Connecting Ideas in Writing

An academic essay comprises -

  • A thesis statement - This states your argument.

  • Topic sentences - These introduce each new idea to prove your argument. Writers build paragraphs around topic sentences.

  • Supporting information - Details, examples, facts, and data that support each topic sentence.

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Good organization and logical flow make an effective academic essay. Transitions, signals, and other language devices allow writers to link thoughts and achieve coherence. Coherence means ideas are well organized, fact driven and, as a whole, they prove the thesis statement. This is essential in academic essay writing.

Connecting sentences

A common way to link sentences is with the basic words and, but, so and because. Academic language offers alternative words and phrases to ensure your sentences flow well.

And - in addition, additionally, moreover, apart from this, as well (as), further, furthermore

But - alternatively, conversely, despite, although, even though, however, on the other hand, in contrast, on the contrary, nevertheless, nonetheless

So - accordingly, as a result/consequence, consequently, for this reason, hence, therefore, thus

Because - due to, a/the consequence of, the result of, for, since, the effect of

Most of these words join two independent clauses, and they follow similar punctuation and grammar rules. For example:

  • Technology has enhanced communication. In addition, health & lifestyle benefits are unprecedented.

  • Technology has a dramatic impact on lifestyle choices; nevertheless, humanity continues to abuse the power that technology bestows.

  • Economic turmoil threatens business’ survival. Most companies, therefore, invest in technology that promotes efficiency and reduces costs.

Observe the different ways to use linking words to combine independent clauses. Notice their punctuation marks and their varying positions within a sentence. Check a usage guide if you are not sure of the correct rules.

Connecting ideas

A strong essay links ideas so a reader can follow the progression of an argument without losing focus or becoming confused. Sometimes information needs to be repeated to highlight the angle being developed. Other times, concepts and accusations must be explained or clarified by providing examples.

To repeat/simplify - in other words, simply put, to put it differently / another way

To show similarities – similarly, in a similar manner, correspondingly, in the same way, equally, for the same reason

To give examples - for example, for instance, a further instance of this is..., an example of this is…, such as

To concede/contrast - admittedly, although, even though, however

To show emphasis - interestingly, indeed, it should be noted (that), (un)fortunately, more important(ly), most importantly, unquestionably

Here is an example of how these words improve cohesion and sentence flow:

Read more Research paper tips articles:

The complexities and moral dilemmas that nuclear technology poses are beyond the scope of simple minds. In other words, mankind is not ready to adopt nuclear technology into mainstream life. In the same way, advances in cloning and stem cell treatment raise ethical questions that humans struggle with. For example, could cloning be used to advance warfare? Admittedly, progression to this level is years away, but it is a valid concern.

Again, take note of sentence construction and punctuation in the paragraph above.

Connecting paragraphs

We have linked sentences and connected ideas. The final step is to provide stepping-stones between paragraphs. This seals the overall essay unity.

A useful mechanism is to remind readers of main points from previous paragraphs so that your next topic sentence makes a stronger impression. Use signal/pointing words at the beginning of paragraphs, as well as time signals.

Signal words - besides, in addition to, having..., not only...but also..., although, even though, while, despite

Time signals – first, second (etc.), meanwhile, subsequently, finally, to conclude

In an essay about the effects of technology on humanity, the topic of one paragraph could be:

  • Technology has prolonged life through advances in healthcare.

To proceed to the next paragraph, you could write:

  • In addition to unparalleled progress in medical treatment, technology enables people to acquire unlimited knowledge.

Alternatives are:

  • While there have been many positive outcomes, technology has also caused much pain and suffering.

  • Having looked at several advantages of technology, the negative implications now need to be considered. First,...


The purpose of connecting sentences, ideas, and paragraphs is to guide the reader along the path you develop. That is a solid way to prove an argument. A writer does not leave it to the reader to make assumptions or to fill in the blanks. Linking words and phrases, and other transition signals are a vital element of academic work. Learn to use them accurately to write better essay.

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