Your writing is made up of tens, if not hundreds of ideas. Linking and connecting these in a cohesive and eloquent manner can make or break your writing. Continue reading to find out why you need to use transitional words and phrases and how you can use them in your own writing!
What impact do they have on my writing?
Good writing has a certain flow and natural progression. Transitional words and phrases are essential to creating this, allowing the writer to connect ideas and introduce others. Additionally, they allow the writer to shift to a new idea, create contrast, opposition or emphasis, or to conclude the line of argument.
Without them, your writing can become painful to read, even if you have no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors nor any punctuation errors. In other words, insufficient transitions between your words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your writing and make it seem quite disjointed or awkward.
Good writers will use these transitional words and phrases to their advantage as they can introduce, reinforce and contradict ideas in a polished manner. It makes it much easier for the readers to follow on as they can tell what point you are trying to make with your next sentence. Think of it as a way of 'guiding' your reader through your writing. You're helping them to take away the point, idea or perspective that your writing presents.
How should I use them?
Transitional words and phrases need to be carefully selected according to the shift you are making. Essentially, you need to link your first idea with the next - the relationship between these two ideas will determine what word or phrase you use.
If you are building on your first idea with the second idea, use words and phrases like: "Similarly", "in conjunction", "in addition" or "furthermore". All these will help reinforce your argument or idea through further elaboration and consolidation.
Idea 1: Driving a car fast is dangerous as the driver has a reduced time to react to other drivers.
Idea 2: It is also dangerous as crashes will occur at much higher impact speeds.
Linked: Driving a car fast is dangerous as the driver has less time to react to other drivers in conjunction with higher impact speeds, should a crash occur.
You can use them in various different ways, so mix it up! Try using them at the start of a sentence, use them to connect two sentences or at the end of a sentence.
If you are comparing or contrasting the latter idea to the former, use transitional words or phrases including: "In contrast", "on the other hand", "however" or "conversely". Presenting two sides of the argument allows your writing to be more balanced and shows the reader that you have considered alternatives, hence reinforcing the validity of your conclusion.
Idea 1: Fried chicken can be unhealthy due to its high calories, fat and salt content.
Idea 2: Fried chicken is extremely tasty.
Linked: Fried chicken can be unhealthy due to its high calories, fat and salt content. On the other hand, it is extremely tasty.
Examples for you to use:
|Cause and effect
|Compare and contrast
|As a result
|On the other hand
|Addition of examples and reinforcement
|Limitations and/or contradiction
|To further clarify
|In spite of
|To further illustrate
In summary, using transitional words and phrases in your writing will provide it with much more cohesion and flow. Your reader will come away with a better understanding of your point and will have enjoyed reading it much, much more.