Slide 4: First, let’s start with this question: What is a transition? Transitions are all about showing relationships and connections in your writing. This is important in academic writing because we want our readers to understand our ideas—and their connections—as easily and clearly as possible. Transitions are one way we show those connections.
There are two types of transitions; click on each type of transition to learn more about it. We’ll explore these types of transitions in more detail later in the module.
Slide 5: Flow is the word we often use to describe how the ideas link together within a paper. Flow includes clear and logical connections between your ideas, strong topic sentences at the beginning of your paragraphs, concise wording, and varied sentence structure. All of these elements together make your writing flow smoothly for the reader, making it easier for your audience to understand your argument.
Slide 6: Now that you have a better sense of how transitions are connected to flow, take a look at these two examples. Which of these is an example of good flow? Click on the example to learn more.
Slide 15: Here’s a recap of what we’ve learned so far. Remember that transitions are words and sentences that help with the flow of your ideas. In other words, transitions show the relationships between your ideas.
Slide 3: One-word transitions are the most common type of transition that students are familiar with and include examples such as therefore, however, further, finally, and so on. Oftentimes these words appear at the beginning of a sentence, but they can also appear in the middle of the sentence as well.
Click on each one-word transition to see it used in a sentence.
Slide 6: Many of the common one-word transitions that we use can be grouped by how we use them to show the relationships between ideas. For instance, we have words that provide additional information, show causation, show a comparison, or show us how things happened in a sequence.
Click each one-word transition category to see a few of these one-word transitions used in a sentence.
Slide 7: It is important to remember that these one-word transitions signify a relationship between your ideas and are not just words to take up space in your sentence. Therefore, it is important that you make sure the transitions you select are accurately reflecting the relationships and are representative of the relationships between your ideas across sentences and paragraphs.
Slide 8: Explicit one-word transitions often fit into categories, based on the type of relationship they represent. Click each category to see a few of these explicit one-word transitions used in a sentence.
Slide 9: Beyond explicit transitions, writers should also use implicit transitions. These transitions are a bit less obvious and more implied, which can promote flow and less repetition while still connecting ideas.
Click each strategy for creating implicit transitions to see an example.
Slide 12: One thing to keep in mind as you are incorporating transitions in your writing is to use them wisely. For instance, if you use one-word transitions too often in your papers then they lose their usefulness, as we see in this example.
Click each one-word transition for an explanation of whether it is used appropriately or inappropriately.
Slide 26: The key thing to remember about one-word transitions is that they are not just “filler” in the sentence. Instead, they show a relationship between your ideas and therefore should be used judiciously.
Slide 3: Sometimes the connections we want to make between ideas are more complicated and will require more than just one word to link them together. In these instances, we will use transitional sentences.
You might be wondering what the difference is between a “regular” sentence and a “transitional” sentence. In many ways, a transitional sentence will be similar to the other sentences in your paper. However, there is one important difference and that is the function of the sentence. In other words, a transitional sentence is intended to link ideas that you are presenting in the paper. So rather than present new information to the reader, a transitional sentence acts as a link or a bridge to connect the different parts of your argument.
Slide 4: Let’s look at an example. In this example we have two ideas that are somewhat related, but the connection that the author is trying to make is not clearly stated, so the reader has to fill in the connection on their own. By adding in another sentence to explicitly link these ideas together, the author can be sure that the reader is interpreting these sentences correctly.
Click the example to see a revision with an added transitional sentence.
Slide 5: Let’s look at another example. Here we can see that there is some connection between the two topics, but again, it is up to the reader to fill in the blank for themselves. By adding in a transitional sentence to connect the two topics together, the reader is able to see what the author is arguing and how these ideas connect together.
Click the example to see a revision with an added transitional sentence as well.
Slide 6: It’s also important to note that if you are feeling unsure about how to use a transitional sentence, remember that the focus is on moving from one topic to the next and showing the connection between your ideas. Transitions, whether they are one word or a sentence, are always about making connections.
If you’re ever unsure how to include a transitional sentence, try asking yourself these questions: What connection do I want to show my reader between these ideas? How can I help connect these ideas for my reader?
Slide 7: Now it’s time for you to try writing a transitional sentence on your own. Read these two sentences, then write a transitional sentence to go between the two sentences. Click Continue once you’re done to see a few example transitional sentences that we’ve written.
Slide 8: Here are our example transitional sentences. These examples won’t be the same as the transitional sentence you wrote, and that’s okay! Each writer will approach and write a transitional sentence differently based on the relationship they want to express, their writing style, and their perspective.
Click on each example transitional sentence to learn more about the writer’s thought process in writing that particular transitional sentence.
Slide 15: We’ve learned two main ideas about transitional sentences: First, transitional sentences also show connections between ideas, but often do so for more complex ideas than one-word transitions. Second, transitional sentences also come from your perspective as the author and are part of your contribution to the paragraph.
Slide 3: Transitions are not only useful between sentences, they are also helpful when you are trying to move from topic to topic in your paragraphs. It is important to transition between paragraphs so the flow of your paper, as a whole, will be smooth, which means that your readers will be able to follow your argument throughout the entire paper.
Slide 6: Transitions between paragraphs can be tricky because you have to think about how you end your paragraphs and how you begin the next one. If the transition between one paragraph to the next paragraph is not smooth, then your paper will feel disjointed. However, if you can connect the final sentence in your paragraph to the topic sentence of the following paragraph, you are able to have a smooth and successful transition—which makes your argument even stronger!
Slide 11: Let’s look at an example of how a writer can use a topic sentence to create a transition between paragraphs. Take a moment to read these two paragraphs; once you’re ready, click Play Explanation to learn more about how this writer created this transition between paragraphs.
Play Explanation: The transition between these two paragraphs is created with the topic sentence of the second paragraph. The first paragraph ends with the conclusion that online education is diverse and complex. The second paragraph then begins by referring back to the idea that online education is complex, while introducing the new idea that there should be continued changes in online education. This first sentence of the second paragraph acts as a bridge between these two paragraphs and their ideas.
Slide 12: Here’s another example of two paragraphs and a transition between them. Read these two paragraphs as well, clicking Play Explanation when you’re ready to learn more about them.
Play Explanation: The transition between these two paragraphs is also created in the second paragraph’s topic sentence. Here, this sentence refers back to the first paragraph’s summary of online education—“what we know”—and introduces the idea that there are things we don’t know about online education—the focus of the second paragraph. Again, this topic sentence acts as a bridge, connecting the main ideas of each paragraph.
Slide 13: Now it’s your turn! Open a recent discussion post or paper you finished writing or are currently writing. Look closely at your paragraphs and analyze whether you have used topic sentences to create flow between paragraphs. Reflecting on your current writing practices will help you make changes to future writing practices!
Slide 14: You’ve learned about transitions between paragraphs in this tutorial, focusing on how (1) these types of transitions improve flow and connect ideas and (2) you can use topic sentences to connect paragraphs.