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How to Make a Good Transition Sentence

by Sampson Quain, Demand Media

    One of the most important skills required in writing an essay or research paper is the ability to use transition sentences that logically link paragraphs or sections and provide a roadmap for the essay. Transition sentences provide a smooth change to a new topic, contrast a preceding sentence or add meaning to what was just written. Some common transitional words include "despite," "however" and "similarly," which are used to create effective transition sentences.

    Step 1

    Review your essay up to the point where you want to use a transition sentence. Determine the relationship between the two paragraphs. Is the transition introducing a new point, contradicting material you just wrote, or making further points about the same topic? You should also ensure that your transition sentence makes sense in the context of what was written before it. For example, if the preceding sentence is, "John Smith gazes up at the moon in the dark sky," the transition sentence, "As a result, he is sitting as he watches the sky," does not make sense, because the preceding sentence did not cause the transition sentence.

    Step 2

    Use words such as "another" when you are introducing a new point in your essay. For example, in an essay that supports a pro-choice stance in which you have already listed two reasons for your support, a transition sentence could be: "Another way of looking at this argument is to consider the plight of abandoned children born to mothers who were forced to keep their babies..." and continue the sentence from there.

    Step 3

    Use words such as "in addition," "furthermore and "equally important" when you are making more points about a subject after already listing several in the preceding paragraph or sentence. In an essay about a woman's right to choose, in which you have given four reasons in favor of that right, you could write, "The previous reasons by themselves are enough to keep the choice of having an abortion out of the state's hands, but in addition, there is the issue of setting the wrong precedent if the government starts infringing on our individual rights."

    Step 4

    Use transitional words such as "however," "in spite of," and "on the other hand" when you are contradicting a paragraph or sentence you just wrote. For example, if you are writing a pros and cons essay about a woman's right to choose, and you just finished arguing in favor of that right, you could write, "In spite of the fact that a woman of legal age should have the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, there is still a moral issue about the sanctity of all life, no matter how it was conceived."

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    Warning

    • Use transition sentences sparingly to avoid confusing the reader.

    About the Author

    Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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