Starting Words For Paragraphs Essay

Paragraph Transitions

Paragraphs represent the basic unit of composition: one idea, one paragraph. However, to present a clear, unified train of thought to your readers, you must make sure each paragraph follows the one before it and leads to the one after it through clear, logical transitions. Keep in mind that adequate transitions cannot simply be added to the essay without planning.  Without a good reason for the sequence of your paragraphs, no transition will help you.  Transitions can be made with particular words and phrases created for that purpose--conjunctive adverbs and transitional phrases--or they can be implied through a conceptual link.

Conjunctive Adverbs and Transitional Phrases

Conjunctive adverbs modify entire sentences in order to relate them to preceding sentences or paragraphs; good academic writers use many of them, but not so many that they overload the page. Here is a list of some of them, courtesy of The Brief Holt Handbook:
 

accordingly 
also
anyway
besides
certainly
consequently
finally
furthermore
hence
however
incidentally 
indeed
instead
likewise
meanwhile
moreover
nevertheless
next 
nonetheless
now
otherwise
similarly
still
then
thereafter
therefore
thus
undoubtedly 

Transitional phrases can perform the same function:
 

in addition
in contrast
for example
for instance
of course
as a result 
in other words
as a result

Use them wisely and sparingly, and never use one without knowing its precise meaning.

Implied or Conceptual Transitions

Not every paragraph transition requires a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase; often, your logic will appear through a word or concept common to the last sentence of the preceding paragraph and the topic sentence of the following paragraph. For example, the end of a paragraph by Bruce Catton uses a demonstrative adjective, "these," to modify the subject of the topic sentence so that it will refer to a noun in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph:

When Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in the parlor of a modest house at Appomattox Court House, Virginia,...a great chapter in American life came to a close.

    These men were bringing the Civil War to its virtual finish.

In this transition by Kori Quintana in an article about radiation and health problems, the connection between the paragraphs resides in the common term of "my family":
 
What I did not know when I began researching the connection between radioactivity and genetic damage was that I would find the probably cause of my own family's battle with cancer and other health problems.

    Hailing from Utah, the state known for its Mormon population's healthy lifestyle, my family has been plagued with a number of seemingly unrelated health problems.

The first paragraph outlines the origins of Quintana's research into the connection between radiation exposure and disease, and ends with the revelation that her own family had been affected by radiation.  The next paragraph discusses her family's health history.  Each has its own singular purpose and topic, yet the first paragraph leads to the topic of the second through a common term.

Paragraph transitions can expand the range of discussion as well as narrow it with an example, as Quintana's transition does; this selection from an article by Deborah Cramer on the ecological impact of the fishing industry shows how a single instance of overfishing indicates a world-wide problem:

....The large yearly catches, peaking at 130 million pounds from the Gulf of Maine in 1942, wiped out the fishery.  It has yet to recover.

    The propensity to ravage the sea is by no means unique to New England.  The northern cod fishery in Canada is closed indefinitely.  In Newfoundland more than 20,000 fishermen and fish processors were abruptly put out of work in 1992 when the government shut down the Grand Banks...

Here, the transition alludes to the entire preceding section about New England fishing.  Although Cramer managed this transition in a single sentence, transitions between large sections of an essay sometimes require entire paragraphs to explain their logic.

Proofreading Paragraph Transitions

At some point in your editing process, look at the end of each paragraph and see how it connects to the first sentence of the paragraph following it.  If the connection seems missing or strained, improve the transition by clarifying your logic or rearranging the paragraphs.  Often, the best solution is cutting out a paragraph altogether, and replacing it with the right one.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It is a good idea to occasionally use linking words and phrases at the start of a new paragraph. They can help to link what you have said in the previous paragraph to what you are about to say in your new paragraph.

These link words and phrases are often referred to as signposts. This is because they help to indicate to the reader when one point ends and other begins, as well as the relationship between each point.

Used with care, they can help to guide examiners and tutors through your essay. As well as bolster the impression of a coherent, flowing and logical piece of work.

Useful linking words and phrases that can be used at the start of new paragraphs:

A contrary explanation is that, …

Although, …

As a consequence, …

As a result, …

As we have seen, …

At the same time, …

Accordingly, …

An equally significant aspect of…

Another, significant factor in…

Before considering X it is important to note Y

By the same token, …

But we should also consider, …

Despite these criticisms, …it’s popularity remains high.

Certainly, there is no shortage of disagreement within…

Consequently, …

Correspondingly, …

Conversely, …

Chaytor, … in particular, has focused on the

Despite this, …

Despite these criticisms, … the popularity of X remains largely undiminished.

Each of these theoretical positions make an important contribution to our understanding of, …

Evidence for in support of this position, can be found in…,

Evidently,

For this reason, …

For these reasons, …

Furthermore, …

Given, the current high profile debate with regard to, …it is quite surprising that …

Given, the advantages of … outlined in the previous paragraph, …it is quite predictable that …

However, …

Having considered X, it is also reasonable to look at …

Hence, …

In addition to, …

In contrast, …

In this way, …

In this manner, …

In the final analysis, …

In short, …

Indeed, …

It can be seen from the above analysis that, …

It could also be said that, …

It is however, important to note the limitations of…

It is important to note however, that …

It is important however not to assume the applicability of, …in all cases.

It is important however not to overemphasis the strengths of …

In the face of such criticism, proponents of, …have responded in a number of ways.

Moreover, …

Notwithstanding such criticism, ….it’s popularity remains largely undiminished.

Notwithstanding these limitations, ….it worth remains in a number of situations.

Noting the compelling nature of this new evidence, …has suggested that.

Nevertheless, …remains a growing problem.

Nonetheless, the number of, …has continued to expand at an exponential rate.

Despite these criticisms, …it’s popularity remains high.

On the other hand, critics of, …point to its blindness, with respect to.

Of central concern therefore to, …sociologists is explaining how societal processes and institutions…

Proponents of…, have also suggested that…

Subsequently, …

Similarly, …

The sentiment expressed in the quotation, embodies the view that, …

This interpretation of, … has not been without it’s detractors however.

This approach is similar to the, …. position

This critique, unfortunately, implies a singular cause of, …

This point is also sustained by the work of, …

Thirdly, …

This counter argument is supported by evidence from, …

The use of the term, …

Therefore, …

There appears then to be an acceleration in the growth of

There is also, however, a further point to be considered.

These technological developments have greatly increased the growth in, …

Thus, …

To be able to understand, …

Undoubtedly, …

While such failures must not be discounted, … there were in comparison small, when compared

Whilst the discussion in the preceding paragraph, …

Whether crime rates were actually lower at this time continues to be a matter of debate. Evidence from…

There are an almost limitless number of linking phrases and words one can use. What is important is that they complement the style of your writing.

Use these examples to arouse your creativity.

Remember that you don’t have to use them all the time. Using words like, ‘therefore’ ‘subsequently’ ‘moreover’ etc. for every new paragraph would probably become repetitive and detract from the key component of most academic work – critical analysis.

Finally, remember to succinctly, identify the key paragraphs and/or sections of your essay during your introductory paragraph. Then restate them along side an unambiguous position in your concluding paragraph. Again this will help to communicate a clear and understandable progression and structure, to those who read or mark your essay.

Best wishes.
S J Tonge.

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