Transitions

When analyzing a text or incorporating research, it is important to know how to transition from one idea to the next in an effective manner.


Transition Words

Time

After a while, currently, immediately, recently, afterwards, during, in the future, soon, at last, finally, later, suddenly, at present, first, second, third, meanwhile, then, briefly, gradually, now, finally, in the beginning, at the end, in addition, over time, sometimes, presently

Order of Importance

The most significant, the most important, the primary reason, above all, equally important, furthermore, indeed, finally, in fact, moreover, a major reason, finally, in particular, another significant, another argument

Comparisons and Contrasts

In contrast, in comparison, on the other hand, however, similarly, also, in the same way, likewise, yet, on the contrary, nevertheless, after all, at the same time, otherwise, nonetheless, despite

Conclusions and Summations

after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally

Cause and Effect

As a result, due to, therefore, because, thus, then, consequently, as a consequence, for this purpose, then, to this end, for this reason, hence

Addition

also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly, equally important, including, along with, above and beyond

Emphasis

undoubtedly, indeed, obviously, particularly, in particular, especially, clearly, importantly, absolutely, definitely, without a doubt, never, it should be noted

Illustration

for example, for instance, in this case, to demonstrate, to clarify, to illustrate, equally important, such as, including

Summary

in conclusion, to summarize, altogether, in short, to sum up, in summary, briefly, to conclude, all in all, as a whole, in the end


Find transitional expressions that help you connect ideas. AVOID “THIS IS,” “THIS IS EVIDENT BY.” As a general rule, you want to avoid those vague pronouns that make your writing less precise and vague. Also be careful not to overuse the verb, "show."

Here are some verbs that you may consider for discussing WHAT is being said:

demonstrates, illustrates, suggests, indicates, implies, asserts, argues, claims, proves, displays, reveals, describes, highlights, explains

Here are some verbs that you may consider for discussing HOW it is being said:

relies, utilizes, employs, incorporates, uses

Sentence Starters

Sentence Starters to Cite Text Evidence

The author uses ___________ (technique) in order to establish _____.

In the text, the author described _____.

The author explains that_____

According to the author, _____

The _____tone of the passage is created through ______/

The author states/says/implies _____

The author describes _____

The author explicitly states _____


Sentence Starts to Elaborate on Text Evidence

For example,

This situation is similar to ...

The fact that ______(rephrase your evidence) illustrates that _____(give your reason) because ______(your analysis).

This (piece of evidence) demonstrates ____.

This point is significant because_____

The speaker’s attitude towards _____ is best described as one of _____

The author juxtaposes _____ to _____ in order to _____.

For instance, _____

The evidence suggests that _____

The fact that _____ proves that _____

This example illustrates _____

The main point of the passage is to _____

In this passage, the author emphasizes._____

The fact that _______(rephrase your evidence) illustrates that _____ (rephrase your claim) because (your analysis).

Effective Transitions

Pay attention to how you connect your ideas to be sure you are connecting the ideas with effective transitions.

FOR EXAMPLE

If I were to write a paragraph on the 1920s, my transitions may look something like this, starting off with my main point, including evidence and elaboration and then finally summarizing the main idea in the end.

The decade of 1920’s refers to a time of _____, ______, and _____ in American history. At the time, _______________. For example, __________. In fact, ______________. For that reason, ___________. At the same time, ______________. For instance, _____________________. Nevertheless, ___________resulting in ___________. Furthermore, ___________________. In this case, ______________________. Elaborate Although _________, ____________. However, ______________________. All in all, _______________.


When writing a detailed paragraph, use this structure to guide you.

  1. Point=Write a topic sentence that states the main idea or main point of the paragraph.

  2. Evidence=Provide textual examples and/or short quotes from the text to support your point. Some other examples of evidence may include facts, examples, details, cause/effect relationships, anecdotes, testimonials, and statistics.

  3. Elaborate how your evidence relates to the point.

  4. Evidence=Provide textual examples and/or short quotes from the text to support your point. Some other examples of evidence may include facts, examples, details, cause/effect relationships, anecdotes, testimonials, and statistics.

  5. Elaborate how your evidence relates to the point.

  6. Evidence=Provide textual examples and/or short quotes from the text to support your point. Some other examples of evidence may include facts, examples, details, cause/effect relationships, anecdotes, testimonials, and statistics.

  7. Elaborate how your evidence relates to the point.

  8. Link: Include a concluding sentence that links together the preceding sentences by emphasizing the main idea, and also linking to the next paragraph.


