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It is quite common for students to have misconceptions about transition words. Many students only have a few such words in their writing toolkit and think that small number is adequate. Knowing and using many different transition words is like having a large vocabulary—it enriches your work and makes it more dynamic to read. Transition words offer that finishing touch of refinement and fluidity to your essay. They make your work easier to follow, something that is crucial when you’re getting into a complex argument. More importantly, they indicate to your professor that your writing is at a higher level (and should be graded accordingly).
A transition word or phrase is like a good pair of shoes. They get you moving.
These words empower the writer to step between ideas—linking the ones that are similar and switching to ones that are different. These literary tools allow the reader to shift from one idea of importance to another, without getting whiplash. Transition words can also spotlight the connection or rapport within the text between the thesis and the supporting ideas. As the list below will demonstrate, different transitions are able to accomplish a range of things, great and small. Some transitions just connect, others gracefully change topics, others refute, others add information, others offer support and still others do things you’ve never seen before in print.
Having a wealth of transition words at your fingertips can do wonders in strengthening your writing and making it seem more mature. It’s kind of like the way wearing a three-piece suit can instantly make you look older. Think of transition words as an Armani suit for your writing.
As well as,
Not only (__) but (___) as well,
In all honesty,
To be honest,
To be truthful,
As a matter of fact,
To tell the truth,
In lieu of this/that,
To say nothing of,
As an illustration,
In a similar fashion,
In a comparable manner/fashion,
In the same way/manner,
In the same manner,
In a related manner/fashion,
In regards to ___,
In reference to ____,
On the subject of ___,
As for ____,
In consideration of ____,
When it comes to ____,
With regards to _____,
To provide illumination,
On the other hand,
When in fact,
In spite of this,
But even so,
Be that as it may,
In any case/event,
In either case/event,
Despite the consequences/facts/points,
Due to (the fact that)
In lieu of (the fact that)
As a result of the fact that ________,
For this/that reason,
This being the case,
In that case,
Given the circumstances,
For the purpose of,
With the intention of,
In the hope that,
In order to,
With the objective of,
With this in mind,
In the first place,
Secondly, thirdly, fourthly,
To begin with,
To sum up,
Given all these facts/points,
All things considered,
With this is mind,
One can conclude,
On the whole,
All in all,
In a word,
As this paper has stated,
The best way to master the appropriate use of transition words is to simply use them, and check your work. Read what you’ve written out loud and determine if it makes sense. Does it sound correct? Replace your transition with a word that means the same thing and read it again. If it still sounds correct it probably is.
Before you start embracing transitional words and phrases with open arms in your own writing, take the time to really acquaint yourself with them. Examining specifically how they are used in actual sentences and paragraphs can give you the confidence you need to use them in your own work.
The Great Depression was one of the most difficult economic times in American History. Its dreary influence was felt on every sector of American life, from the job and social sector, to art, fashion and cinema. Lifting the nation from this scourge was tremendously difficult, and something that President Franklin D. Roosevelt took very seriously. His administration was known for a policy of isolationism, based on the mentality that America had to think now and foremost about Americans. As a result of this decision, America turned a blind eye to the needs of citizens of other countries, their conflicts and concerns. It was akin to how on an airplane emergency one is supposed to put on one’s own oxygen mask first before helping one’s companion with his or her own mask. Self- preservation is sometimes crucial in order to be a useful force in the world. Given the circumstances, this also meant that America turned a blind eye to many of the atrocities committed by the Nazi Party in Europe. Hence, many historians view that American policy of isolationism as one of the passive enabling forces of the Holocaust.
When many people think of their Puritan ancestors, images of ill-dressed, antiquated settlers come to mind. Few people consider how brave the Puritans and all colonists of the new world had to be. At this time, America was an untamed beast, and creating a home here was treacherous work. The Puritans had literally left almost everything they had ever known, to attempt to build colonies in this new land. The dangers abounded—hostile natives, beastly animals, lack of food, crops that failed, illness and injury. Thus, it is no surprise that their religious beliefs were such a touchstone to them. Religion occupied such a primacy of their thoughts and actions because it was both a comfort and an escape from the many perils and uncertainties that abounded. Religion was a tool used by the Puritans in order to lessen the dangers and ambiguities of this new land. In that case, it is no wonder they intermingled religion with the laws of their new colonies. With this in mind, this paper will present the many ways that religious rituals and beliefs were used as a form of escapism by the Puritans in colonial New England.
Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has been lauded as the great American novel, and as the authoritative account on the Jazz Age. The novel gloriously shares the revelries and adventures of the young and wealthy in one of the most glamorous decades of the 20th century. However, the novel is so much more than a celebration of youth. In fact, the novel is a provocative display of youth’s fallibility. This paper will demonstrate how the novel can be interpreted as a stern warning to all: be careful of the people you meet when you are young and impressionable; they can alter the course of your life forever. Likewise, the novel also suggests that one view the decisions made as a young person with extreme detachment and objectivity. Such decisions can impact not only your life path but also your entire perspective of reality and the nature of time. And so, this paper will examine how The Great Gatsby is such a scathing portrayal of the fallibility of youth.
Without a doubt, the Great Depression had a devastating impact on every branch of society and human life. Given the immediacy of the needs of the country, Roosevelt committed to neutrality and let the war overseas be dealt with by Europe. It’s also important to note, that this decision was probably also motivated not just by prejudices towards immigrants, a hesitation in welcoming refugees, but also latent anti-Semitism. “Neither President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration nor the US Congress adjusted America’s complicated and bureaucratic immigration process to aid the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to flee Europe. Instead, the US State Department implemented new restrictive measures during this period that made it more difficult for immigrants’ to enter the United States” (ushmm.org). Rather than being a safe harbor to the many Jews of Eastern and Western Europe who were being persecuted by the evils of the Nazis, the United States turned a blind eye to these horrors. Similarly, when the U.S. actually did enter the war in 1941, they made a related decision that remains bitterly debated to this day. There was discussion of perhaps bombing Auschwitz-Birkenau but ultimately decided against that. While this bombing would have killed innocent victims of the camps, it also would have drastically slowed down the killing machine that had long been in progress.
One of the most telling aspects of the fallibility of youthful decision-making and appraisal is demonstrated when Gatsby tells Nick the story of how he met Daisy. “But he knew that he was in Daisy’s house by a colossal accident. However glorious might be his future as Jay Gatsby, he was at present a penniless young man without a past, and at any moment the invisible cloak of his uniform might slip from his shoulders” (Fitzgerald, 159). This reveals that Gatsby was aware of the fact that his uniform as a soldier allowed him to essentially misrepresent himself to a certain extent. It allowed him to present himself to Daisy in a way that made him appear as one who is not burdened by a stationing of class. Consequently, this allowed her to make the assumption that they were of the same economic origins. This was an assumption Gatsby did not correct. Had Gatsby been wiser, he would have known that it is better to select a partner that one does not need to reinvent oneself around. Thus, by forcing himself to become a millionaire, he made himself abandon his values in order to create an exterior sense of “worthiness” of the old money girl. In sum, this commitment to and investment in falseness was the springboard for the tragedy that was his life.
Perhaps one of the primary goals of the Puritans could be summarized in one word: survival. The most unfortunate aspect of their situation was that they could not control their own survival. They had to cultivate their own resolve and resourcefulness, as so much of their survival depended on the land and on luck. Religion gave them a sense of overall guidance in forging this new community within this new land, as well as a belief system that offered the comfort. Significantly, this was particularly true for the Puritans as they were not a community of individualists, but a community of community-minded people. “They came to America in groups, not as individual settlers. Often entire congregations, led by their ministers, left England and settled together in the new land. They organized their settlements into towns, with their meeting house or the church at the center of town. The church was the center of their community, providing purpose and direction to their lives” (Curtis, 2018). And so, this suggests that any obstacle, tragedy or other hardship that crossed their path could be re-interpreted as part of “God’s plan” regardless of how nebulous or senseless it appears to people. This allowed the Puritans to constantly reframe the narrative of their own lives into some palatable and less tragic. Regardless of the awful circumstances or unexpected tragedy that occurred, they were able to view everything as positive and perhaps a reason to continue on.
All things considered, the Holocaust was the worst genocide that the modern world has ever seen. A tremendous reason for this was because it was allowed to occur systematically over a period of years, starting with the subjugation of Jews in Europe as Hitler rose to power, to the mass extermination of Jews in the camps. America had turned a willful blind eye to all that was happening around the world and consequently enabled these atrocities through their own passivity. Namely, as Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It is the hope of modern society that we never forget that the horrors of the Holocaust were committed by humans against other humans. If we forget that humans are capable of such ugliness and terror we are doomed to repeat these evils.
