What are Transition Sentences?
by Deborah Owen
Transition sentences carry the reader’s thoughts from one scene to another, or from one topic to another. The trick is to shift gears smoothly by using both the past and future topic close together. By the time you read this article, you’ll have a good understanding of the art.
Think of transition sentences as a bridge that goes from one place to another. If the bridge is too short or not properly constructed, it can be a jarring experience.
Just remember that ‘warty characters’ are memorable because ‘warts’ assist the reader in identifying characters.
Huh? Are you wondering what happened to the discussion on transition sentences? Now you know what that “jarred” feeling is like, as there was no transition sentence. Warts (character flaws) don’t relate to transition sentences at all, but we can make them relate by connecting the two topics.
How to Build a Transition Sentence
Transitions usually root in the first line of a new paragraph, but on occasion, you’ll find them in the last line. If you can find a common denominator, you can make a smooth transition, like this: (repeat)
Think of transition sentences as a bridge that goes from one place to another. If the bridge is too short or not properly constructed, it can be a jarring experience. [Setting up for the transition.] There are many bridges in writing.
For instance, ‘warty characters’ (characters that have physical, emotional, or psychological flaws), act as a bridge to help the reader separate characters. Imagery is another bridge, as it translates to the five senses. Likewise, transition sentences are a bridge that escort the reader from a previous topic or scene to a new one.
See? You can connect virtually anything if you find a common denominator. Reread the last two paragraphs and find the three transitions, which may be a single word, a phrase, or one or more sentences. (Find answers at the bottom.) Transition sentences are a powerful way to redirect your reader’s mind!
You can skip decades with one good transition sentence:
Sarah clutched her father’s pocket watch to her buxom and listened to the strained tune. She smiled, thinking of the days when he tried to hypnotize her until she went cross-eyed. Now, thirty years later, fond memories brought a surge of tears.
The transition phrase was, “Now, thirty years later…. “ There is no need to follow your character through opening and closing every door, eating a full meal, or taking a long trip to a destination. Cut the trivia and keep the meat by inserting a transition sentence. One of the most famous is, “Meanwhile, back in the jungle… “
Other good transition words and phrases are: besides, in addition to, instead of, specifically, to sum up, although, beyond, close, for instance, again, moreover, accordingly, as a result, during, to illustrate, finally, on the contrary, to compare, consequently, subsequently, if, then, meanwhile, but, nevertheless, therefore, otherwise, so, formerly.
Your assignment: read a newspaper or magazine and find the transition words for every paragraph. When you can recognize transition phrases, words, and sentences, you’ll be able to use them effectively in your own writing. Remember the secret: a transition sentence must use part of the topic it left and part of the topic it is approaching.
1. Think of
2. For instance
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