See an example of an essay with transitions in bold:


In David Brook’s New York Times editorial, “The First Invasion of America” on May 21, 2020, he argues that America has metaphorically experienced its first invasion by the global, COVID-19 pandemic; thus, Americans must recognize that the romanticized version of America in the past needs to be more realistic. The reader should question how as a nation we were wrong to view our history with such a filtered, romanticized lens. As New York Times mostly targets a primarily left-leaning audience of 30 and 40 year olds, he knows he is addressing a fairly liberal audience. He asks the reader to examine their version of history since our success is truly not a success if it leaves people out. He states, “Today, of course, we understand what was wrong with that version of American history. It didn’t include everybody. It left out the full horrors of slavery and genocide.” Therefore, the nation should assess their institutions and their safety. He points out that America is not completely isolated from a foreign threat. Our national consciousness is being called into question to really think about our “American creed” of success. In his New York Times editorial, Brooks challenges his audience to consider America's vulnerabilities, so the nation can come together in “solidarity” and emerge with a more inclusive consciousness.In order to develop his claim, the author relies on a sarcastic yet earnest tone; logical, ethical, and emotional appeals, as well as metaphorical and analogous language.


The author presents a naive but sincere disposition recognizing that he has viewed American history in a romanticized way. For instance, his tone begins as overly confident in our vision of a great nation and even sarcastic at times. For example, he states, “To be born American was to be born to a glorious destiny.” The language seems overly idealized as if the reader is waiting for the rebuttal to this claim. In the end, he shifts to a more reflective, sincere tone to urge Americans to reconsider their paradigm of how they view America’s identity. He states, “Today, of course, we understand what was wrong with that version of American history. It didn’t include everybody. It left out the full horrors of slavery and genocide.” With this reflection, the writer shows the transformation of his thinking moving from naive to more pragmatic about American history. He also becomes harsh and critical, accusing Americans who are “anti-authority” as “ignorant” stressing the need for unity right now in our country. Additionally, his tone is sarcastic and humorous when he says, “Welcome to life in the rest of the world” in order to reinforce the need for Americans to look outside our borders and realize we are vulnerable to change and hardship; Americans are not immune to outside influences. All in all, the author asserts that this time is one in history to reconstruct our narrative and values as we evolve our American identity in reaction to the pandemic and social injustices.

The writer relies on emotional, ethical, and logical appeals to persuade his audience. He uses poignant phrases to help the reader identify with the idealized version of American history: ““To be born American was to bow down to no one, to say: I’m no better than anyone else, but nobody’s better than me,” yet he then refutes that statement with saying that not everyone was included in that view of America because of genocide and slavery, alluding to Native Americans and African Americans although he doesn’t explicitly support the point with a reference to specific groups. Furthermore, he builds trust by being a well-known journalist and stating that he was an American history major in college, so he realizes the conditioning he has received to shape his erroneous perception. The pandemic has taught him that a shift needs to occur in our “national consciousness, a reconstruction of meanings, symbols, values and narratives.” He also appeals to the reader’s ethical and moral views by questioning what it means to be American. By referencing famous philosophers and writers, he draws upon our collective perception of what contributes to the identity of America. From Walt Whitman, he embraces the idea of Americans as pioneers who are fearless. From Ralph Waldo Emerson, he reinforces the need for Americans to be self-reliant with “every heart vibrat[ing] to that iron string.” From Samuel Huntington, an American academic scientist, he shares the view of Americans being resistant to authority. These well known people who have been respected lend credibility to his argument, but he uses them as a way to show how people have viewed America’s often romanticized identity in the past. Next, he appeals to the audience with his sense of logic as he uses facts and analogies to have the reader critically think of our collective paradigm. He dispels the notion that we have an “existential safety” because of the 100,000 people who have died since May 2020 due to the pandemic. While he notes that the 1812 pandemic was a “foreign incursion,” he stresses that our situation is much worse because Americans are questioning the confidence they have in authority. While he could have used more support for this point elaborating on the civil unrest of the Black Lives Matter, the looming presidential election, and more details about the economic and health crisis directly tied to COVID-19, he does imply these challenges. All in all, he dispels the belief that we are an insulated nation that can act independently of others.

Additionally, Brook’s metaphorical and analogous language contribute to his argument. By making the analogy that the pandemic has led to a number of events that equate to our “first invasion” or “earthquake of culture,” he implies that we are no longer invulnerable to the world. While he doesn’t explicitly state all of the issues brought on by pandemic in detail and the injustices to the black community, he does make a point to say that we are no longer “spared” from the “plagues” of the world.He references a University of Maryland scholar, Michelle Gelfand, and her book, “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers.” Gelfand asserts that insulated nations are often metaphorically “loose” nations and often “individualistic, creative” but “disordered, uncoordinated and reckless.” Brooks agrees with this scholar by saying that “We Americans have been rule-breakers, the classic loose nation.” As this rule breaker, he poses a rhetorical question for the reader to ponder: “But what happens to a loose nation when the sense of existential security disappears?” This open-ended question is one that many Americans may not be able to answer. Only time will tell.

David Brooks argues in his editorial that Americans should question our national identity since the paradigm of the success of a country is flawed if it does not include everyone. We need to work more for unity and solidarity. He is able to convey this through his sarcastic yet earnest tone, a range of appeals, as well as las metaphorical and analogous language. He leaves the reader to wonder where do we go from here as a country. How will we reconstruct our narrative from the pandemic and civil rights protests for Black Lives Matter?


1162 Word Count

Work Cited

Brooks, David. “The First Invasion of America.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 May 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/opinion/us-coronavirus-history.html.