How to write paragraphs

Making the transition

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Transition words help your readers navigate their way through your paragraphs. They illustrate the relationships between ideas. For example, if you wanted to make a comparison you could write:

'Many English students are confident about using paragraphs, but maths students tend to struggle'.

But is a transition word that alerts your readers to what is coming next.

If transition words and phrases are missing, paragraphs can still make sense, but they are not so easy to navigate. Transition words are incredibly useful: they can be used to link ideas within and between sentences, and between paragraphs.

You may not have given much thought to transition words or phrases before, but they are a vital tool for allowing clear communication. They are the 'unsung heroes' of written communication, and you would miss them if they weren't there.

The following are some transition words and phrases that you may be familiar with; there are many more.

Activity: Make the transition - 5 minutes

In this activity, you'll pick out the transition words or phrases that have been used in the paragraph.

1. Read the paragraph below and try to pick out the transition words or phrases. Underline or write down any transition words or phrases that you identify.

A paragraph consists of a unifying main point, thought or idea accompanied by supporting details. Paragraphs can be divided into two broad styles: non-fiction and prose. On one hand, the non-fiction paragraph usually begins with the general and moves towards the more specific in order to advance an argument or point of view. In this way, each paragraph builds on what came before and lays the ground for what comes next. In contrast, the prose paragraph has a more abstract structure that depends on the author's technique and the action of the narrative. For example, a paragraph in prose fiction can start with a single detail and enlarge with successive details, but it's just as common for the point of a prose paragraph to occur in the middle or at the end. Additionally, paragraphs are generally between three and seven sentences long. However, a paragraph can be as short as one word, or run to many pages.

When you have found the transition words and phrases, click below to reveal the answer.

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