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Time transitions

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The aim in writing paragraphs is to stick to one topic, but it’s not enough just to lump together individual sentences within a paragraph.

Creating a cohesive message for the reader is achieved using transitional words and expressions.

Some transitions serve to convey time: after, before, concurrently, first, immediately, in the meantime, meanwhile, later, soon, subsequently, then.

Transitions tend to appear at the start of a sentence and are soon followed by a comma, to separate them from what follows.

  • After the main course, Jane served the dessert.
  • Before we left, we thanked our host.
  • First, let me show you this.
  • In the meantime, let’s dance!
  • Soon, the sun went down.
  • Then, we started walking.

If you reverse the two parts of the sentence, you don’t need a comma, but the meaning might be changed. There may be a change of emphasis. It might not make sense!

  • Jane served the dessert after the main course.
  • We thanked our host before we left.
  • Let me show you this first.
  • Let’s dance in the meantime!
  • The sun went down soon.
  • We started walking then.

Transitions are mostly small words, or groups of words, but they can make a big difference to the effectiveness of your writing.