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Thursday, August 27, 2015

How can I improve the transitions between my ideas?

TRANSITIONS

What is a transition?
· Transitions indicate the connections and relationships between your ideas and sentences.

Why are transitions important?
· Transitional words and phrases help you write clearly and coherently. Moreover, such transitions help the reader follow the text, stay focused, and understand how your main ideas are related to one another.


Why are transitions dangerous?
· Improper transitions can confuse readers. For instance, the use of the transition "Here, …" (see line 52 on page 2) in the sample is not correct because it indicates direction, but that is not the author's intention. This choice confuses the reader. Better to use a transition that indicates consequence, such as "Therefore,” or “Thus,”.

Which transitions should I use?
· The following list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections:

1. Addition: also, again, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly
2. Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, subsequently, therefore, thus
3. Contrast and Comparison: conversely, instead, likewise, on one hand/on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast
4. Emphasis: above all, chiefly, especially, particularly, singularly
5. Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as
6. Illustration: for example, for instance, as an example, in this case
7. Sequence: at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind
8. Similarity: comparatively, correspondingly, likewise, moreover
9. Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally

Which transitions should I NOT use?
· Try to avoid “restatement” transitions in formal writing. Rather than writing phrases like “in other words,” “that is to say,” or “to put it differently,” try improving your writing so you can express yourself effectively in the first place.

Exception: you might want to use transitions like “in other words” in TOEFL writing, since you might get extra “points” for additional content (longer is better as long as quality is high). Since you are unlikely to have time to edit your TOEFL writing, restating your key ideas using phrases like “in other words” might help your reader / grader understand your main idea. By contrast, when submitting papers for publication (or to your professor), you have to time to proofread and edit. Therefore, take time to produce clear, concise writing when submitting papers for a grade and/or publication.


Exercise

· Find and circle the transitions in your paper.
· Ask yourself, "Do my transitions express the connections between my ideas?"
· Are my transitions misleading in any way?

Homework: Re-write your transitions so that they best express the connections between your ideas.

Make use of transitional words and phrases. They help you write clearly and coherently. Moreover, such transitions help the reader follow the text and stay focused.

Transitions enhance logical organization and understandability and improve the connections between thoughts. They indicate relations, whether within a sentence, paragraph, or paper.

This list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections:

  • Addition: also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly
  • Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, subsequently, therefore, thus, thereupon, wherefore
  • Contrast and Comparison: but, by the same token, conversely, however, in contrast, instead, likewise, nevertheless, on one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, still, yet
  • Direction: beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance, here, there, over there
  • Diversion: by the way, incidentally
  • Emphasis: above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially, particularly, singularly
  • Exception: aside from, barring, beside, except, excepting, excluding, exclusive of, other than, outside of, save
  • Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as
  • Generalizing: as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually
  • Illustration: for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, illustrated with, as an example, in this case
  • Restatement: in essence, in other words, namely, that is, that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently
  • Similarity: comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly, identically, likewise, similar, moreover, together with
  • Sequence: at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in the meantime, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind,
  • Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally






    - Updated by Vince on Fri 12 Aug 2016
    • I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002
    • Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world
    • In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools
    • To share my insights with a talented team, I rejoined Agos as Consulting Director in 2014
    • Now, I lead 10 professionals who deliver Japan’s best graduate admissions results
    • I also serve as Board President of The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC)
    • Given my ongoing professional and personal commitments, I accept very few clients
    • Usually, I refer prospects to one of my highly-experienced and successful colleagues
    • If interested, please complete this intake form
    • Meanwhile, please explore my YouTube channel, and be sure to subscribe for the latest updates
    • Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!

    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    How can I make my writing more concise?



    MY ESSAY IS TOO LONG. HOW DO I CUT WORDS?
    • Read your essay aloud at full volume (doing so forces you to go slow).
    • After each word or phrase, ask yourself, "If I cut this, will my meaning change?"
    • If the answer is "no", then cut it!


    More tips here, including this activity from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), which is a fantastic resource for writers.  


