What’s the Difference Between They’re, There and Their?

Say the words aloud and they all sound the same, which can mean big trouble in writing. Even a master can make a mistake because we often write what we hear in our minds unconsciously. Below are a few tricks to help you remember the differences between this tricky trio. 

They’re: A Contraction of They and Are

Apostrophe to the rescue. Let that tiny mark of punctuation be your guide on this one. Just like can’t is a shortened version of can not and don’t is the condensed version of do not, the apostrophe in they’re has the important job of joining two words together: they and are. When writing, you should be able to replace your they’re with the words they and are without changing the meaning of the sentence.

They’re Examples:

  • Who are those two girls?
  • They are my sisters.
  • They’re my sisters.
  • They are actors
  • They’re actors. 

There: Noun, Adjective, Adverb and Pronoun

There has so many uses, keeping them straight can be a challenge. One simple way to remember most is to think about location. There is often used to answer the question: Where?

There Examples:

  • Please stand there.
  • We would like to go there.
 An exception to this is when you use there to introduce a phrase or noun.
  • There is a mouse in the kitchen.
  • Is there a pool at the hotel? 

Their: The Plural Possessive Pronoun

Their has the simple job of showing a group’s ownership and because of this, it is almost always followed by a noun.

Their Examples:

  • Where are their shoes?
  • Their dog is beautiful.
  • The monkeys love their tree.

 Now that you know the differences between they’re, there and their, all it takes is a little practice to remember them forever.

Quick Tip: When editing a paper, use the find function of your word processing software to look up their, they’re and there individually. This allows you to check if you used the correct word with ease.  

Need help? BibMe Plus’s bibliography tools and grammar check looks for edits that could strengthen your paper and helps you automatically generate citations in MLA format (it also does APA citations).

What’s Prewriting?

It would be awesome if you could produce the perfect final draft of your assignment, the very first time you sat down at your laptop. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” If you’re aiming for that A, you’ll need to go through several important processes before you reach the final editing stage — the first of these being prewriting. Otherwise, it’s like trying to ice a cake before you bake it. Impossible, right?

 Why Do I Need To Prewrite?

 As we all have our own individual learning styles, prewriting can mean different things to different people. But whatever your method, the endgame should be the same. At the end of the prewriting process you should be clear about what you are trying to communicate, how you are trying to communicate it, and who you are trying to communicate it to. Forget using a grammar checker at this point — checks, tweaks and edits can come later. At the prewriting stage, it’s all about coming up with as many ideas as possible to see what will work best — and ultimately get you the best possible grade!

 What Are The Different Prewriting Techniques?

 Popular ways to get the prewriting process going are outlining (where you list your ideas), diagramming, storyboarding, and clustering (also known as mind mapping). Clustering involves taking your central idea, circling it in the middle of the page, then writing down all the things you associate with your idea around it. For example, if your broad topic is ‘climate change,’ then the phrases you write around it could include ‘CO2 emissions’, ‘plastic pollution in our oceans’, ‘deforestation of the rainforest’ and ‘intensive farming methods’. Another great idea is to freewrite, where you hone your idea and gain focus by writing freely about any thoughts you might have around the general topic.

 What If I Don’t Have Any Ideas?

 Prewriting is intended to help with exactly this problem. None of your fellow students or tutors will see what you come up with during the prewriting process, so you are free to let your imagination run wild. It’s not a problem if 99% of what you come up with in your brainstorming session ends up in the trash can — it’s the 1% that you can work with that you need to focus on. With any of the techniques above, it’s useful to set a timer and keep going until the time is up. That way, you can make sure you push past the obvious ideas to find something more original.

 What Comes After Prewriting?

 Finding your subject, planning how you are going to communicate it, and taking into account who you are going to communicate it to is only the first part of the paper-writing process. Next, you’ll move on to your first draft, which you will then need to keep editing until you’re happy with your work. Only at that point are you ready to do a final edit in preparation for handing in your assignment. Keeping a note of all your sources as you work will help when it comes to creating APA citations or citations in another format.

 Checking that all the sources you have used to back up your argument have been correctly cited is an important factor in making sure your paper is ready to submit. Luckily, whether you are using the APA, Chicago/Turabian or MLA format, the BibMe citation tool can make this a stress-free part of the writing process.



What Exactly is Plagiarism?

