Transitional words make it easier for students to connect their thoughts and ideas when writing essays. As a student, the goal is to select transitional words to help guide readers through your paper. Parents and teachers can help younger students incorporate transitional words into their essays by teaching them the different types of transitional methods and when to use specific words.
Sequence of Events: Addition, Introductions and Conclusions
Teach students to use transitional words to explain the sequence of events. Students as young as third and fourth grade can learn to manage the order of events by using transitional words, suggests the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Examples include words and phrases, such as "for instance," "in addition to," "also," "first," "second," "next," "following this," "at this point," "afterward," "finally," "in conclusion," "consequently," "previously," "concurrently," "indeed," "further" and "moreover." These transitions help students add information to their current text, introduce concepts or conclude arguments. Encourage students to use them at the beginning of a new paragraph.
Compare and Contrast
Opt for compare and contrast transitional words to show similarities and differences between ideas so readers can better understand the logic in a paper, according to The Writer's Handbook at the University of Wisconsin. Examples of comparison words include "in like manner," "similarly," "in the same way," and "by the same token." Contrast transitional words such as "yet," "nevertheless," "after all," "however," "but," "in contrast," "otherwise" and "though" help students explain opposing views or alternate perspectives. Advise students to only use compare and contrast transitions when they're discussing obvious similarities and differences.
Clarification and Identification
Use transition words to clarify points and increase understanding. These words help writers explain why they aren't moving forward with new ideas; they want to restate or rephrase their current points. Some examples include "specifically," "to clarify," "in other words," "namely," "that is," "thus" and "to put it another way." These transitional words force readers to take another look at current points and reconsider them before moving forward.
Cause and Effect
Instruct students to use causal transitions to explain cause-and-effect situations and to signal when they're supplying reasons and results, suggests Michigan State University. Causal transitions are ideal for bridging or connecting related ideas in the same paragraph. Examples of causal transitions include "because," "in that sense," "for the reason that," "due to," "for as much as," "on the condition," "as long as," "in case," "providing that," "even if," "as a result," "consequently," "therefore," "under those circumstances" and "in order to."
Emphasis and Focus
Select transitional phrases for emphasis to help readers home in on the most important concepts. These transitions build suspense and lead up to larger points, according to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Avoid using these transitions too frequently or they'll lose their effectiveness. Transitional words that show emphasis include "extremely," "obviously," "absolutely," "surprisingly," "emphatically," "unquestionably," "always," "never," "without a doubt" and "undeniably."
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: English Language Arts -- Writing -- Grade 4
- Michigan State University: Transition Words
- University of Wisconsin, Madison -- The Writing Center: The Writer's Handbook -- Transitional Words and Phrases
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Writing Transitions
- Oswego City School District -- Studyzone: Transition Words and Phrases
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