After I worked there for one school year, the program lost its budget, I lost my job, and the students lost the opportunity to sign up for individual help beyond their teachers’ limited time.
Since then, I’ve held a variety of jobs: freelance writer, editor, and proofreader; speaker; author in residence; managing editor for an educational publishing company; English instructor at a nearby college. I’ve hung onto the handouts I used in that high school writing center all these years. From time to time, I still refer to them.
What do the paragraphs above have in common? All three begin with transitions. A transitions handout I saved from that high school job lists examples of some of the most common types:
- Transitions for time or sequence (finally, later, next, first, second, third, etc.)
- Transitions for connecting ideas already stated (besides, likewise, for instance, furthermore, for example, in addition)
- Transitions for showing cause and effect (therefore, thus, consequently, as a result)
- Transitions for comparing and contrasting ideas (otherwise, on the other hand, however, nevertheless)
- Transitions for describing spatial relationships (above, below, beyond, nearby, across from, in the distance)
see my schedule here), web site updates, a tiny bit of gardening, a visit from my sister and assorted family gatherings, a few birdwatching expeditions, and house hunting. I’m not clearing out nearly as much as I'm adding to my plate. As we prepare to move to a smaller living space, I need to make the transition now to tossing what I can’t use anymore. I need to be ruthless about recycling.
I will probably still hang onto those handouts.
Writing Workout: Creating New Transitions
One of the most overused transitions I can think of is “suddenly.” Many alternatives have also become clichés: quick as a wink, in the blink of an eye, faster than the speed of light. How else could you express something that happens in a split second?
- in a hummingbird’s wingbeat
- in the time it takes to crack an egg into a pan
- at the speed of a baby’s bottle crashing to the floor
JoAnn Early Macken