Perhaps your school librarian or teacher assigned a research project and warned you not to plagiarize. Or, maybe you’ve seen the word appear on a news report that accused a famous person of plagiarizing a song or book. Plagiarism is a word that has some pretty scary consequences, but don’t worry. We’re here to show you the ropes so you know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, so let’s get started:

What Exactly is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of taking information from a source and placing it in your own project without properly sharing where you found the information. If you add information from a book, website, newspaper, or another resource into your project, you can! You just need to provide credit to the original author.

Think of it this way, if your friend let you borrow a cool hat and someone stopped you to ask about it, you’d mention that it’s your friend’s hat, right? You’d maybe even share where they bought it (if you happened to know). You wouldn’t tell the person it’s yours and you bought it on your own. This is kind of similar to research projects.

The difference between the hat scenario and research projects though is that in research projects, you’re required to share that you borrowed information and also share where you borrowed it from. You share who the original author is, where you found it, and some other pieces of information. If you don’t show the reader that you’re including another individual’s words or images in your paper, and you’re trying to pass it off as your own, you’re plagiarizing! There are other ways to plagiarize too. Read the next section to learn more.

What counts as plagiarism?

Plagiarism includes all of the following:

    • Using someone else’s work in your assignment and passing it off as your own
    • Changing the words of a quote
    • Using a quote from a source and not putting quotation marks around it
    • Taking a line of text from a source and substituting many of the words for synonyms. For Changing the book title The Cat in the Hat to The Feline in the Cap is plagiarism! They’re essentially the same book title!
    • Including incorrect information about the original source, such as changing the name of the author or including an incorrect URL
    • Submitting a paper that was entirely written by someone else
    • Submitting your work from a previously taken class or assignment and using it again for a different class or project. This is called self plagiarism.

What can I do if I don’t want to plagiarize?

      Plagiarism is happily avoidable! One of the easiest things you can do to not plagiarize is to create citations for all the sources (i.e. books, journal articles, videos, etc.) of information you used to write your paper. That means creating a bibliography. You also need to cite quotes or paraphrases using in-text citations. For example,
MLA format
      uses parenthetical citations after a quote to indicate where it came from.

      If you need help creating citations, BibMe has tools that can help you create
APA citations
      , MLA citations, or citations in several other styles. If you need writing help, try our
grammar check
    on BibMe Plus.

Why Are There So Many Citation Styles?

BibMe.org offers students the option of using literally thousands of citation styles for their papers. You might be thinking to yourself, “Why do we need so many styles?,” or “Who could possibly want to use a citation style called ‘Yeast’?” Let’s take a look at some of these styles, and learn how each one plays a specific role in academic writing and research.

Different citation styles support different areas of study

Over time, different disciplines in academia have come to prefer certain citation styles over others. For instance, MLA format is widely used in the humanities, since the style is well-suited to citing literature and archival sources. Conversely, APA format is widely used in the social sciences, since the style performs well with quantitative studies and analysis.

Certain styles can have multiple citing systems

One reason that it appears that the number of citation styles is so vast is because of the possibility of different formatting systems within the same style. For example, Chicago style actually has two different sub-styles: author-date and footnote-bibliography. The footnote-bibliography system can be commonly found in humanities courses, whereas the author-date system has a more broad application.

Different papers appeal to different types of audiences

One reason that we can’t simply have one uniform citation style is that each academic paper can appeal to a vastly different audience than another. Since researchers working in different areas are writing for a specific audience, such as a science professor or fellow scientist, they want to make sure that their citations clarify information and sources that are most highly valued in their subject area. A writer in the social sciences would be more likely to cite a scholarly article than a writer in the humanities focusing on archival materials, so their citation system should match this.

There is an element of tradition in citation styles

One of the many reasons that there are so many citation styles is simply that many have been in publication for generations. The Chicago Manual of style, for instance, traces its roots back to 1906. That means that writers and researchers in these disciplines have come to rely on a specific citation style when creating their work, and could be reluctant to try a different one.

8 Intriguing New Words in 2017

Language is constantly evolving. Even though we have thousands of words in the English language, new words are added to the dictionary every year.

This year was no exception. In 2017, the dictionary swelled with new words that included both those which have become relevant through current discourse and those based on new technology.

