Essay Transition Words – Helping Students Understand the Structure of the Essay
What are essay transition words? Quite simply, a transition words describes the relationship between two parts of the spoken or written language. More importantly, by learning how to use these words, you can further develop a well-crafted essay that conveys what are wanting to say in an even more concise way. So what are these words and how can they be used to construct an essay?
The first part is pretty obvious: transition words are used to transition from one paragraph to another. In short, this is where you take what was stated in one paragraph and move it into the next. You do this by using one of your transition words for essay writing. For example, you might take a discussion about puppies and move it into discussing about breed characteristics.
Secondly, these words may be used to introduce a certain topic or subtopic. For example, if you were to discuss about dogs, you could introduce yourself and then briefly discuss some dog-related information without going into detail or getting too much in depth. You could instead just say that dogs are heritable and are usually considered to be man’s best friend.
The third category involves those words that indicate the conclusion of a paragraph. For example, if you were to write the following sentence: John D. Maxwell is currently in the practice of using a notebook in order to organize his ideas. This is a very simple statement but we can see how it can easily get out of hand if we keep expanding it upon it: “In regard to using a notebook to organize his ideas, John D. Maxwell is currently in the practice of utilizing a dozen different notebooks, each of which contains at least one hundred and twenty pages of material.”
Now consider this: “In regard to using a notebook to organize his ideas, John D. Maxwell further notes that he utilizes a couple of different types of folders, one being a thick hard bound notebook that is almost glasslike in nature and the other being a fairly thin leather bound journal that is quite similar to a notebook in its construction.” Can you see how this sentence can easily get stretched? First, we have the word notebook, which has two meanings, namely: a diary or book that one uses in writing, and secondly, there is the leather bound journal, which means: a book that is used for writing. So far, so good. However, the article could be stretched yet further, for example, by using the word notebook again and saying that it is another way of organizing one’s thoughts, ideas, and also facts and figures regarding a particular topic.
Another good example would be this one: “John D. Maxwell’s notebook serves as a valuable research tool to help him with his studies and he uses it to store material that is not pertinent to the current project at hand but is necessary nonetheless.” This is good, but then again, by using the word notebook again, we could imply that the same thing was said earlier, thus expanding the meaning of the article. Thus, we now have a dilemma: the author has stated that his notebook serves as a research tool to help him with his studies, but then further on, he uses the word “notes” to imply that he discards most of his written notes. Clearly, this makes the essay transition from its first place (diary or journal) to another, and thus it fails for two reasons.
The first reason is that the transition words should actually match the words that are already present in the essay. For example, in the previous sentence, we saw that the word notebook was already used, even though only indirectly. Similarly, we should not have the word thesis, even though we are referring to a specific thesis, even if it is just mentioned briefly in the essay. By doing this, it will be much easier for the student to understand the transition words that will accompany the next section of the essay. In short, the transition words should be closely linked with the words that are already present in the text.
The second reason as to why there should be specific transition words for essay writing arises from the fact that such words will serve as guides for one’s understanding of the essay. These words will help one to transition from one point to another especially when the transition words is accompanied by the examples, illustrations, anecdotes, etc. Moreover, this will further aid in making the text more comprehensible to readers since they would already be familiar with the meaning of these words. The end result would then be that students will have an easier time understanding the essay because of these transitions.