Transition Phrases in Academic Writing

by Madhura Panse
Transition phrases in academic writing

Writing a thesis/dissertation or a manuscript that effectively showcases your research is not only a prerequisite, it’s essential to advance as an academic. However, creating content for these technical documents can be a challenge for researchers, especially those who have English as a second language. Poor language, grammar, spelling or the lack of proper sentence structure in academic writing can impact how you communicate your research, even if the content in itself is technically sound. As with any other skill, it’s possible to polish your English language with practice and time. One way to improve the flow of your writing is by using transition phrases or academic linking phrases, which act like a bridge to connect two diverse ideas/sentences either within the same paragraph or between two paragraphs.

Different types of transition phrases

The type of transition phrases you use when linking sentences in academic writing depends upon the specific role they play in connecting the two sentences or ideas. Read through this article for information on the different types of transition phrases and how to use these effectively to enhance your content.

  1. Sequential: Transition words of this type are used when you want to show a sequential occurrence between two ideas or events in your writing.Some of these include, before, during, after, finally, later, subsequently, etc.
  • Causal: Causal transition words in academic writing denote the cause-effect relationship between two ideas and/or sentences. Some of these include: consequently, therefore, thereby, thus, accordingly etc.
  • Similarity: You can use this type of transition phrases to explain the similarities between your ideas better. The most common examples are: similarly, likewise, in accordance with, in the same way, etc.
  • Contrast: These academic linking phrases are used to stress the differences/contrasting elements between your ideas. Some of these include: conversely, on one hand … on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, however, in spite of, on the contrary, etc.
  • Place/Position/Location: While linking sentences in academic writing, you can use these transition phrases to elaborate on ideas in terms of where they are being placed in the overall content. For example: Above, below, beyond, nearby, etc.
  • Emphasis/additional support: These type of transition phrases can be used if you intend to emphasize on your point/idea and increase its overall relevance in your text. Some of these include: In fact, indeed, undoubtedly, additionally, of course, etc.
  • Concluding: In order to ensure that readers can take away the most from your content, you can use this set of academic linking phrases to end/conclude your ideas. Some of the common concluding transition phrases are: in conclusion, to summarize, finally, on the whole, etc.

Using these transition phrases consistently to create logical linkages will surely improve your sentence structure in academic writing and enhance your written communication skills. However, there are some things that you need to be mindful of while using transition words in academic writing in order to make sure that your writing appears de-cluttered and authentic.

  • Use the transition phrases strategically by ensuring they’re sprinkled all across the content.
  • Avoid the excessive use of transition phrases, especially if your sentences appear logical and complete without them.
  • Remember that these academic linking phrases are meant to lend a logical flow and connection to your content and are not simply a way to improve the overall aesthetic.

I hope that the information provided in this article adds to your repertoire and that you use this guide on transition phrases to effectively create seamless linking sentences in academic writing.

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