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16.7 Techniques for Writing: Using Transitional Expressions

Transitional expressions, such as therefore, however, and in addition, show readers how one idea relates to another. Consider these two sentences:
The river was gradually changing its course. The cliff continued to erode.
Is the river causing the erosion or not? Adding a transitional can help the reader to know the answer:
The river was gradually changing its course; therefore the cliff continued to erode.
Different transitional modifiers imply different answers:
The river was gradually changing its course. In addition, the cliff continued to erode.
The river was gradually changing its course; however, the cliff continued to erode.
Study the following chart of transitional modifiers. These expressions can be used within paragraphs to show the relationships between clauses and sentences, and they can be used within essays to show how paragraphs relate to each other.
Transitional Expressions
To show time and sequence:
meanwhile, eventually, soon, later, first, second, then, finally,
also, besides, furthermore, moreover, in addition, too
To compare and contrast:
likewise, similarly, in the same way, however, nevertheless,
still, on the other hand, on the contrary, even so
To show cause and effect:
therefore, as a result, accordingly, consequently, thus, hence, otherwise
To offer examples and conclusions:
for instance, for example, after all, in fact, of course
in conclusion, in other words, on the whole, in short


Exercise A: If you haven't already done so, print Raquel Cruz's essay (click here) and circle the transitional expressions within the essay.

Follow this link to see the answers.


Exercise B: Show relationships between ideas in the paragraph below by adding transitional modifiers in the blanks.

    For some people, high school and college are a waste of time. , a friend of mine was an A student throughout high school. , he was accepted into college without any trouble. He studied hard for four years. , he received a degree and entered the job market. , he was unable to get a job in his field of study, even though he applied everywhere. , he was forced to apply for a job which required none of the skills he had obtained in school. , I have become convinced that high school and college are not always the best preparation for the real world.

Click the "answer" button below for one possible version of the paragraph above. The transitional expressions we have chosen are in ALL CAPS so they stand out from the rest of the text.

      


check this out Apply this technique to your writing: Review the paragraph you're writing about a leisure time activity. Circle any transitional expressions, and describe how each one works to show the relationships between ideas. Trade papers with a partner and try to find one more place where a transitional expression could clarify your partner's paragraph.

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