When writing professional and academic papers, your objective is to convey information to readers concisely and clearly. Essay transitions assist you to achieve these objectives by producing logical connections between the sentences, paragraphs, and divisions of your paper. Transitions help readers understand what to do with the information you are giving them. Transitions may include:
- Single words
- Full sentences
- Quick phrases
Their function is to tell the audience how to think about, structure, and react to the ideas you present as they read through. They provide the readers with the directions for how to put together your thoughts into a logical and coherent statement. They are not just verbal decorations – they improve your paper by adding certain detail that make it sound better. These words have a particular meaning that tell the readers to react in a certain way. The logic of how your ideas are connected can be seen through transitions.
Essay Transitions for Preparing a Professional Paper
Writing an essay is a prerequisite for admission to a college of higher education, passing an exam, or applying for a job. To apply for MBA programs in prestigious business schools, you need to provide not only a letter of recommendation but also an essay in which you will present yourself as the best candidate for studying this program. The quality of the essay will depend not only on your level of the language proficiency, but also, first of all, the development level of your writing skills.
In addition, a quality essay assumes not only emotionality, interesting content, and details that will attract attention, but also correct formatting. It is good when you have a chance to write essays at home, in a relaxed atmosphere, without being limited in time. For example, you have one or two days to write and edit. But what if the essay is a part of the exam? Then, you are limited in time and the emotional mood is not the same: you need to write quickly and competently. In this case, transition phrases, which you can use when writing your work, will help you. Such phrases will help not only structure the entire text, but also make it logically consistent, coherent, and reasoned.
When Do You Need to Work on Your Transitions?
You need to work on your transitions in the following cases:
- Your teacher has commented on your essay using such phrases and words as “flow,” “abrupt,” “choppy,” “how is it related?” etc.
- Your readers have troubles following the course of your essay.
- You write the way you think, making your essay abrupt and jumpy from one point to another.
- You write papers in chunks and then put them together without making smooth transitions between the parts.
- You write your paper by pasting information from various sources without providing any logical links.
Organizing Your Paper
The effectiveness and clarity of your transitions will greatly depend on how well you have organized your paper. Before starting to work on transitions, evaluate your paper. In the margins of your draft variants, sum up in a short word or sentence the content of each paragraph and how they fit into the analysis. This way you will see the connection between and the order of your thought more clearly.
If after evaluating your paper, you will still have difficulties connecting your thoughts in a coherent manner, you might have problems with the organization, rather than transitions.
Logical Essay Transitions and How to Use Them
Usually the examiner evaluating your essay does not read it from beginning to end, but only scans it for typical errors in formatting, logic, and the corresponding vocabulary. Therefore, if your essay on the topic of the relationship between parents and children, for example, begins with the words “Nowadays the problem between parents and children has become more serious than ever,” the person evaluating your essay will logically assume that the author simply uses several template phrases and inserts them to the place and out of place.
- If the students want to get a high score, you should not memorize other people’s essays but try to expand your own vocabulary that will help you create a logically justified structure of the essay. For example, there is a huge number of phrases and expressions to start an essay, such as: “In the last few decades it has become obvious that... (over the past few decades it has become clear that...),” “For ages the cute problem of... between... has been unsolved (For a long time, the acute problem... between... remained unresolved),” “The 21st century has not become an exclusion to the rule that.... (The 21st century was no exception to the rule that...),” “Recently, more and more people are beginning to realize that...,” etc. The main thing is not to forget that a simple repetition of the same expressions, underestimates the evaluation. Therefore, it is mandatory to know how to rephrase – or, in other words, be able to express thoughts in other words.
- In the second paragraph immediately following the entry, the student is supposed to state their point of view on the issue. As a rule, the author does not have enough logical means of communication. They may not come up with anything except for “but” and “also.” Therefore, you should arm yourself with additional transition means like “As far as I am concerned,” “In my opinion,” “According to statistics,” “I am strongly convinced that...,” “I am firmly convinced, and many will agree with me,” “From my point of view,” and so on.
To add weighty arguments to your opinion, do not hesitate to use different phrases and expressions to avoid obsessive repetitions. Use “In addition,” “Also,” “What is more,” or “Not to forget about such important things as...” Remember that two or three arguments are enough, because the essay should bee of a certain size with a particular number of words. Too many or too few words will reduce the grade.
- The third paragraph, in which students should state the opposite point of view, and also agree or disprove it, presents the greatest difficulty in terms of logical expression. With a situation where the author does not agree with the opinion of the opposite side, it is more or less clear. You can start the paragraph with such expressions as “Many people, however, will not probably agree with me,” “On the other hand, there are many supporters of the opposite point of view,” Some people will probably argue my opinion,” etc.
Then add 1–2 arguments that these people give in support of their point of view: “First and foremost they will state that...” “To continue,” “Although there is wide-spread believe that..., they keep on disputing about...,” etc.
After this, you must agree or disprove what has been said. This is easy enough. If you want to agree partly, use the following essay transitions: “Maybe partly they are right, but some recent researches give evidence against... “ or “Probably there is some point in their statements, but I doubt there is... It is better not to agree with other opinion completely, otherwise – what’s the point? These phrases are the best to use: “I totally disagree with these people” or “I am in absolute disagreement with people who state this.” You must explain why, using the word “because.”
In the last paragraph, or conclusion, in addition to the phrase “In conclusion,” there are several more that will allow you to avoid patterning. For example, “To wrap things up,” “To sum it all,” or “All things considered, I would like to say.” As an ideal end of the essay you can use some quote from the classics. Thus, you will be able to equalize the opposing points of view and make a good impression on the examiner. You can use this phrase: “All opinions have the right to be” or “Tastes differ.”
Kinds of Transitions
There are as many kinds of transitions as there are the circumstances you need to use them in. It can be a word, a phrase, or a sentence, but its function is the same. First of all, they can directly sum up the content of a preceding paragraph, section, or a sentence. Second of all, they can imply a summary reminding the readers what have come before. Thirdly, they help comprehend or anticipate the new information you want to present.
- Transitions between paragraphs. If you have arranged paragraphs well so that the content logically leads to another paragraph, the transition will emphasize the relationship that is already there by summing up the preceding section and offering something of the content of the following section. This transition can be a word or two (for example, however, similarly), a sentence, or a phrase. They can be at the end of the section, at the beginning of the second section, or both.
- Transitions between the sections. It may be necessary to insert transitional paragraphs in longer works so that they could sum up the information that was just discussed and indicate the relevance of this information to the paper in the upcoming section.
- Transitions within the paragraphs. Transitions within the paragraphs are cues that assist readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. In this case, transitions are usually short phrases or single words.