Writing Workshop: Transitioning Inside and Between Paragraphs

It is important to make it as easy as possible for your reader to follow and understand the order of your argument. Using proper transitions can be a huge help with that. It is important that you transition your readers as you move them between different body paragraphs as well as between different examples within a single body paragraph. The organization of your written work includes two elements: (1) the order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument, and (2) the relationships you construct between these parts. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow.

Transiting Between Paragraphs: If you have done a good job of arranging paragraphs so that the content of one leads logically to the next, the transition will highlight a relationship that already exists by summarizing the previous paragraph and suggesting something of the content of the paragraph that follows. A transition between paragraphs can be a word or two (however, for example, similarly), a phrase, or a sentence. Transitions can be at the end of the first paragraph, at the beginning of the second paragraph, or in both places.

Transiting Within Paragraphs: As with transitions between sections and paragraphs, transitions within paragraphs act as cues by helping readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. Within paragraphs, transitions tend to be single words or short phrases.

Check out the sample transitions below:

LOGICAL RELATIONSHIP

TRANSITIONAL

EXPRESSION

Similarity

also, in the same way, just as … so too, likewise, similarly

Exception/Contrast

but, however, in spite of, on the one hand … on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, in contrast, on the contrary, still, yet

Sequence/Order

first, second, third, … next, then, finally

Time

after, afterward, at last, before, currently, during, earlier, immediately, later, meanwhile, now, recently, simultaneously, subsequently, then

Example

for example, for instance, namely, specifically, to illustrate

Emphasis

even, indeed, in fact, of course, truly

Place/Position

above, adjacent, below, beyond, here, in front, in back, nearby, there

Cause and Effect

accordingly, consequently, hence, so, therefore, thus

Additional Support or Evidence

additionally, again, also, and, as well, besides, equally important, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then

Conclusion/Summary

finally, in a word, in brief, briefly, in conclusion, in the end, in the final analysis, on the whole, thus, to conclude, to summarize, in sum, to sum up, in summary

Transition Video 1

Transition Video 2

Transition Video 3

Activity, Practicing Transitions:

Look back at the transitions above. Then, read the paragraph below from one of your classmate’s essay on social media. I have removed all the transitions. Help us put those back in by filling in the blanks with an appropriate transition. **Do note the comma used after each transition.

, more often, social media activism fails to make a significant difference as it does not inspire the long-term investment required. , Erin Lee, a journalist for the National Public Radio, in her article “How Effective is Social Media Activism,” relates it all to effort. She says, “Studies have shown that when people support a cause with some effort, they’re more likely to support a cause with an even larger effort in the future… If college students choose to be activists by sharing a link or liking a status, they may not feel more compelled to take real, tangible effort towards social change (2). The popularity of a movement now does not hold real value unless it is held accountable to have the lasting effect of change. ,in the article “Small Change”by Malcolm Gladwell, a renown journalist for The New Yorker, the author makes the claim that social media does not foster strong commitments. He says, “The platforms of social media are built around weak ties,” continuing to ask, “How [do] the [social media] campaigns get so many people to sign up? By not asking too much of them. That’s the only way you can get someone you don’t really know to do something on your behalf” (3). When social media users are asked to do something by a stranger, they do not develop the necessary commitment to follow through. , this idea of weak relationships crosses over to lead to weak campaigns and weak pledges.

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