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03/01/2012

Transition Signals

Filed under: Extra — anlactunay @ 8:10 AM

Transition Signals
Transition signals are expressions such as FIRST, FINALLY, and HOWEVER, or phrases such as IN CONCLUSION, ON THE OTHER HAND, and AS A RESULT. Other kinds of words such as subordinators (WHEN, ALTHOUGH), coordinators (AND, BUT), adjectives (ANOTHER, ADDITIONAL), and prepositions (BECAUSE OF, IN SPITE OF) can serve as transition signals.
Transition signals are like traffic signs; they tell your reader when to go forward, turn around, slow down, and stop. In other words, they tell your reader when you are giving a similar idea (SIMILARLY, AND, IN ADDITION), an opposite idea (ON THE OTHER HAND, BUT, IN CONTRAST), an example (FOR EXAMPLE), a result (THEREFORE, AS A RESULT), or a conclusion (IN CONCLUSION).
Transition signals give a paragraph coherence because they guide your reader from one idea to the next.

TO INTRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL IDEA
   * in addition
   * furthermore
   * moreover
   * besides
   * also
   * too
   * and
   * another (+ noun)
   * an additional (+ noun)

Note: TOO usually appears only at the end of a sentence, sometimes PRECEDED BY A COMMA.
TO INTRODUCE AN OPPOSITE IDEA OR CONTRAST
   * on the other hand
   * in contrast
   * however
   * nevertheless
   * instead
   * still
   * nonetheless
   * but
   * yet
   * although
   * though
   * even though
   * whereas
   * while
   * in spite of (+ noun)
   * despite (+ noun)

TO INTRODUCE A CHOICE OR ALTERNATIVE
   * otherwise
   * or
   * if
   * unless

TO INTRODUCE A RESTATEMENT
   * in fact
   * indeed
   * that is

TO LIST IN ORDER
   * first, second, third
   * next, last, finally
   * the first, second, third, etc.
   * the next, last, final

Note:
The short time words THEN, NOW, and SOON usually do not need commas.

TO INTRODUCE AN EXAMPLE
   * for example
   * for instance
   * an example of (+ noun)
   * such as (+ noun)

TO INTRODUCE A CONCLUSION OR SUMMARY
   * clearly
   * in brief
   * in conclusion
   * indeed
   * in short
   * in summary

TO INTRODUCE A RESULT
   * accordingly
   * as a result
   * as a consequence
   * therefore
   * consequently
   * hence
   * thus
   * so

Note:
The words and phrases in the last four groups (for listing ideas and time sequences, for emphasizing, for giving reasons, and for conclusions) usually appear only at the beginning of a sentence, not in the middle or at the end.

The words and phrases that connect two independent clauses. In this case, we use them with A SEMICOLON AND A COMMA.
   * In warm climate zones, water evaporates rapidly; THEREFORE, the concentration of salt is greater!
   * Both the Red Sea and the Mediterranean have narrow outlets to the ocean; HOWEVER, the Mediterranean’s is narrower.
   * A few societies in the world are matriarchal; THAT IS, the mother is head of the family.
   * Some English words have no exact equivalents in other languages; FOR EXAMPLE, there is no German word for the adjective fair, as in fair play.

Coordinators
This group includes the SEVEN COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS:
  * AND,
  * BUT,
  * SO,
  * OR,
  * NOR,
  * FOR, and
  * YET [FANBOYS]

and the FIVE CORRELATIVE (“PAIRED”) CONJUNCTIONS:
   * BOTH .. . AND,
   * NOT ONLY …BUT ALSO,
   * NEITHER … NOR,
   * EITHER … OR, and
   * WHETHER … OR.
Coordinators may or may not have commas. When they connect TWO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES, USE A COMMA.
   * In a matriarchy, the mother is the head of the family, AND all the children belong to her clan.
   * In warm climate zones, water evaporates rapidly, SO the concentration of salt is greater!
   * Children not only need love, BUT they ALSO need discipline.

When coordinators connect two words or phrases, do NOT use a comma.
   * Would you rather take a written OR an oral exam?
   * Children need NOT ONLY love BUT also discipline.

Exception: Some writers use a COMMA BEFORE BUT and YET even when they do not connect independent clauses TO EMPHASIZE THE CONTRAST of the connected ideas.
   * The poem is solemn, yet optimistic in tone.

Subordinators
A subordinator (subordinating conjunction) is the first word in a dependent clause. A dependent clause is always connected to an independent clause to make a sentence. The sentence may or may not have a comma. The general rule is this: PUT A COMMA AFTER A DEPENDENT clause but not in front of one.
   * ALTHOUGH the company’s sales increased last year, its net profit declined.
   * The company’s net profit declined last year ALTHOUGH its sales increased.

Other transition signals
The transition signals in this group include nouns such as EXAMPLE, adjectives such as ADDITIONAL, prepositions such as IN ADDITION TO, verbs such as CAUSE, and adverbs such as TOO. There are no punctuation rules for this group, but it is important to notice what kinds of words follow these signals.

   * An ADDITIONAL reason for the company’s bankruptcy was the lack of competent management. (ADDITIONAL is an adjective, so it is followed by a noun.)

   * IN ADDITION TO increased competition, the lack of competent management caused the company’s bankruptcy. (IN ADDITION TO is a preposition, so it is followed by a noun or noun phrase.)

   * Vocabulary differences between British and American English include words SUCH AS bonnet/hood, petrol/gasoline, windscreen/windshield, and lorry/truck. (SUCH AS is followed by a noun or noun phrase.)

Don’t overuse transition signals
Read your paragraph aloud and pay attention to your own language. Are you using too many transition signals? Too many can be distracting rather than helpful. There is no rule about how many to use in one paragraph. Use them only when they will help your reader follow your ideas.

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