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Writing strong paragraphs: Writing a logical paragraph

Using transition words to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs

Writing logical paragraphs

Organising the sentences in your paragraph according to a logical order helps the reader to follow the development of your ideas

Some common kinds of logical order are:

  • Chronological order
  • Comparison/contrast
  • Logical division of ideas
  • Order of importance
  • Cause and effect

Each kind of order uses particular words and phrases (transition words) to show the relationships between ideas. For example in a paragraph using chronological order, you would use expressions of time: first, next, after that, finally, before the last war, after 2010, since then,

In a paragraph describing differences (contrast), you would use expressions like these: the most significant difference, larger than, unlike, on the other hand, in contrast, differ from

In a paragraph showing similarities (comparison), you would use expressions such as: similarity, similarly, as expensive as, just as, just like, compare with, in comparison

Logical division of ideas simply means that ideas are grouped together, and each group is discussed accordingly. They may be introduced in order of importance, or in some other order that makes sense to the reader. You would use transition words such as firstly, secondly, thirdly to introduce each group.

A cause and effect paragraph uses transition words that express reasons and results, such as: the first cause, the next reason, because of ... the first effect, as a result, therefore

Strong writers frequently combine the features of different types of paragraphs in order to successfully express their ideas and to suit the purpose of their writing. Using clear paragraph structure is essential, as it helps the reader to follow your meaning.

Adapted from: Oshima, A. & Hogue, A. (1999). Writing Academic English (3rd ed.). NY:Pearson Education