To be added to a dictionary, a word needs to have been adopted by a significant portion of the English-speaking population, and it cannot be a word that comes in response to recent events but will flame out shortly. We looked at Merriam-Webster to see how strict the process really is. There, editors sift through books, magazines, newspapers and online media to see whether particular usages of words have gained enough popularity to become part of the dictionary. When a new word is discovered, it goes into a citation file at Merriam-Webster. If it racks up enough citation files, it can be officially added into the dictionary.

While this is a lengthy process, hundreds of new words made it into the dictionary this year. And below, we’ve gathered 10 of the most interesting words to come out of 2017.

1.   Froyo (noun)

This shorthand term for frozen yogurt was first coined as a rhymey abbreviation back in the 1970s. As frozen yogurt has become an increasingly popular alternative to ice cream—and a slew of froyo shops have opened up across the country—the word’s usage has expanded in recent years. It was officially added to Merriam-Webster in September. For those who felt uneasy about using the shortened term, rest assured that the dictionary now has OK’d its usage.

2.   Binge-watch (verb)

The word “binge-watch” has rapidly become a commonplace piece of slang to describe the phenomenon of sitting down to watch several episodes—or even a full season—of a television show in one sitting. Binge-watching has become increasingly popular with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, so it only seems fair that the word now has its own spot in the dictionary.

3.   Train wreck (noun)

The word train wreck dates back to the 1800s, used then only to refer to violent crashes involving trains. Today, the word has taken on more meaning and refers to any kind of disaster involving significant damage, regardless of whether a train was involved. This usage often is used by writers critiquing political policy, although its usage can extend beyond the realm of politics and be used to describe any person or thing deemed disastrous.

4.   Photobomb (verb)

While many of the new words originated years ago, photobomb—a term which refers to entering the frame of a picture as a prank—has only been in usage for about nine years. With the advent of smartphones, taking photos has become easier than ever before. So, it’s no surprise that people have developed new pranks involving photographs within the past few years—and now, the dictionary has caught up with the technological trends.

5.   Sriracha (noun)

Sometimes, foods become trendy, and sriracha has certainly become an ultra-trendy condiment within the past few years. Sriracha is a spicy hot pepper sauce often used in recipes and heaped upon portions of food. In the past few years, it’s become almost as ubiquitous as ketchup and mustard, appearing on menus at all different kinds of establishments. With sriracha being so popular, it deserves its place in the dictionary.

6.   Humblebrag (verb)

The word “humblebrag” dates back to just 2002 and is used to describe the act of making a seemingly modest or self-critical statement with the actual intent of referring to one’s achievements. One common example of this comes in job interviews. When asked the question “What’s your greatest weakness?” many participants will respond by saying they work too hard or are perfectionists—both considered good things in our society.

7.   Troll (verb)

We all know the word “troll” as noun, in which it refers to mythical creatures who inhabit caves. With the internet, the term has taken on a new meaning—to post insulting or inflammatory comments on the internet with the intent to antagonize others. With the popularity of internet chatrooms and comment threads on articles posted via the internet, trolling has become a more common phenomenon. Although the word “troll” itself was first adopted in the 15th century, this new usage demonstrates how the English language continues to evolve over time.

8.   Listicle (noun)

This article, made up of items presented as a list, could be referred to as a listicle. With the advent of the internet—and with the popularization of new media forms like Vox and Buzzfeed—more digestible forms of presenting information have become popular. Listicles break up information for readers in a way that takes advantage of webpage design, and now, they’re officially recognized in the dictionary.

Every year, the dictionary expands with more and more words, once slang, that become acceptable in more formal contexts. Many of the newest words come in response to technological advances (or to the popularization of certain foods). But others not listed above draw from a large range of fields. For instance, EpiPen and urgent care, two terms used in the medical world, both made their way into the dictionary this year, as did bunny and face mask, two new usages from the football field.  


Create citations like those below in MLA format, convert them into APA citations, or choose another citation style, like Chicago, with BibMe’s citation tools! If you are looking for more writing help, try BibMe Plus’s grammar check.

“How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary.

“How Does a Word Get Into the Dictionary?” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/how-does-a-word-get-into-the-dictionary.

“Infographic: How a Word Gets Into the Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/how-a-word-gets-in-the-dictionary-infographic.

“We Just Added More Than 1,000 New Words to the Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, Feb. 2017, www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary-feb-2017.

