Posted by: episystechpubs | February 8, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Make Your Paragraphs Flow

As a writing instructor, one of the fundamental writing problems I dealt with was choppy sentences, which are sentences that don’t create a logical flow. In the writer’s mind, these sentences may be linked, but the writer has failed to connect the dots to help the reader follow along.

Here’s an example of a paragraph with choppy, seemingly unrelated sentences:

Studies show that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones. Adolescents these days use electronic devices like phones, tablets, or laptops. The educational system must respond to new technologies. Perhaps it is time to bring back the pencil.

The first sentence is about a study that claims people remember more when they hand write their notes. The second sentence discusses adolescents’ use of electronic devices. The third sentence moves on to the educational system. And the last sentence loops back around to the idea of handwriting by mentioning the pencil.

If we stretch, we can make a connection between these sentences (believe me, it’s not always easy!), but the reader should not have to strain to figure out the intended message. It’s the writer’s job to move us seamlessly from the introduction of an idea to its logical conclusion. How do writers do that? They use transitional words and phrases to link their sentences, and they include all necessary information. To create a smoother flow of ideas, I’ve added transitions and included information (that was previously only implied) to the two middle sentences of the previous choppy paragraph.

Studies show that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones. However, adolescents these days don’t do much handwriting; instead, they do most of their writing on electronic devices like phones, tablets, or laptops. While it is true that the educational system must respond to new technologies, sometimes old tools are better. Perhaps it is time to bring back the pencil.

The trick is to look at your own writing from the reader’s perspective. Once you do that, you can fill in the blanks by using transitions to create a flow of ideas.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432


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