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Words

Transitional words are crucial for a high score on the TOEFL writing section because raters are looking for smooth transitions from idea to idea and from paragraph to paragraph.  Not only do transitional words help papers read more smoothly, they also provide organization and understandability, not to mention improve the connections and transitions between thoughts on the speaking section!

Think of transitional words as divided into categories.  Here are several categories that will help you with both the integrated writing and independent writing.

Addition: also, again, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, moreover

Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, this, thereupon

Generalizing: as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, ordinarily, usually

Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, specifically, such as

Illustration: for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, in this case

Emphasis: above all, particularly, singularly

Similarity: comparatively, coupled with, identically, likewise, together with

Exception: aside from, barring, besides, excluding, outside of, save

Restatement: in essence, namely, that is to say, in short, to put it differently

Contrast: conversely, instead, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, yet

Sequence: at first, to begin with, in the first place, for the time being, the next step, later on, in turn, with this in mind

Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, by and large, in any case, in brief, in conclusion

In regards to grammar with transition words, if the transition begins the sentence then a comma must follow it.  If the transition word comes in the middle of a sentence, it’s proceeded by a comma or a semi colon and followed by a comma. When written at the end of a sentence, a transition word is preceded by just a comma.

Examples:

Therefore, I decided not to join the hockey team.

The tryouts took longer than anticipated; therefore, I decided not to join the hockey team.

I couldn’t come near to respecting him, however.

Transition words can also come in handy for the speaking section and can add coherence to your ideas.  Memorize several that stick out at you by their category and keep them in mind when it comes down to test day.

Remember: Transition words become ineffective when used repetitively: Use a variety of them when speaking and writing in order to effectively transition one idea to the next.

 

Whether you are writing an admissions essay or drafting a report for work, these helpful tips are sure to create polished works:

Simple, Direct, Precise, Alive, Concise, Coherent, Convincing! Those are your targets.

  1. Reduce Sentence Length to establish strong, clear meaning.
  2. Order Words for Emphasis.
    • Put strong words at the beginning and at the end of a sentence.
    • Space out key words. Do NOT repeat a distinctive word unless you intend a specific effect.
    • Put odd and interesting things next to each other. Help the reader learn from contrast.
    • Do not be afraid of using small words. Big words are not always the best or most useful for getting your points across to the reader.
  3. Avoid Needless Words or Stuffy Language.
    • No excess prepositional phrases
    • Use words in replace of phrases
    • No redundancy; minimize repetition
    • Watch for unnecessary adverbs such as very, really, quickly
    • No vague qualifiers, e.g. some, kind; avoid “it is”, “whether or not”…
  4. Use Strong Verbs. Use passive verbs to highlight the receiver of an action.
  5. Emphasize Results, Concrete Figures. Use concrete and specific details that appeal to the senses.
  6. Establish Impressive Overall Style.
    • Form a pattern in your writing, but then give it a wrist to add variety.
    • Vary sentence length to set a compelling pace for the reader.

Summary:

  • Convey clear, complete thoughts.
    • Do not couch too many ideas in one sentence.
  • Choose every word carefully.
    • Make sure they are precise and most appropriate for the context.
  • Minimize redundancy. Strive for effectiveness.

Posted on November 15, 2007 by Manhattan Review

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