    Conciseness

    Summary: This resource will help you write clearly by eliminating unnecessary words and rearranging your phrases.
    Contributors: Ryan Weber, Nick Hurm
    Last Edited: 2010-04-17 05:34:19

    The goal of concise writing is to use the most effective words. Concise writing does not always have the fewest words, but it always uses the strongest ones. Writers often fill sentences with weak or unnecessary words that can be deleted or replaced. Words and phrases should be deliberately chosen for the work they are doing. Like bad employees, words that don't accomplish enough should be fired. When only the most effective words remain, writing will be far more concise and readable.

    This resource contains general conciseness tips followed by very specific strategies for pruning sentences.

    1. Replace several vague words with more powerful and specific words.

    Often, writers use several small and ambiguous words to express a concept, wasting energy expressing ideas better relayed through fewer specific words. As a general rule, more specific words lead to more concise writing. Because of the variety of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, most things have a closely corresponding description. Brainstorming or searching a thesaurus can lead to the word best suited for a specific instance. Notice that the examples below actually convey more as they drop in word count.



    Wordy: The politician talked about several of the merits of after-school programs in his speech (14 words)
    Concise: The politician touted after-school programs in his speech. (8 words)




    Wordy: Suzie believed but could not confirm that Billy had feelings of affection for her. (14 words)
    Concise: Suzie assumed that Billy adored her. (6 words)




    Wordy: Our website has made available many of the things you can use for making a decision on the best dentist. (20 words)
    Concise: Our website presents criteria for determining the best dentist. (9 words)




    Wordy: Working as a pupil under a someone who develops photos was an experience that really helped me learn a lot. (20 words)
    Concise: Working as a photo technician's apprentice was an educational experience. (10 words)


    2. Interrogate every word in a sentence

    Check every word to make sure that it is providing something important and unique to a sentence. If words are dead weight, they can be deleted or replaced. Other sections in this handout cover this concept more specifically, but there are some general examples below containing sentences with words that could be cut.


    Wordy: The teacher demonstrated some of the various ways and methods for cutting words from my essay that I had written for class. (22 words)
    Concise: The teacher demonstrated methods for cutting words from my essay. (10 words)


    Wordy: Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood formed a new band of musicians together in 1969, giving it the ironic name of Blind Faith because early speculation that was spreading everywhere about the band suggested that the new musical group would be good enough to rival the earlier bands that both men had been in, Cream and Traffic, which people had really liked and had been very popular. (66 words)
    Concise: Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood formed a new band in 1969, ironically naming it Blind Faith because speculation suggested that the group would rival the musicians’ previous popular bands, Cream and Traffic. (32 words)


    Wordy: Many have made the wise observation that when a stone is in motion rolling down a hill or incline that that moving stone is not as likely to be covered all over with the kind of thick green moss that grows on stationary unmoving things and becomes a nuisance and suggests that those things haven’t moved in a long time and probably won’t move any time soon. (67 words)
    Concise: A rolling stone gathers no moss. (6 words)

     

    3. Combine Sentences.

    Some information does not require a full sentence, and can easily be inserted into another sentence without losing any of its value. To get more strategies for sentence combining, see the handout on Sentence Variety.


    Wordy: Ludwig's castles are an astounding marriage of beauty and madness. By his death, he had commissioned three castles. (18 words)
    Concise: Ludwig's three castles are an astounding marriage of beauty and madness. (11 words)


    Wordy: The supposed crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico aroused interest in extraterrestrial life. This crash is rumored to have occurred in 1947. (24 words)
    Concise: The supposed 1947 crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico aroused interest in extraterrestrial life. (16 words)


    (found at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/01/; accessed 11/2010)




      - Updated by Vince on Fri 12 Aug 2016

      • I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002
      • Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world
      • In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools
      • To share my insights with a talented team, I rejoined Agos as Consulting Director in 2014
      • Now, I lead 10 professionals who deliver Japan’s best graduate admissions results
      • I also serve as Board President of The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC)
      • Given my ongoing professional and personal commitments, I accept very few clients
      • Usually, I refer prospects to one of my highly-experienced and successful colleagues
      • If interested, please complete this intake form
      • Meanwhile, please explore my YouTube channel, and be sure to subscribe for the latest updates
      • Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!