TOEFL Writing Tips: Transitional Words

Posted on October 4, 2011 | Filed in TOEFL

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.  
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