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Use Natural Transitions in Your Writing

To Take Your Writing to the Next Level, you need to know how to maintain a main point or theme and get readers to act. This means making sure your writing stays on point, flows well and transitions from one portion of your main theme to another.

Keeping a good flow to your business writing means using transition words, sentences or paragraphs. Think of transitions as steps. You want to help your readers build on words and concepts a little at a time and in a logical manner (up or down, one step at a time instead of up one, down two; you get the point).

Avoid Vague Transition Words

It is too easy when writing to throw in a "Furthermore," or "However." These words can be effective but should not be the only transition words on which you rely for your business writing. These words are not always helpful and just interrupt thoughts. If a word like "Finally," doesn't add to the context of your writing, avoid its use. Adding the words just because you think you need to tell readers you still are discussing or embellishing a point is not subtle or effective. Instead, use words that show similarity (likewise); or contrast (but, by comparison); sequence (afterward); or time (previously). Again, only use these words when they fit in context and improve flow.

In addition to vague words, avoid the double "and," a common mistake in writing. For example: "Also, he added another copy of the report to the stack." That sentence contains three "and" words: also, added, and another. Simply say, "He produced another copy of the report for the stack."

Transition with Thoughts and Sentences

Often, problems with transitions have more to do with how you arrange thoughts and sentences. If you remember the theme or point of your overall piece and the theme of paragraphs supporting it, your thoughts should flow. If, on the first read-through of your draft, you realize you veered off topic or put too many thoughts into one paragraph, now is the time to move them around. Sometimes, a sentence buried in a paragraph serves as a great transition from the paragraph before. Cut it and move it up, then adjust the rest of the paragraph to flow smoothly. Watch for short, choppy sentences followed by a sentence that contrasts the point. These sentences often can combine with a brief transition word.

Smooth transitions improve readability and effectiveness of the written word. We have lots of ways to help guide your writing in our webinars and online writing courses. Sign up online or call us at 425-485-3221 for more information.

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