Order and Transitions
Moving from a list of related ideas
to a cohesive and persuasive
Which is the proper order?
The order you thought of your ideas in?
Alternating between important and
Starting with the most important and ending
with the least important?
Starting with the least important and ending
with the most important?
Finding Order in the Disordered
World of Writing
Order of Importance
Chronological or Sequential Order—
sequence of time
Spatial Order—physical description
Logical Order—points that build upon one
Connecting in Order
Once you have the order of your ideas set—
through outlining or drafting and revision—
you can help the reader understand that
order through the use of transitions
Transitions . . .
Connect ideas within paragraphs through
words and phrases:
Sequence: again, first, also, finally, etc.
Comparison: similarly, in the same way, etc.
Cause: because, since, due to, as a result, etc.
Space: above, below, adjacent, etc.
Examples: such as, for instance, in particular,
Transitions also connect body paragraphs
by showing how ideas are related to one
another and to your thesis.
Transitions may be located in the clincher
sentence of the paragraph or in the topic
sentence of the following paragraph.
Paragraph without Transitions
Thesis: Schools should not be allowed to test students due to the
costs and inherent fairness issues involved in drug testing.
Body Paragraph 1: Developing, implementing, and administering a
testing program is very costly. Start-up costs include choosing a
test provider, buying or developing tracking data bases, and
setting up a procedure for selection of subjects, handling of test
materials, and communicating results. Implementation costs
include hiring professionals or training staff to administer the
tests and setting up an appropriate test site. Administration costs
include hiring an administrator to oversee all aspects of the
testing, such as handling punishments and appeals.
Body Paragraph 2: Drug testing can result in inaccurate test results
and biased administration.
Paragraph with Transitions
Thesis: While drug testing might have a beneficial effect for some
students, schools should not be allowed to drug test students due to
the costs and inherent fairness issues involved in testing.
Body Paragraph 1: The costs involved in developing, implementing, and
administering a testing program make it an unwise choice. Start-up
costs include choosing a test provider, buying or developing tracking
data bases, and setting up a procedure for selection of subjects,
handling of test materials, and communicating results. In addition to
these costs, implementation of the program would require hiring
professionals or training staff to administer the tests and setting up
an appropriate test site. Similarly, administration costs include hiring
an administrator to oversee all aspects of the testing, including
handling punishments and appeals. The level of expenditure
necessary to run a testing program properly is high, but the risk of
injustice if not enough money is spent on such a program is higher.
Body Paragraph 2: It is possible to run a testing program more
cheaply, but this would increase the already present danger of
inaccurate results or biased administration.
By showing how ideas relate to one
another, transitions provide clarity to your
thinking, direction to your reader, and unity
to your essay—and let’s not forget points
to your grade.