Transitions

-Cassie Peterson-

Hi all! Today I’m writing about transition words and phrases and telling you how to correctly use them in your own writing. First of all, a transition is a word or a phrase that signals progression from one sentence to another, or one part of a sentence to the other. We use these in our writing constantly! Some examples include: first, next, for example, and however. These words help us move along from one idea to the next in our writing and makes our paper read much smoother.

Examples:

First, he fed the dog, then he watered the plants.

However, we cannot place the blame entirely on the parents.

Interesting man

Mistakes to Avoid

Fragments beginning with transitions: It can be easy to write a half-sentence, or a fragment, and think it’s a complete sentence. This mistake commonly happens with sentences starting with transition words. Here are some examples which can help you understand what a fragment looks like with a transition word and how the sentence can be fixed.

Incorrect way: I enjoy many outdoor activities. Such as hiking, swimming, and fishing.

Correct way: I enjoy many outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, and fishing.

Incorrect way: She is happily married. Along with two kids.

Correct way: She is happily married, along with two kids.

A sentence needs to have a subject and a predicate to be complete!

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Setting off transitional expressions

Transitions that are used to connect parts of a sentence are usually signaled by commas. The following example uses the transition phrase, “as a result”, which is followed by a comma before the sentence begins.

As a result, more people in the town are beginning to lock their doors at night.

Linking independent clauses

So, this one is really simple. If two independent clauses are linked by a transition, use a semicolon before the transition to link them. This example uses the same phrase, “as a result,” but shows how it can also be used in the middle of a sentence to link together independent clauses.

She didn’t watch much television as a child; as a result, she could easily keep herself entertained by using her imagination, and later went on to become a great writer.

Revision Strategies

When revising, try reading your paper aloud, as you might catch awkward sounding sentences or paragraphs that are missing or misusing transition words. Any place where you change topics or progress through ideas, you should probably have a transition.

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