Monday, February 27, 2012

Topic Sentences versus Transitions

by Chuck Sebian-Lander

Trying to improve the way your paper moves from one body paragraph to the next?  The key is to understand and use two important sentences: the transition and the topic sentence.

Remember that each body paragraph should contain only one major idea or piece of evidence in support of your thesis.  The transition (the last sentence of a body paragraph) should end the point you're making in your body paragraph in the same way that a conclusion ends an entire paper: by restating or emphasizing the point of that paragraph.

The topic sentence (the first sentence of a body paragraph) introduces the point of your new paragraph.  You can find a great article on the topic sentence right here on the blog.  For even more effective topic sentences, combine our article's advice with words or phrases that refer back to your transitional sentence to form a link between your two body paragraphs (e.g., if you mentioned the "effect" of something in your transition: "This effect can also be seen...").  You can also use words from our list of transition words that signal contrast!

An effective paper combines transitions and body paragraphs to create a logical chain of evidence that supports a strong thesis.  Whether you're writing your first draft or revisions, work on these sentences to improve the flow and clarity of your paper!