When you write an essay, your ideas usually follow a structured path that starts with an introduction and ends with a conclusion, and you make stops at different supporting points. To guarantee your writing flows smoothly, you need transition sentences. These sentences connect your thoughts and express their relationships, such as how, where, when, and why. Our article explains the definition of transition sentences, their types, and hacks on how to use them to perform good writing.
What is a transition sentence?
It’s essential to understand the definition of this concept before you start learning how to write a transition sentence for your research. These sentences act as connectors between ideas in a piece of writing. They function like bridges, merges, and tunnels that link different text sections through particular phrases and words serving as road signs.
Its main purpose and core functions
The main objective of academic and professional writing is to convey information clearly and concisely while also persuading readers to accept your viewpoint. Transitions play a crucial role in achieving these goals by creating logical connections between paragraphs, sentences, and sections of papers. Let’s see their essential functions:
- They serve as a guide for readers on how to interpret the information presented.
- Transition sentences inform readers how to respond to ideas as they progress through writing, whether a single word, phrase, or sentence.
- They establish relationships between statements, such as signaling to introduce a new example or presenting an exception to a previous idea.
- They also indicate that a new argument is being introduced or an idea must be reconsidered.
- Transition sentence guide readers on how to construct a logical argument from your ideas.
- They are not just decorative words that enhance the flow and sound of your paper; they convey specific meanings that guide the reader's thought process and reaction to your ideas.
- Transitions facilitate readers' comprehension of how your ideas fit together.
What makes a great transition sentence?
A good transition sentence is essential in writing as it clarifies the relationship between two or more ideas. It is a crucial tool for any writer, regardless of their writing type, be it a blog post, short story, academic work, or news article. The key is to express ideas clearly and understandably for the reader.
Understanding what needs to be communicated is important to select the best transition sentence for a given situation. For example, when expressing a point that goes against a previous statement, the best way to create an effective transition sentence is to include words or phrases like “in contrast,” “despite this/that,” “nonetheless,” or “however.”
Consider the following examples:
Despite making it a priority to wake up an hour before leaving home each morning, I still manage to be late to the university at least once weekly.
While most of our team named Friday their favorite weekday, a small group of employees said Wednesday was their favorite day.
Transition sentences can join contradictory statements and establish sequences, similarities, and cause-and-effect relationships between ideas, examples, positions, and emphasis. Further, we’ll consider them in detail.
Transitioning between paragraphs
If you write the body of an essay, creating links between paragraphs can be made through transition words and phrases, which are powerful tools to enhance individual sentences and entire paragraphs. When crafting effective paragraphs, it is beneficial to incorporate these tools to guarantee coherence and flow. Transition sentences should be added at the beginning of a paragraph to introduce the topic and provide the context within the larger writing piece. Whereas every paragraph should focus on a particular topic, it’s advisable to avoid using the end of a paragraph to specify the theme of the next one.
When beginning a new paragraph, it is important to have the first sentence state:
- What will the paragraph be about?
- How is it related to the previous section?
In this way, the transition sentence serves the dual purpose of establishing the paragraph's focus while also connecting it to the broader theme of the written paper. Look at several examples of transition sentences demonstrating how to achieve this effect.
"Although social media has its advantages, it is essential to acknowledge its potential drawbacks. Given the surge in cyberbullying and the dissemination of false information, we must adopt a discerning approach to using social media."
In this transition sentence, the writer moves from discussing the benefits of social media in the previous paragraph to acknowledging its potential negative results in the upcoming section. The sentence prepares the ground for the next paragraph's discussion on the drawbacks of social media.
"While some claim that technological progress is causing greater disconnection among people, there is proof to the contrary. Indeed, numerous technologies are enabling improved connection and communication between individuals globally."
The writer uses this transition sentence to shift the focus from the argument presented in the previous paragraph, which asserts that technology is bringing social disconnection, to showing evidence that contradicts this statement in the upcoming section. By doing so, the sentence prepares the reader for the next paragraph's exploration of how technology enables improved communication and connection among people.
“For overcoming a fear of public speaking, it is crucial to identify the root causes underlying it. One of the main reasons for this fear is the fear of being judged by others. Nonetheless, by acknowledging and gaining insight into the source of this fear, individuals can initiate the development of effective coping measures.”
In this transition sentence, the writer moves from discussing the root causes of a fear of public speaking in the previous paragraph to highlighting the importance of creating coping strategies in the upcoming section. The sentence bridges the two paragraphs, connecting the discussion of fear's origins to the subsequent explanation of how to overcome it.
Transitioning to a new section
Although links between paragraphs are often organized in a single sentence, longer papers may need an entire transition paragraph when going to a new section. Such transition sentences for essays necessitate concluding content disclosed in the previous section and outlining how the new section will continue or diverge from the topic sentence. In academic writing, it is essential to maintain clarity while prioritizing being concise. Write one sentence to transition to a new section whenever possible, but be prepared to use more if necessary.
Let’s look at some transition sentence examples where a single sentence is used as a transition, and a transition paragraph is applied to go to the next section.
Example 1 (a transition sentence to a new section):
“Having examined the primary factors behind the issue, shifting our focus toward identifying viable solutions is essential.”
Example 2 (a transition paragraph to a new section):
“Having delved into the historical context of the issue in the preceding section, it is now necessary to shift our focus towards its present-day impact. The next section will scrutinize how the issue impacts individuals and communities in their day-to-day lives. Through a thorough analysis of the current consequences, we can better comprehend the urgency to address this issue.”
