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Perplexed Progressions

Dear Writing Diary,

I’ve been having a problem with my writing recently. All of my professors tell me that I need help with progression in my papers and that my transitions don’t work. They don’t think that my ideas relate to one another. Another thing is that I am writing a big paper soon, and it will be difficult for me to transition between all those paragraphs. I’m afraid that I am going to get off topic because my transitions need some work. I want to be able to make my parents proud. If I brought home a good grade on my next paper, they would be so happy. How can I fix my transition problem so that maybe my next paper will make a little more sense?


Perplexed About Progression

Dear Perplexed,

First of all, don’t feel bad about your transition problem! Many people find transitions to be difficult, especially in longer pieces of writing. I have a couple of tips that will hopefully help you out with your paper’s progression.

You need to be familiar with transitional phrases. These words will certainly help your paper to flow in a more organized manner. These transitional phrases help to connect two ideas:

Similarity→ Also, Similarly, Furthermore, Likewise, In addition

Contrast→ On the contrary, However, Otherwise, On the other hand, But, Still, Yet

Sequence→ First, Second, Third, Next, Then

Time→ After, During, Simultaneously, Then

Cause and Effect→ Accordingly, Consequently, So, Therefore, Thus

Transitioning between paragraphs can be easy with these phrases, because you will only need a simple word or phrase to introduce a new idea. When you’re planning your paper, be aware of how your ideas will fit together. This will make your transitions significantly more seamless. If you plan your paragraphs ahead of time, you will often see the relationship between the ideas. Therefore, you will know which transitional phrases you need to use.

I also always tell people to make sure that the first sentence of each paragraph somehow points up to what they have been talking about but also points down to what they plan to discuss. This is just a simpler way of describing the use of a transitional phrase. Adding in a simple “similarly” or “however” can get this job done. You will also want to make sure that each of your topic sentences somehow relates back to your thesis. This will help you not to stray too far from your topic in your longer papers.

I hope this helps, and I hope your next paper goes well!