What Are Transitional Devices?

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Transitional devices are words or phrases that connect one sentence or paragraph with another. Also known as connectives or linking words and phrases, they clarify a piece of writing by smoothly carrying thoughts and ideas from one point to the next.

Some transitional devices add or emphasize information such as “and,” “also,” “furthermore,”

“moreover,” “besides” and “in fact.” Some support an argument by asserting truth. These include “surely,” “absolutely,” “positively,” “unquestionably,” “no doubt,” “certainly” and “granted that.” Some show cause and result in words like “because,” “as a result,” “consequently” and “since.” Some indicate the passage of time, including “before,” “afterward,” “until,” “during,” “eventually” and “meanwhile.” Other transitional devices indicate comparison, repetition, sequence, exception, proof, example and summarization. Besides these words and phrases, other transitional devices include key word repetition, parallel sentence structure and keeping the subject consistent throughout a paragraph.

Transitional devices create coherency and order in a piece of writing, and in order for writing to be effective, writers must be familiar with these devices. To determine the correct transitional device to use in a particular context, the writer must determine what relationship exists between the preceding idea and the idea that follows. The transitional device is the bridge between the two thoughts. Well-used transitional devices are like signposts guiding the reader clearly along the line of argument.