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The most important tip for improving your writing quickly is to follow one rule:

  1. Start every sentence in a paragraph with a different word. How? Here is my step-by-step guide:
  • Use the transition list as you write: Think about how the sentences in your paragraph are related to one another. If you are comparing and contrasting two ideas, then use the “Showing Contrast” transition words (see list below). Are you writing about steps in a process? Then use the “Adding to an Idea” transition words below. When writing about something that happened, use the “Sequence/Time” transitions I’ve provided.
  • Using the transition list while you are revising: Sometimes, it is easier not to worry about these words until your final draft stage, especially if you are a beginning writer. How do you do this? Use the following tips:
  1. Go through your first draft and circle the first word in every sentence.
  2. If you use the same word to start a sentence twice in a paragraph, then you need to choose another transition word and re-word the sentence.

Looking for free samples? See this site:

Choosing the Right Word

How can you choose the right word for each sentence? What makes using transitions improve your writing is that it forces you to explain the connections between your ideas. Ask yourself:

  1. What does the sentence before this one say?
  2. How does this sentence relate to that one?
  3. Scan the list for a transition that seems to fit best. You can also use these questions for help:

Does this sentence add information? Use: moreover, furthermore, additionally, not only…but also, or another addition transition.

Does the sentence contrast or contradict? Use: however, on the other hand, in contrast, yet, conversely, or another contrasting transition.

Are you writing something that happens in order? Use: next, then, in fact, similarly, or a time word like first, second, third, and finally.

Does this sentence add evidence? Use: for example, consequently, for this reason, or another adding transition.

Does the sentence emphasize an idea? Use: obviously, especially, as a rule, particularly, or another emphasizing transition.

Does the sentence start your conclusion: Use: finally, in conclusion, in sum, obviously, or another concluding transition.