Paragraphing & Transitioning

When to Paragraph

transition-words2How do you know when “enough is enough”—when you have enough information in one paragraph and have to start a new one? A very rough guide is that you need more than one or two paragraphs per page of type. Paragraphing conventions online require even shorter paragraphs, with multiple short paragraphs on one screen.

It’s best to deal with paragraphs as part of the revision step in the writing process. Find places where the information shifts in focus, and put paragraph breaks in those places. You can do your best to paragraph as you draft but know you’ll address paragraphing more during the revision process.

Linking Paragraphs: Transitions

Transitions are words or phrases that indicate linkages in ideas. When writing, you need to lead your readers from one idea to the next, showing how those ideas are logically linked. Transition words and phrases help you keep your paragraphs and groups of paragraphs logically connected for a reader. Writers often check their transitions during the revising stage of the writing process.

Here are some example transition words to help as you transition both within paragraphs and from one paragraph to the next.

Transition Word / Phrase: Shows:
and, also, again More of the same type of information is coming; information expands on the same general idea.
but, or, however, in contrast Different information is coming, information that may counteract what was just said.
as a result, consequently, therefore Information that is coming is a logical outgrowth of the ideas just presented.
for example, to illustrate The information coming will present a specific instance, or present a concrete example of an abstract idea.
particularly important, note that The information coming emphasizes the importance of an idea.
in conclusion The writing is ending.

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