Every paragraph needs unity, which means it develops one main idea that is stated in the topic sentence. That main idea must then be developed and explained adequately to be interesting and convincing.
Next, that fully-developed idea must be organized in a logical way for the reader to understand it. Finally, the developed and well-organized idea in the paragraph must be clearly linked to the thesis of the essay and the paragraphs around it with strong transitions.
In this workout, you will work on the fourth of the core building blocks of a good paragraph – Transitions.
Let’s get started.
Identifying Transition Language
Transition language is used to make clear connections between ideas and help guide the reader’s progress through the paragraph.
|Video games can help children learn basic math skills. Many video games teach math skills, such as multiplication, in a fun way. Players can unlock levels or shoot space ships as they multiply. Games encourage children to solve puzzles and problems (to advance in the game) so that they are empowered in their learning. Video games are an effective tool for math education.|
|Despite the risks of overuse, video games can help children learn basic math skills. Many video games teach math skills, such as multiplication, in a fun way. For example, players can unlock levels or shoot space ships as they multiply. In addition, games encourage children to solve puzzles and problems (to advance in the game) so that they are empowered in their learning. Used in moderation, video games are an effective tool for math education.|
Without transition language, the reader must work hard to figure out the connections between the ideas in the paragraph. This extra work can lead to some confusion and reduce the overall clarity and strength of the message.
Fix the problem:
The transition language helps the reader to appreciate that an example or additional reasons are being offered in the body of the paragraph; it becomes easier to follow the connections between the ideas. Notice too that transitions can include the repetition of ideas – such as the phrases “overuse” and “used in moderation” – to signal meaning; in this case the writer wants us to understand that the risks in video games are easily managed.
Practice with Transitions
Often, when revising our work, we need to go back and add in transitions words to help our reader figure out the connections between ideas.
Let’s practice this.
In the sample paragraph, each sentence provides useful and valuable information. However, without transition words, the reader must work hard to figure out how all these sentences connect. What is the relationship between each idea? Which ideas are examples? Which ones are reasons? How do they link to the topic sentence?