Coherence is one of the most important components of your writing. I would argue that it is of primary importance. If the reader cannot decipher your meaning, the article, essay, book report, or blog is weakened.
One way that you can help your reader is to use transitions. Transitions are words or phrases that signal a connection between one idea and the next. These connections guide the reader from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph. You can think of these words as the connections that keep a chain together as one piece.
You don’t need transitions for every sentence. In fact, this would be quite annoying; however, well-placed transition words and phrases will make your writing easier to read and comprehend.
If you are writing for a course, these beneficial attributes will increase your grade. There is no better feeling for the reader than being able to understand the message of the text in one reading.
Use transitions thoughtfully. For example, do not use “consequently” when a transition such as “also” would be more precise. In other words, if what follows “consequently” is not a consequence then you will need a different transition.
There are many transition words and phrases, but let’s look at some examples to help you get started.
Transitions for time relationships:
after, before, earlier, first, later, meanwhile, next, since.
First, heat up the oven to 350 degrees. Next, begin preparing the roast by seasoning it.
Transitions for spatial relationships:
across, above, behind, below, beside, between, in front of, next to, to the left.
I moved the table to the window. Next to the table, I placed three chairs.
in short, in conclusion, therefore, to sum up.
Several other researchers have arrived at the same conclusion. To sum up, taking a proactive approach provides more positive results than waiting for organic change.
To show a logical relationship:
consequently, for this reason, if, since, so, therefore.
The exam was almost over. For this reason, Susan delegated the last moments to proofread her work.
To show addition:
also, and, further, moreover, next.
John’s inability to comprehend the text made it difficult for him to finish the book. Moreover, he was unable to write about the topic.
To give examples:
for example, instance, specifically, to illustrate.
Several students presented excellent projects. For instance, Mark illustrated the potentially dramatic effects of climate change.
although, however, nevertheless, on the other hand, yet.
The director was unable to attend the budget meeting. Nevertheless, the committee completed the task with skill.
Practice using transitions in your writing but only when they add to the quality.
Reading your work aloud or recording it and listening back to the sentences and paragraphs can help you discern whether or not you have achieved the desired result.
This week’s video:
Transitions – Improve Your Flow!