Transition Signals in Writing

What are transition signals?

Transition signals are connecting words or phrases that act like bridges between parts of your writing. They link your sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.

Transition signals act like signposts to indicate to the reader the order and flow of your writing and ideas. They strengthen the internal cohesion of your writing. Using transitions makes it easier for the reader to follow your ideas. They help carry over a thought from one sentence to another, from one paragraph to another, or from one idea to another.

There are several types of transition signals. Some lead your reader forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make your reader compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.

Sample text

During [1] the early twentieth century, Australian society experienced a transformation of the domestic ideal. At this time [1] families were subject to an increasing array of government and 'professional' programs and advice aiming to manage and regulate family life. Some of these programs were designed to counter social changes, others were designed to engineer them; ultimately [2] each heralded a growing expert encroachment into the private sphere.

Intervention and influence took three forms. Firstly [3] , techniques designed to maximise efficiency were introduced into the home and scientific principles were applied to its design. In addition [4], housework and parenting methods were scrutinised and subject to unprecedented standards. Secondly [3], all aspects of reproduction attracted increasing intervention from government and the medical profession. Thirdly [3], state, professional and philanthropic groups began to usurp the parental role within the family through instruction and policy. Consequently [5], the development of 'modern' social ideals brought regulation, intervention and ever-increasing unrealistic standards.

[1] Indicating a specific time

[2] Indicating a conclusion

[3] To indicate sequence and logically divide an idea

[4] Indicating extra information

[5] Indicating a result

List of transition signals

To indicate sequence or to order information

first, second etc.

followed by

at this point

next, last, finally

previously, subsequently

after that

initially

and then

next, before, after

concurrently

simultaneously

meanwhile

To introduce an example

in this case

for example

for instance

on this occasion

to illustrate

to demonstrate

this can be seen

when/where . . .

take the case of

To indicate time

immediately

thereafter

formerly

finally

prior to

previously

then

soon

during

at that time

before, after

at this point

To logically divide an idea

first, next, finally

firstly, secondly, thirdly

initially, subsequently, ultimately

To compare and/ or contrast

To compare:

similarly

by comparison

similar to

like, just like

whereas

balanced against

To contrast:

in contrast

on the other hand

balanced against

however

on the contrary

unlike

differing from

a different view is

despite

To introduce an opposite idea or show exception

however

on the other hand

whereas

instead

while

yet

but

despite

in spite of

nevertheless

even though

in contrast

it could also be said that

To introduce additional ideas/ information

in addition

also

finally

moreover

furthermore

one can also say

and then

further

another

To indicate a result/ cause of something

therefore

thus

consequently

as a consequence

as a result

hence

References

Oshima, A & Hogue, A 1991, Writing Academic English, Addison-Wesley.

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