Transition Words for Argumentative Essays
This handout explains what it is all about
Transitions bind our thoughts and essays together in this chaotic, multi-faceted world. This handout will help you learn transitional expressions that you can use effectively.
Transitions: Their importance and function
The goal of academic and professional writing is to communicate information clearly and concisely. These goals can be achieved by using transitions to connect sentences, paragraphs, and sections in your papers. Transitions, in other words, tell your readers what to do when you give them information. They can be single words, short phrases, or complete sentences. They are signs that help readers think, organize, and respond to the information you present.
Transitions indicate relationships between ideas. These include: “Another example is coming up–stay vigilant!” or “Here’s an exception from my previous statement,” or even “Although it appears that this idea seems true, here’s the truth.” Transitions give the reader directions on how to put your ideas together into a coherent argument. Transitions are more than verbal embellishments that make your paper sound or read better. Transitions are words that have specific meanings and tell the reader how to think or react to your ideas. Transitions are important cues that help the reader understand how your ideas fit together.
These are signs that you may need to focus on your transition Words for Argumentative Essays.
How do you know if you should work on your transitions or not? These are possible clues:
On your papers, your instructor may have written comments such as “choppy”, “jumpy,” and “abrupt,” as well as “need signposts” or “how is that related?”
Readers (friends, instructors, and classmates) will tell you that they have difficulty following your organization’s thought train.
Your brain tends to think the same way you write, and your brain can often move quickly from one idea to the next.
Your paper was written in small “chunks” and then pasted together.
Working on a group paper. The draft you are currently working on was created by pasting parts of writing from several people together.
Your paper’s organization will greatly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your transitions. Before you start working on transitions, assessing your paper’s organization is a good idea. Please write a summary of each paragraph or the context in which it fits within your overall analysis. This will help you see the connections and order between your ideas better.
If you have trouble cohesively connecting your ideas after this exercise, it may be a problem with the organization. This area can be helped (along with a detailed explanation of the “reverse outline” technique discussed in the previous paragraph) by the Writing Center’s handout organization.
How do transitions Words for Argumentative Essays?
Your organization of written work involves two elements. First, the order you present your argument or discussion. Second, the relationships between them. Although transitions are not a substitute for organization, they can help make your organization clear and easier to follow. The following example illustrates how transitions can help you understand your organization.
El Pais is a Latin American country that has now been democratically elected after many years of being under a dictatorship. Let’s suppose that you are arguing that El Pais may not be as democratic as we would like to believe.
To organize your argument effectively, you can present the traditional view first and then give the reader your critique. In Paragraph A, you’d list all the reasons El Pais might be considered highly democratic. While in Paragraph B, you’d refute these points. This transition would connect these two elements and indicate to the reader that paragraph B contradicts paragraph A. You might arrange your argument in the following way, including the transition linking paragraph A and paragraph B:
Paragraph B: points that support the view that El Pais is a very democratic government.
Transition There are many reasons to believe El Pais’s current government is not as democratic, despite the arguments.
Paragraph A: points that contradict the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.
The transition words “Despite previous arguments” suggest that the reader shouldn’t believe paragraph A but should instead consider the reasons the writer has for considering El Pais’ democracy suspect.
Transitions, as the example shows, can reinforce the organization of your paper by giving the reader essential information about the relationships between your ideas. Transitions are the glue that unites the various components of your argument/discussion into a cohesive, persuasive whole.
Types of transitions
Let’s now discuss the types of transitions briefly you will use in your writing.
There are many types of transitions that you can use, depending on the situation. You can use a transition to replace a word, phrase, sentence, or an entire paragraph. It works in the same way in each case. First, it summarizes the content of the preceding paragraph, sentence, or section or implies such a summary (by reminding readers of what came before). It helps the reader to anticipate and comprehend the information you want to present.
1. Transitions from sections: Particularly for longer works, it might be necessary to include transitional paras that summarize the information just covered and indicate the relevance of the information to the discussion in section 2.
2. Transitions between paragraphs If your paragraphs are arranged so that each paragraph leads logically to another, the transition will highlight the relationship by summarizing the preceding paragraph and suggesting something about the content of the following paragraph. A transition between paragraphs could be one or two words (but, as an example, similarly) or a phrase or sentence. Transitions can occur at the end or beginning of the second paragraph.
3. Paragraph transitions: Just like transitions between sections or paragraphs, transitions within paragraphs are cues that help readers anticipate what’s coming. Transitions within paragraphs are normally single words or brief phrases.
Your ability to recognize words and phrases that will help the reader understand the logical relationships you are trying to communicate is a key part of crafting each transition. This table will make it easier to identify these words and phrases. Refer to the table if you need help finding the right word, phrase, or sentence to make a transition. The left column of this table shows you the type of logical relationship you want to express. Look in the right column for examples of words and phrases that can express this logical connection.
Be aware that these phrases and words may have different meanings. If you’re unsure about the meaning of a phrase or word, consult a dictionary.
LOGICAL RELATED TRANSITIONAL PRESSION
Similarity Also, it is the same as before, so also, similarly
Exception/Contrast However, in spite…on the other hand, nonetheless, notwithstanding… on the contrary, still?
Sequence/Order First, second, and third… Next, then, final.
Time After, afterward
Example For example, let’s say to illustrate
Emphasis Even though it is true
Place/Position Above, adjacent, below, and beyond
Cause and effect Accordingly, consequently, so, so, and, therefore, also.
Additional Support and Evidence Additionally, again, and, as a matter of fact, as well, along with, and, equally important, further, further.
Conclusion/Summary Finally, let me say it briefly.
Transition Words for Argumentative Essays