Transitions within a paragraph
Transition sentences used to introduce new paragraphs differ from those added to move from one sentence to another within a paragraph. The latter type of sentences typically have a more limited scope and are better suited for seamless transitions between specific details within ideas rather than comparing different ideas between themselves.
The arrangement of information in each paragraph plays a crucial role in maintaining the coherence of your writing. To ensure the smooth flow of ideas, authors often employ the “known-new contract,” according to which a new sentence should typically begin with a reference to the information disclosed in the preceding sentence before introducing new information.
For instance, in the following example, the second sentence lacks a clear link to the first. It is only toward the end that the connection between the two becomes evident.
Example 1 (bad):
“Industrialization brought about numerous impacts on society. A growing number of formerly rural people who moved to newly developed industrial cities, known as urbanization, was one of its effects.”
To facilitate a more coherent flow of ideas, it’s necessary to apply one effective strategy, which is to reorder the facts in the second sentence and start with a reference to the first sentence. By applying this technique, we can help the reader to follow our argument more smoothly.
Example 2 (good):
“The population experienced several changes during the industrial revolution, with urbanization being one of the most significant effects. This involved migrating rural populations to new industrial towns, resulting in people concentrated in urban areas.”
It is important to note the “known-new contract” is not an absolute rule but rather a broad guideline. While it may not be necessary to structure all paragraph transitions in this manner, employing this technique can prove beneficial, particularly when faced with challenges in achieving coherence within your text.
Transition words and phrases
Transition words play a crucial role in turning regular sentences into transition sentences, as they help to highlight links within and between sentences to your reader and act like road signs that guide the flow of your writing from one point to the next. The transition sentence starters you pick are essential for your reader's comprehension, as seemingly identical sentences can convey vastly different meanings depending on the transition word employed. Consider examples of how choosing different transition words can change the same statement.
“I adore visiting new cities and discovering new cultures. Last year, I visited three new cities in Europe.”
“I adore visiting new cities and discovering new cultures. Thus, I visited three new cities in Europe.”
“I adore visiting new cities and discovering new cultures. In general, I visited three new cities in Europe.”
In the first example, the writer talks about visiting three cities last year, but we don’t know the general number of cities he visited during other periods. In the second example, the author indicates he visited three cities within some period, but we don’t know from the sentences what this period is. In the third example, the writer says that he visited three cities overall during his life.
Types of transition words and phrases
The function of transition words can vary, which leads to the classification of such words into several categories. The following list consists of six types of transition words with relevant examples.
- Addition/Agreement Transitions
In addition, furthermore, moreover, also, too, as well as, likewise, similarly, equally important, not only… but also, additionally.
Addition/agreement transitions refer to words or phrases that supplement or highlight resembling or related concepts in a sentence or paragraph. These words are also introduced to give new information or examples or show agreement with a previous statement. They play an important role in demonstrating the connection between various ideas and enhancing the overall consistency and comprehensibility of the writing.
“I enjoy playing football. I also like playing volleyball.”
- Contrast/Concession Transitions
However, nevertheless, on the other hand, despite, although, even though, in spite of, nonetheless, in contrast, yet, but.
Contrast/concession transitions refer to words or phrases employed to demonstrate a contrast or concession between various ideas within a sentence or paragraph. They help convey that the writer is presenting a distinct or differing viewpoint and enhance the complexity and impartiality of the writing.
“I love going to the beach. However, I don't like getting sunburnt.”
- Cause/Effect Transitions
Because of this, due to this, since, thus, hence, as a result, therefore, consequently, so.
Cause/effect transitions refer to words or phrases showing the cause-and-effect relationship between various ideas in a sentence or paragraph. They are used to clarify why a particular event occurred or the outcomes of a certain event or action.
“The roads were icy this morning. As a result, there were many accidents.”
- Time/Sequence Transitions
First, second, third, next, then, afterward, simultaneously, last, meanwhile, subsequently, finally, in conclusion.
Time/sequence transitions refer to words or phrases that show the order or sequence of events in a sentence or paragraph. These transitions are crucial in presenting a clear timeline of when certain events occurred and how they unfolded.
“I woke up early this morning. First, I had a shower. Then, I had breakfast.”
- Comparison Transitions
Similarly, in the same way, likewise, compared to, as with, just as, like, as, such as, as if.
Comparison transitions draw attention to the similarities or differences between two or several ideas in a sentence or paragraph. They play a key role in facilitating comparison and elucidating the connections between different concepts.
“Jerry is a great football player. Similarly, his son is also skilled at the sport.”
- Emphasis Transitions
In fact, actually, indeed, of course, truly, certainly, clearly, above all, undoubtedly, no doubt, without a doubt, especially.
Emphasis transitions highlight a particular point or idea in a sentence or paragraph. They help to clarify a statement and emphasize and convey the significance of a particular idea or concept.
“His research findings were impressive. Indeed, they demonstrated a significant breakthrough in the field.”
Improve your writing transition words and phrases
Transition sentences are vital in creating a smooth and coherent flow in your text. If you need more clarification on whether the transition sentence you've selected suits your work, give EduBirdie a try. Our writing experts can offer helpful suggestions to polish your content and identify syntax, spelling, and grammatical errors. With our help, you’ll get coherent and smooth content with logically structured paragraphs. Feel free to contact us day and night!