Writing that seems to bounce around from point to point can be difficult to follow. Creating flow between ideas is called creating coherence. Having good coherence can make a big difference in how sophisticated your writing sounds.
Find the point
The first step to creating smooth writing is to make sure all the ideas in the paper connect to the main point, the thesis statement. In a traditional essay, the topic sentences for each paragraph should clearly reflect that main idea. For instance, if the thesis statement is about cheap ways to cook, one of the topic sentences might read Spices are a cheap way to add flavor to less expensive cuts of beef. This topic sentence connects to my thesis. On the other hand, Using pan spray instead of oil makes for a healthier dish talks about cooking but not expense. Coherence involves connecting ideas to the point.
The ideas in the paper must also connect to each other. One of the most common methods to do that is through the use of transitional words and phrases. These are words like in conclusion, next, and similarly.
As long as you choose a word that has appropriate meaning for the context, transitions help make ideas flow more smoothly. The wrong word, however, can make the reader abruptly stop because the word is out of place. For example, The house is old. Similarly, the barn looks as if it were built decades ago is a good use of transition. The house is old. Consequently, the barn looks as if it were build decades ago does not work, though. “Consequently” means “as a result of,” a meaning that doesn’t fit this context.
If you have trouble deciding which transitions are appropriate for various situations, make yourself a list with categories. One might read “conclusions,” for which you might list “in conclusion,” “in summary,” “altogether,” and so on.
Key word repetition
Using those familiar transitions may not be the most effective way to achieve coherence and create flow. Using key words from one sentence or section to another can work better. For instance, if I were discussing three different kinds of coffee drinks, when moving from the information about latte (how it is made of espresso, milk and foam) to the information about a cappuccino, I might say something like this: Similarly, a cappuccino is made of espresso, milk and foam, but it differs from a latte in the proportions. This kind of statement shows the connection between the two ideas more clearly than something like “the second kind of drink is a cappuccino.”
Beware of placement
Many people want to put the transition at the end of a paragraph. But that isn’t where it should be. Think of a paragraph as a mini essay. It has a topic sentence, support sentences, and a concluding sentence. Putting the transition at the end of a paragraph is like introducing a new idea in the concluding paragraph of an essay, which is a major no-no. Put the transition at the start of the paragraph, instead.
Variety is the key
Using different kinds of devices throughout a piece of writing not only makes it flow but also helps the paper sound more sophisticated. That tone can not only help you get a better grade on papers you submit for school, but it also gives your writing, no matter what it is for, more credibility. Certainly in any kind of argument, including business proposals, credibility is an important factor. As you revise, spend some time looking at your transitions and where they are placed. A little effort toward coherence will make your writing flow.