Skip to content

Literary Essay Transition Sentences

Contributors:Ryan Weber, Karl Stolley.
Summary:

A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices.

Writing Transitions

Good transitions can connect paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions can help readers understand how paragraphs work together, reference one another, and build to a larger point. The key to producing good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs. By referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from previous paragraphs, writers can develop important points for their readers.

It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off. (Instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't belong together at all.) Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an obvious progression for readers. Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Instead of writing transitions that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph, write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph to another specific paragraph.

Example: Overall, Management Systems International has logged increased sales in every sector, leading to a significant rise in third-quarter profits.

Another important thing to note is that the corporation had expanded its international influence.

Revision: Overall, Management Systems International has logged increased sales in every sector, leading to a significant rise in third-quarter profits.

These impressive profits are largely due to the corporation's expanded international influence.

Example: Fearing for the loss of Danish lands, Christian IV signed the Treaty of Lubeck, effectively ending the Danish phase of the 30 Years War.

But then something else significant happened. The Swedish intervention began.

Revision: Fearing for the loss of more Danish lands, Christian IV signed the Treaty of Lubeck, effectively ending the Danish phase of the 30 Years War.

Shortly after Danish forces withdrew, the Swedish intervention began.

Example: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list.

There are other things to note about Tan as well. Amy Tan also participates in the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King and Dave Barry.

Revision: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list.

Though her fiction is well known, her work with the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders receives far less publicity.

Contributors:Ryan Weber, Karl Stolley.
Summary:

A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices.

Transitional Devices

Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.

There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.

Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way.

To Add:

and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)

To Compare:

whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true

To Prove:

because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is

To Show Exception:

yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes

To Show Time:

immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then

To Repeat:

in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted

To Emphasize:

definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation

To Show Sequence:

first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon

To Give an Example:

for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate

To Summarize or Conclude:

in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently

Definition of Transition

Transitions are words and phrases that provide a connection between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. Transitions help to make a piece of writing flow better. They can turn disconnected pieces of ideas into a unified whole, and prevent a reader from getting lost in the storyline.

Since the goal of a writer is to convey information clearly and concisely, transitions help achieve that aim by providing a logical connection between one or more sections of a piece of writing. Transitions usually work best when used to link one paragraph to the next, and are usually found at the beginning of the paragraph, although they can be used anywhere when needed.

Some examples of transition words or phrases include:

  • another key point
  • indeed
  • in fact
  • first thing to remember
  • on the negative side
  • on the positive side

A piece of writing usually contains two elements: (1) the order in which different parts of a discussion or argument are provided to the readers; and (2) the relationship the writer has used to link these parts together. Transitions cannot be used as a substitute for good organization, but they do aid in making the writing easier and clearer to follow by keeping a constant, consistent flow from one paragraph to the next.

Some clues that a writer needs to use transitions include:

  • The written work is choppy, abrupt and jumpy.
  • The writer has moved from one point to the next abruptly and quickly, without a visible connection between the two ideas.
  • The readers have trouble following the writer’s train of thought, or organization of ideas.

Following is an example of a disjointed paragraph can be made to flow smoothly by the use of transitions:

Disjointed Sentence:
“We will be here for a few more days so we can finish up some leftover work. We are staying longer because we do not want to miss the Tech Info conference taking place next week.”

Revised with Transition:
“We will be here for a few more days so we can finish up some leftover work. Another reason we are staying longer is because we do not want to miss the Tech Info Conference taking place next week.

In the first sentence, the two ideas are abruptly linked without a transition present to connect the two together. In the revised version, the sentences are linked by a transition to connect the two ideas for smoother flow, giving the reader a better understanding of what the writer wanted them to know.

Common Locations of Transitions

1. Between Sections

In longer pieces of writing, transitional paragraphs summarize the information for readers, and specify the relevance of the information in the sections to come.

2. Between Paragraphs

Transitions form a relationship between paragraphs by connecting them with phrases, words, or sentences that can be placed at the end of the first paragraph, the start of the second paragraph, or in both places.

3. Within Paragraphs

These help the reader anticipate what is to come by serving as cues. Within paragraphs, transitions are usually short phrases or single words.

Examples of Transition

Example #1:

To show contrast between ideas: on the contrary, however, notwithstanding

Example #2:

To denote time: after, at last, before

Example #3:

To add to the previous point in the essay: furthermore, besides, moreover

Example #4:

To show similarity or comparison between ideas: likewise, similarly, in like fashion

Example #5:

To concede a point in the essay: although, at least, at any rate

Example #6:

To emphasize a point: indeed, above all, truly

Example #7:

To bring attention to detail: especially, specifically, in particular

Example #8:

To show consequence or a result: with the result that, so that, consequently

Example #9:

To illustrate a point or provide examples: for instance, for example, to illustrate

Example #10:

To make a suggestion in the essay: to this end, for this purpose, with this in mind

Example #11:

To sum up the points: finally, therefore, consequently

Function of Transition

Transitions can be used in diverse circumstances. A transition can be a word, a phrase, or even an entire paragraph. The function of a transition is the same in each case: it summarizes the content of the preceding paragraph or section, and it helps the reader anticipate what’s to come in the next paragraph.

However, the major function is not just to embellish one’s writing by making it read or sound better; these are words which serve the function of presenting the ideas in such a way that help readers react in particular ways to the ideas presented. They play a very important part in helping readers see the logical sequence of the idea.