating very important information, but without cohesive ideas, readers will just see a disorganized mess. Thankfully, it is easy to write organized paragraphs by using effective transitions within and between paragraphs.

Summarized Explanation

  • Transitions are like chains that connect ideas.
  • Transitions should appear in the beginning, middle, and end of a paragraph.
  • Transitions should appear in the beginning, middle, and end of a multi-paragraph text.

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Detailed Explanation

Below are specific examples of effective transitions along with suggestions for additional transitional words and phrases. The example essay is the same one that appears in the writing guide for Developing Body Paragraphs. The individual paragraphs below are cohesive because each includes transitional words or phrases at the beginning, middle, and end (see the yellow highlighting). The three paragraphs are also unified by transitions, which are included at the beginning, middle, and end of the text as a whole (see the green highlighting).     

          To begin, it is important to follow the sandwich template because it reminds writers that a topic sentence is crucial for all paragraphs. For one, topic sentences reiterate a writer’s thesis statement within a multi-paragraph text. Furthermore, they focus ideas within paragraphs and create cohesion among ideas in different paragraphs. Lastly, topic sentences assist readers in understanding the flow of ideas within a longer text. Thus, it is helpful to follow the sandwich model for paragraph development because it emphasizes topic sentences as a way to highlight, unite, and organize one’s ideas in writing.     

          Secondly, it is good to follow the sandwich template because it shows that supporting sentences are essential for all paragraphs. This is because supporting sentences provide the meat of a body paragraph. For example, they offer relevant information, details, and research to support the main idea of a paragraph and justify its key claim. Therefore, it is easy to see why the sandwich model for paragraph development calls for supporting sentences since they provide substance and proof for a writer’s ideas.

          Lastly, the sandwich template is significant because it encourages readers to use strong concluding sentences for all paragraphs. Essentially, concluding sentences provide an opportunity for writers to reiterate key information. They also create cohesion among ideas within a paragraph. Moreover, concluding sentences bring closure to a paragraph. All in all, it is great that the sandwich model for paragraph development includes concluding sentences because they emphasize, unify, and wrap up a writer’s ideas.

There are many ways to use transitions as chains that connect ideas within and between paragraphs, so writers can get creative. Just remember to use them at the beginning, middle, and end of paragraphs and multi-paragraph texts. Furthermore, use transitions appropriately depending on the type of “chain” that is needed. A thesaurus will be helpful for adding varied transitions within one’s writing. It is also good to think of transitions in terms of categories—see below for some common transition categories.

Add Compare Contrast

Show Cause & Effect

Illustrate Show Sequence & Time Summarize & Conclude

And

Also

Too

Additionally

In addition to

Furthermore

Moreover

As well (as)

Similarly

In a similar fashion

In the same way

In the same manner

Likewise

On the contrary

In contrast

On the other hand

That said

However

Although/Though

Even though/if

Instead

Conversely

Alternatively

Then again

But

Yet

Still

Nevertheless

Nonetheless

While

At the same time

So

Consequently

As a result

Accordingly

Because

For that reason

Since

Due to

For example

To illustrate

To give an example

For instance

In this case

Such as

(Let’s) say

Namely

First, second, third, etc.

Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc.

For starters

To begin

Now

Then

After

Meanwhile/while

Afterward

Later

Next

Subsequently

Simultaneously

For the time being

Soon

To conclude

In conclusion

Therefore

Thus

In summary

To summarize

In brief

To end

All in all

To sum up

In a nutshell