In cessation, it is a natural part of human nature to seek out a distraction when circumstances are dire. One can clearly see this in the tendency of modern society to use the television, Internet, and social media as a means of distracting oneself from problems, anxieties and challenges. On the other hand, the Puritans have demonstrated that there are times when distractions such as belief systems can act as buffers between us and the harshness of our realities. The Puritans had such a powerful and dominant belief system, one that was enforced by this collective consciousness that it enabled them to both escape their reality, and process the events of their reality in a manner that would ensure their own survival. This was no small service that religion provided as often the severity of their circumstances in the new world warranted such mental cushioning. Additionally, one could easily argue that their survival and the survival of their progeny depended on being able to constantly in engage in the mental gymnastics that meant they wouldn’t succumb to fear or hopelessness. Religion was such an effective tool for the Puritans that they opted to incorporate it into their legal system. Accordingly, one can still trace many beliefs, traditions, stereotypes, biases, and mindsets to the Puritan roots of America.
Once you feel comfortable with transition and believe that you can incorporate them into your writing with ease, it’s time to become acquainted with transition mistakes. This might sound counterintuitive, but it actually serves a valuable purpose. It gives you a heads up about the most common errors that students make with transitions to help ensure that you do not make them.
Consider the clunkiness of the following paragraph, devoid of transition words:
Edward Hopper was an American painter who is most famous for the painting Nighthawks. It portrays four people in a café in the middle of the night. Many have speculated as to why the painting has resonated with so many people, coming up with the three main reasons. It shows the loneliness inherent within a big city. It shows the loneliness inherent in human existence in the middle of the night. It suggests the fleeting comfort of modern conveniences. Some scholars have argued that all these aspects are in all of Hopper’s works to a certain extent.
Now revised with transitions:
Edward Hopper was an American painter who is most famous for the painting Nighthawks. It portrays four people in a café in the middle of the night. Given these circumstances, many have speculated as to why the painting has resonated with so many people, coming up with the three main reasons. First, it shows the loneliness inherent within a big city. Secondly, it shows the loneliness inherent in human existence in the middle of the night. Finally, it suggests the fleeting comfort of modern conveniences. Additionally, some scholars have argued that all these aspects are in all of Hopper’s works to a certain extent.
As you can clearly see, using transitions helps to elevate your writing by creating bridges between your ideas. This gives your reader cue that are easier to follow, demonstrating which direction your argument is pointed.
Consider the following example that has incorrect transitions:
Many people think that being a professional fashion model is one of the most glamorous careers in the world, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Moreover, being a model means going on numerous daily auditions or “go-sees”—the bulk of which one does not book. In conclusion, when one is successful, it means lots of time flying around the world, away from family and friends. There’s a tremendous pressure to stay super skinny and to maintain a look of eternal youth, something that is just difficult to manage. On the other hand, there’s the constant competition between models, something that can become unbearably draining to confront.
Now consider this example, corrected:
Many people think that being a professional fashion model is one of the most glamorous careers in the world, though that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather, being a model means going on numerous daily auditions or “go-sees”—the bulk of which one does not book. However, when one is successful, it means lots of time flying around the world, away from family and friends. There’s also a tremendous pressure to stay super skinny and to maintain a look of eternal youth, something that is just difficult to manage. Furthermore, there’s the constant competition between models, something that can become unbearably draining to confront.
Using transitions in the wrong places shows how they can easily derail your writing. This will undermine your points and confuse your reader. Make sure your transitions are adding the correct meaning to your work.
Thus, transition words are so much more than basic linking vocabulary. They create a smooth path for your reader to tread as they acquaint themselves with your thesis, description or arguments. Using transitions with intelligence can easily elevate your writing, making it seem more nuanced and confident. On the other hand, using transitions incorrectly, sloppily or not at all has the effect of jarring the reader and throwing speed bumps onto the highway of your sentences. Mastering transition words doesn’t take much time, but the impact it has on the caliber of your writing is exponential and something you can use indefinitely.
Curtis, K. (2018). Who Were The Puritans? Retrieved from https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1601-1700/who-were-the-puritans-11630087.html
Dowell, J. A. (1997). Transition Words. Retrieved from https://msu.edu/~jdowell/135/transw.html
Fitzgerald, F. S. (2018). The Great Gatsby. Retrieved from https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/the-great-gatsby.pdf
Ushmm.org. (2018). The United States and the Holocaust: Why Auschwitz was not Bombed. Retrieved from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008041