Article of the Week

Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!


Transitions create relationships between parts of a paper. Writers use transitions to compare and contrast examples, to place actions in chronological order, or to illustrate cause and effect.

  1. Compare and Contrast
  2. Ordering Actions
  3. Beginning Transitions
  4. Middle Transitions
  5. Finishing Transitions
  6. Concluding Transitions
  7. Cause and Effect
  8. Section Transitions


Compare and Contrast

Some words and phrases can help you transition from one idea to the next by showing how the two are connected.

Example: The Soviet war in Afghanistan, like the American war in Vietnam, weakened the military might and prestige of a world superpower.

This transition compares two wars that produced similar results. The phrase “like the American war in Vietnam” connects earlier information about the Vietnam War with information that we’re about to read about the Soviet Union.


You can also use transitions to identify differences.

Example: Unlike solar power, wind power presents a large environmental risk: windmills cause the deaths of millions of birds each year.

Here, the word “unlike” sets up the transition.


Ordering Actions

Informative essays may include a series of steps, or describe the order in which action occurred. You can use transition words to indicate what happens first or last.

Beginning Transitions

You can use words like “first” or “to begin” to indicate to the reader that this is your first chronological idea, and that later information should logically follow this idea. 

Middle Transitions

Words like “then”, “next”, “after”, and “subsequently” indicate to the reader that there is a logical progression of your ideas or argument, and that the specific idea you’re about to talk about comes next.

Finishing Transitions

Words like “finally” or “lastly” mentally prepare the reader for your strongest point and help reintegrate all of the information you’ve given as you finish discussing a topic.

Concluding Transitions

You can use phrases like “in conclusion” or “in summation” to transition into your conclusion. It confirms that you are finished with your argument, and that you are bringing everything back to your main point.

Cause and Effect

You can use transition words and phrases to connect ideas and actions to their results.

Example: Researchers found that 82% of teen males who played video games also exhibited violent tendencies. Therefore, they recommended that the U.S. government immediately ban video games.

The transition word “therefore” connects the researchers’ recommendation to their findings.


Section Transitions

The above examples help connect different sentences and paragraphs together. More complex papers require transitions between entire sections of a paper. These transitions may last a paragraph or more.

Example: In the previous chapter, I explored the existing literature in the field. While researchers have tested the effects of the treatment on adolescents in Georgia, these findings cannot be generalized due to the small sample size. My methodology corrects for this error by selecting participants from hospitals in three metropolitan areas.

This example might go between the literature review and methods sections of a longer research paper or dissertation.