Why Good Essay Transitions Are Important
Essay transitions can either make or break your entire essay. When your professors speak of coherence, basically they’re talking about how well your essay flowed form one concept to the next. The best written essays aren’t those that only present a single thesis statement, and slowly build upon the supporting arguments. The better written essays use transition words to link up the different ideas and concepts presented. These words essentially carry the ideas and points of each concept onto the next level of the essay.
There are many different types of essay transitions, but the most common are the sit and the transition. The sit transition basically takes paragraphs and turns them into one sentence. For example, you take a paragraph of a paper and turn it into a single sentence. Transitional phrases can be used for just about any type of written document. You can turn sentences that have no direct meaning into paragraphs that make a point. It’s important to remember to re-cite your work for classroom credit.
There are three primary categories of essay transitions; transitional words, coordinating phrases, and coordinating sentences. The most common transitions in essay writing are the sit transition and the coordinating phrase transition. The sit transition consists of opening a paragraph with a question or sentence containing a coordinating word such as “what,” or “who,” or “when.” The question or sentence is optional and can be repeated after the paragraph has been read. This allows the reader to remain engaged throughout the essay.
Co-inators are not only a good way to help students organize their ideas, but they also create transition words that make the essay easier to read. Some examples of co-inators are question words, answer words, or main phrase words. A good cheat sheet for essays is one with which you can identify those types of words. After completing your essay, you can review your cheat sheet and determine the best transition words to use.
Interpolating is another method of essay transitions. It consists of using commas or periods between words, as in the case of “the.” However, do not overdo it! The periods make the sentences more readable. Combining both commas and periods can help to create an essay that flows well from beginning to end.
In the introductory section of most college essays, many students find it difficult to transition to subsequent paragraphs without losing their train of thought. Essay transitions that use a coordinating sentence to transition to a new paragraph usually overcome this problem. An example of a good coordinating sentence is something like this: “The man who owns the dog wears the pants.” This sentence begins with a question, is the man who wears the pants the owner? The transition from the previous paragraph to the next involves coordinating the two sentences into one. Sometimes it is even possible to combine two adjacent sentences into one with the use of a coordinating word.
Most students find it very challenging to use transitions in their essays. They either forget to use them at all or they use them poorly. For example, one student said that she had never seen anybody use the crescendo and climax transition correctly. (When she talked about her boyfriend she used the end of one sentence for the climax of another.)
If you want to write good essay transitions, pay close attention to your writing. Be sure that you always use transition words between sentences and that you use them carefully. Good essay transitions are an important part of building your vocabulary and creating interesting essays.