10 Steps to the Perfect Admissions Essay: Step 7:

by on June 27th, 2010

This article is part of Veritas Prep’s 10 Steps to the Perfect Admissions Essay, adapted from the Veritas Prep Guide to Great Writing, one of the many free MBA admissions resources available at veritasprep.com. Check back soon for our next tip!

Step 7: Become a Transition Magician

When you have to express a number of ideas or cite a series of reasons — and do it all within a strict word limit — choppy writing is a common result. Fortunately, there is an easy and graceful solution while editing your MBA admissions essays: link your paragraphs together with transition words.

In addition to elevating the art of your writing, the use of a transition word requires you to bridge two thoughts and lead into a new idea while acknowledging the previous concept. Transition words will make your essays read more smoothly, provide logical structure, and allow your readers to easily navigate from the first point to the last.

While the concept of applying transition words is a simple one, there is still an art to selecting the right word or phrase. Be sure to examine the purpose of the sentence or paragraph and determine what type of connection you are striving to make. Consider the following:

Use These Words and Phrases

Additions – Good for tacking on additional reasons or supporting ideas: Also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover and similarly.

Consequence – Best used to arrive at conclusions: Accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, subsequently, therefore and wherefore.

Illustration – Effective for citing specific examples of a more general concept: For example, for instance, illustrated with, as an example, in this case and exemplified by.

Emphasis – Use to call attention to a prominent theme or example: Chiefly, especially, namely, particularly, including, singularly and specifically.

Similarity – Ideal for bridging similar concepts or ideas: Correspondingly, identically, likewise, moreover, comparatively and coupled with.

Exception – Use sparingly, only when distancing a weakness that you are mitigating out of necessity: Aside from, barring, besides, excluding, other than, outside of and save for.

Don’t Use These Words and Phrases

Generalizing – Never use a generalizing transition word or phrase, as it dilutes the specificity of your essay: As a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily and usually.

Restatement – Avoid using a restatement transition word or phrase for conclusions; instead utilize something from the consequence group above: In essence, in other words, that is to say, in short, in brief and to put it differently.

Diversion – Never divert your focus in an essay: By the way, incidentally.

We’ll leave you with this one final thought: Never use dead sentences in your writing! A “dead” sentence is something that is pure filler and that stands in for a meaningful and accurate transitional word or phrase. Dead sentences begin with phrases such as: it is often said, it can be determined and we can surmise. If you find yourself starting to write such a sentence, close your laptop, get up, stretch your legs, and go get some fresh air!

Read other articles in this series:

Ask a Question or Leave a Reply

The author Scott Shrum gets email notifications for all questions or replies to this post.

Some HTML allowed. Keep your comments above the belt or risk having them deleted. Signup for a Gravatar to have your pictures show up by your comment.