Paragraph Transitions Professor Crystal Shelnutt
Types of Transitions • Standard devices • Paragraph hooks 3) Combinations of 1 & 2
Standard Devices • Simple and obvious • Specific words and phrases • AWR : Tab 10, 52d (p. 457?)
Standard Devices Oversimplified Examples: • Puppies are a nuisance. • They are wonderful. • True, puppies are a nuisance. • Nevertheless, they are wonderful.
Standard Devices • The project had value. • It wasted time. • Admittedly, the project had value. • But it was wasted time.
Standard Devices • He was a brilliant actor. • He often performed miserably. • He was, to be sure, a brilliant actor. • Yet he often performed miserably.
Standard Devices • Note on “however”: • The best position for however is nearly always inside a sentence, between commas: • Good study habits, however, cannot be established overnight.
Paragraph “Hooks” • Standard words and phrases are good • They cannot, however, handle the whole transitional load: they become overused • “Hook” words from the previous paragraph into the next • Either from the last sentence or even deeper into the previous paragraph
Paragraph “Hook” ¶ Mark Twain is established in the minds of most Americans as a kindly humorist, a gentle and delight “funny man.” No doubt his photographs have helped promote this image. Everybody is familiar with the Twain face. He looks like every child’s ideal grandfather, a dear old white-thatched gentleman who embodies the very spirit of loving-kindness.
Paragraph “Hook” • (Standard transition) ¶ ButTwain wrote some of the most savage satire ever produced in America . . . • Abrupt leap from one idea to the next • Mechanical
Paragraph “Hook” ¶ . . . a dear old white-thatched gentleman who embodies the very spirit of loving-kindness. ¶ The loving-kindness begins to look a little doubtful in view of some of his writing. For Twain wrote some of the most savage satire . . . • The last word of the previous paragraph “hooks” into the first sentence of the next paragraph and provides a point of departure for next idea
Deeper Paragraph “Hook” ¶ . . . a dear old white-thatched gentleman who embodies the very spirit of loving-kindness. ¶ This dear old white-thatched gentleman happens to be the author of some of the most savage satire . . . • Generally, the last sentence is best place to find your “hook” to get to your next paragraph
Still deeper: The Multiple Hook ¶. . . photographs have helped promote this image. Everybody is familiar with the Twain face . . . ¶ To accept such an image is to betray greater familiarity with the photographs than with the writing. For Twain wrote some of the most savage satire . . . • Here you have the “double-hook” • The greater the distance, the more likely your need for multiple words to make the connections clear
A Note on the “Hook” • Don’t insult your reader by making the connection too clear • That is, don’t repeat huge sections or whole sentences from the preceding paragraph. • One or two words will do the job.
The Idea “Hook” • So far, examples are simple words or phrases • Another variation of the paragraph “hook” is the idea hook • Principle is the same: hooking into the preceding paragraph • Instead of repeating an exact word or phrase, however, you refer to the idea just expressed • Compress that idea into a single phrase
The Idea “Hook” (Recall our paragraph: Twain as kind, dear, loving) ¶ Such a view of Twain would probably have been a source of high amusement to the author himself. For Twain wrote some of the most savage satire . . . • Or ¶ Any resemblance between this popular portrait and the man who reveals himself in his writing is purely imaginary. For Twain wrote . . .
The Combination • Natural, matter of course • Use your sense of what the reader requires for clarity • Use with your own sense of rhythm and sound in writing
The Combination ¶ The loving-kindness begins to look a little doubtful, however, in view of . . . ¶ Yet this dear old white-thatched gentleman . . . ¶ But to accept such an image . . . ¶ Such a view of Twain, however, would probably . . .
Some Transitional Phrases • Admittedly • And • Assuredly • But • Certainly • Clearly, then • Consequently • Even so • Furthermore • Granted
Some Transitional Phrases • In addition • In fact • Indeed • It is true that • Moreover • Nevertheless • No doubt • Nobody denies • Obviously • Of course
Some Transitional Phrases • On the other hand • Still • The fact remains • Therefore • Thus • To be sure • True • Undoubtedly • Unquestionably • Yet
Work Cited • Payne, Lucile Vaughan. The Lively Art of Writing. New York: Penguin, 1965. Print.