How to Use Transitions to Connect Ideas in Your Paragraph

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Essays, stories and other forms of writing often require the use of paragraphs with single ideas that are well organized to support the main idea. For writing to flow smoothly from one idea to the next, the writer must use transitions to prevent the paper from sounding choppy. Transitions are words or phrases that act as bridges between ideas.

  • Separate the paragraphs within your paper so that you can examine one paragraph at a time.

  • Underline each idea that is presented in your first paragraph. If desired, number the ideas so that you can keep track of how many there are. If you do not want to underline or number, you can simply make a mental note of where the ideas are in the paragraph.

  • Brainstorm and come up with words or phrases that connect each idea in your paragraph to the next one. Some examples of common transitional words and phrases are "accordingly," "besides," "however," and "in addition to."

  • Examine each paragraph and locate the ideas within each paragraph. Try using different transitional words or phrases to connect the separate ideas. Read the paragraphs individually to yourself and then out loud.

  • Pay attention to how the transitions sound in the paragraph and whether they sound awkward or flow smoothly. If they sound awkward, forced or out of place, use a different word or phrase. Re-examine the ideas and decide whether they flow more smoothly with the transitional words added.

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