Transition statements are a sort of signal. They are words, phrases, or sentences that connect one topic or idea to another in a paper or essay in a smooth, coherent way. They essentially let your reader know that you about to change directions.
Definition of Transition Statements
Has your teacher ever written a note on your essay that said, ‘How is this related?’ or ‘awkward’ or ‘too jumpy?’ Have your instructors told you that they had trouble following the different segments of your essay? Although we may know what we want to say, and our thoughts are logically organized in our brains, sometimes the reader will not be able to piece the elements together into a cohesive narrative. If the reader is having trouble following the flow of your essay, chances are you’re not using transition statements properly. Transition statements are essential to clear writing because they serve as a sort of road map. They help readers make logical connections between sentences and paragraphs.
Whether you’re a professional writing a business report or a student handing in a thesis paper, your main objective is to make sure the reader understands what you’re trying to say. In fact, in a thesis paper, you will be trying to convince the reader to agree with your side of an argument. If he cannot follow the different segments of your writing, then he will become confused and lose focus.
Transition Example #1
Let’s take a look at two sentences that lack a transition statement to link them together:’I left my house on time for dinner. Mary yelled at me for being late.’These sentences are rather confusing. The first sentence tells the reader that I left on time for dinner, but the second sentence has Mary yelling at me for being late.
What this example needs is a transition statement to give readers more information and help them make sense of the story.’I left my house on time for dinner. However, the traffic was a total nightmare as I crossed the bridge. Therefore, Mary yelled at me for being late.’Now we can see the whole story.
‘However, the traffic was a total nightmare as I crossed the bridge’ is a transition statement that indicates that there was some sort of problem or issue. ‘Therefore’ is a single transition word that lets us know the result of what happened.
Transition Example #2
As we will see, different types of transition statements serve different purposes. Let’s say a student is writing a thesis paper for a film class arguing that The Godfather is the greatest film ever made. His goal will be to argue his point by deconstructing individual aspects of the film.Here is the opening paragraph:In my opinion, ”The Godfather” is the greatest film of all time. Auteur director Francis Ford Coppola shot one of the most aesthetically pleasing films of the 1970s.
For example, the baptism montage at the end of the film has been described by film critics as nothing short of genius. Additionally, the acting was Oscar-worthy. Another major factor to consider was the epic story of the Corleone family written by Mario Puzo.In the paragraph above, ‘for example,’ ‘additionally,’ and ‘another’ are transitions that aim to provide new information that hopefully serve to strengthen his argument. Those are not the only words he can use to add information. Other popular transition words that add to an argument include: also, secondly, likewise, and furthermore.
Transition Example #3
Now let’s say that this student wants to refute the commonly-held notion by many film critics that the sequel, The Godfather II, was an even better film.
Often, in a thesis paper or essay, we will need to address other points of view.Here is his paragraph:However, I want to acknowledge that although the sequel was also an amazing film and lauded by film critics, it still isn’t the masterpiece of the original.In this example, I used the word ‘however’ to transition to the opposing point of view. You can also use transition words and phrases such as ‘some may argue that,’ ‘others may claim,’ and ‘on the other hand’ to name a few.
Sometimes a reader is unable to follow the narrative of an essay because it lacks proper transition statements.
These are essential to clear writing because they help readers make logical connections between sentences and paragraphs. Without them, the different segments of the paper may not be cohesive, and the reader may become confused and lose focus. Sometimes this involves adding an entire sentence to join two seemingly disconnected ones, or it may be the use of transitional words, such as ‘therefore,’ ‘however,’ ‘for example,’ and ‘furthermore.’
After you watch the video, try to set a goal to:
- Define transition statements
- Demonstrate how to use transition statements