There are a few things that bring an “ok” paper to a “good” paper and a “good” paper to a “great” paper. Transitional statements are one of them. So many students know they need transitions but get caught up on the details and, as such, don’t make them at all. This post will help guide you through the transitional statement process, how they work, etc.
What is a transition?
Transitions are words and/or phrases that connect one idea or topic to another. A transitional statement usually helps bridge together two paragraphs. While transitional words are helpful, the best way to transition is to find a place or way that the two ideas connect.
Transitional words are the most common and easy way to transition ideas. These are most commonly used to connect sentences and aren’t necessarily as appropriate or plausible between paragraphs. Popular words/phrases are:
- In addition (to)
- On the other hand
- First(ly), second(ly)…etc.
There are still a myriad of other transitional words and phrases, but these are the most commonly used.
So if those are words and phrases, what’s a transitional statement?
A transitional statement, in my opinion, is a bit more advanced. This is where you connect paragraphs by finding a common ground between them. View your paragraphs like two separate pieces of cloth and your transitional statement as your needle and thread. Good transitional statements “sew” the two paragraphs (or pieces of cloth) together. So let’s say we are writing an essay on Gulliver’s Travels, book 4. I may be comparing and contrasting the Houyhnhnms (horses) to the Yahoos (people). The first paragraph would talk about the horses, and the second would talk about the people. For example:
[Paragraph 1…last sentence] As such, the Houyhnhnms are Swift’s view of a “Utopian” society.
[Paragraph 2…first sentence] Much like our world, Swift’s ideal society also had “lesser peoples,” which can be seen in the Yahoos.
Notice I connect the ideas of the ideal or Utopian society to transition between the two paragraphs. By connecting ideas instead of depending on particular words, you’ll have a much tighter and polished essay.
Screw this, I can’t do this “transitional idea” crap.
Sometimes, like people, two paragraphs just aren’t meant to be together. That’s life. However, this can be prevented by having a great organizational structure. If you need tips on organizing, be sure to check out my “Outlines” post. Outlining can help you make sure that certain paragraphs belong together and will transition well. Good luck!