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Transition Signals

What are transition signals?

Transition signals are linking words or phrases that connect your ideas and add cohesion to your writing. They signpost or indicate to the reader the relationships between sentences and between paragraphs, making it easier for the reader to understand your ideas. We use a variety of transition signals to fulfill a number of functions. Some of these functions include: to show the order or sequence of events; to indicate that a new idea or an example will follow; to show that a contrasting idea will be presented, or to signal a summary or a conclusion.

How are transition signals useful?

Transition signals will:

•     make it easier for the reader to follow your ideas.

•     create powerful links between sentences and paragraphs to improve the flow of information across the whole text. The result is that the writing is smoother.

•     help to carry over a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another or from one paragraph to another.

How are transition signals used?

•     Transition signals are usually placed at the start of sentences; however, they may also appear in the middle or end of sentences.

•     A transition signal, or the clause introduced by a transition signal, is usually separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

•     You DO NOT need to use transition signals in every sentence in a paragraph; however, good use of transition words will help to make the relationship between the ideas in your writing clear and logical.

Which transition signals can I use?

Before choosing a particular transition signal to use, be sure you understand its meaning and usage completely and be sure that it's the right match for the logic in your paper. Transition signals all have different meanings, nuances, and connotations.

 

•     To introduce an example:

specifically

in this case

to illustrate

for instance

for example

one example of this is

to demonstrate

on this occasion

 

•     To introduce an opposite idea or show exception:

alternatively

in contrast

on the other hand

but

despite

in spite of

still

instead

whereas

even though

nevertheless

while

however

one could also say

yet

 

 

•     To show agreement:

accordingly

in accordance with

 

 

 

•     To introduce an additional idea:

additionally

as well as

in addition

again

also

besides

moreover

equally important

and

furthermore

one could also say

further

and then

 

 

 

 

•     To indicate sequence or order, or logically divide an idea:

after

eventually

previously

next

finally

first

second

third

at this point

followed by

subsequently

simultaneously

at this time

last

concurrently

ultimately

before

meanwhile

and then

 

 

•     To indicate time:

after

earlier

previously

later

at this point

finally

prior to

formerly

soon

at this time

immediately

then

before

initially

thereafter

during

 

•     To compare:

likewise

like

just like

another way to view this

by comparison

balanced against

whereas

while

similarly

 

 

 

 

•     To contrast:

a different view is

even so

nevertheless

yet

balanced against

in contrast

still

however

but

on the contrary

unlike

notwithstanding

conversely

on the other hand

differing from

 

 

•     To show cause and effect:

and so

consequently

therefore

as a consequence

as a result

for this reason

thus

hence

 

•     To summarise or conclude:

as a result

in conclusion

therefore

as shown

in other words

thus

consequently

in summary

to conclude

finally

on the whole

to summarise

hence

summing up

ultimately

in brief

 

Example

The example below illustrates how transition signals can be used to improve the quality of a piece of writing. Note how the ideas flow more smoothly and the logical relationships between the ideas are expressed clearly.

At HELPS, we endeavour to support UTS students in a number of ways. First, we offer 15-minute ‘drop in’ sessions with a HELPS Advisor. Making an appointment for these sessions is not necessary. Here, students can gain assistance with their academic writing and presentation skills. Specifically, students may ask for assistance with: understanding an assignment question; understanding assessment criteria; clarifying an assignment type (e.g. what’s a literature review?); planning for an assignment; strategies for effective reading/note-taking skills; and obtaining information from self-study resources. During this time, the HELPS Advisor may refer students for a longer, 40-minute consultation. Students cannot, however, book one-to-one advice sessions online; only a HELPS Advisor can do that.

Getting one-to-one advice is an opportunity for an in-depth discussion with a HELPS Advisor in relation to your specific needs on an assessment. For example, you may require assistance preparing for an oral presentation. Alternatively, you may ask a HELPS Advisor to discuss a draft of an assignment to ensure that you have addressed the assessment criteria. While HELPS Advisors cannot edit your work, they can point out persistent errors in your text and show you how to correct these. In other words, they can help you to edit your own work. In addition, they can help you to prepare for an IELTS exam.

In brief, there are many ways that HELPS can support UTS students. Students are encouraged to drop by the HELPS office which is situated in Building 1, level 3, room 8 (opposite the Careers Service).

 

Sources:

The Learning Centre 2013, Transition signals in writing, UNSW, viewed 20 September 2013,
< https://student.unsw.edu.au/transition-signals-writing>.

UniLearning 2000, Transition signals, UOW, viewed 20 September 2013,
< http://unilearning.uow.edu.au/effective/6c.html>.

Downloads

Transition Signals.pdf (PDF, 195.11kB)