“Welcome to the New Words.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, Sept. 2017, www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary-sep-2017.  

5 Ways You’ve Been Doing Your Citations Wrong

Correctly citing the sources you used to write a paper, whether it is in MLA format or another style, is an important aspect of writing. It prevents plagiarism, gives proper credit to the appropriate people, and helps the reader of your work identify where they can find additional information on the topic. It is easy, however, to make mistakes when making citations, especially when your paper is due ASAP!

Let’s take a look at some of the most common errors made when making citations, and at some tips on how you can avoid making them in your next paper.

1. Incorrect Paraphrasing

Incorrect paraphrasing is an all too common way that students fall into the trap of committing accidental plagiarism. This usually occurs when the writer simply replaces only one or two words of the phrase they are paraphrasing, and puts it into their paper as if it was their own original idea. To prevent this from happening in your paper, you must be sure to write the idea in a new way. Two easy ways to ensure you do this effectively is to 1. Change the sentence structure of the phrase, and 2. Use synonyms for the phrase’s keywords. Then, follow the paraphrased text with a parenthetical citation.

2. Incorrectly Placed Periods

For in-text or parenthetical citations in virtually every citation style, the period follows the parenthesis. For example: (Brown, 1995). Be sure that you don’t accidentally include the period or other punctuation mark within the parenthesis.

3. Inconsistency in Citation Style Used

It is all too easy to slip into using various citation styles within one paper, especially if you are using one for the first time. Be sure to double check your citations at the end of your paper to ensure that they all conform to the same style and format. This is especially important if your professor does not specify which citation style you should use. To make your references clear to the reader, consistency is key.

4. Leaving Citations Out of the Reference List/Works Cited Page

Every in-text citation—like parenthetical APA citations or footnotes in Chicago style—in your paper must correspond to an entry in a reference list or works cited page. A common mistake is to overlook a parenthetical citation and therefore omit it from the reference list. One easy way to prevent this from happening is to make your reference list as you write your paper, instead of waiting until the end of the paper writing process. This will ensure that no citation gets missed.

5. Adding the Same Reference After Each Sentence

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over-citing! If all information in one paragraph refers to the same source, you only need to provide a single citation at the end of the entire paragraph, not after each individual sentence. Just be sure to include the relevant author, date, or page number information, depending on which citation style you are using.

You can use BibMe Plus’s bibliography tools and grammar check to not only help create accurate citations for your paper, but also to see if there are edits that could make your paper stronger. It makes correctly citing your sources and turning in a great paper a much simpler, quicker and easier task all round.

Why Do I Need to Proofread?

Many of us write our papers and think we’re good to go. We’ve researched our topic, cited our sources, and even written a great thesis statement. BUT WAIT. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that spell check has caught all of your grammar and spelling mistakes. Doing that last read through and grammar check yourself could make all the difference. Read on for some real-life proofreading fails, and why proofreading is important.

Proofreading Fails

“A friend once wrote a letter to an ASL professor and accidentally wrote ‘Deaf Professor’, instead of ‘Dear Professor’.”
­– Iana, NYC
“Rachel Ray Finds Inspiration in Cooking Her Family and Her Dog.”
– Headline of October 2016 issue of Tails magazine
I have a friend whose autocorrect turned “I will show you” into “I will shank you.” And she sent it before catching that.
– Amanda, Texas
“With high hope for the Euture, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.”
– Misspelling of the word “future” on the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Why You Need to Proofread

  • Proofreading makes sure that you haven’t left out any important information from your paper. You might be missing an important point you were planning to include!
  • It checks for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. One great way to ensure you are proofreading effectively is to read your paper out loud. Chances are if it sounds weird, then something should be fixed.
  • It helps make sure you are presenting your argument clearly to the reader. It can prompt you to move things around and reorganize your thoughts if needed.
  • Proofreading shows your professor or teacher that you take pride in your writing and are dedicated to writing a quality paper. They can tell if you didn’t put in enough effort very quickly if they notice tons of typos!
  • It will help you receive a better grade on your paper.

If your paper includes a bibliography, don’t forget to make sure you mentioned all the sources you used. If you haven’t created a bibliography yet, BibMe can help you easily create in-text citations in MLA format, APA citations, references in Chicago style, and more!

CMoS 17 is Here! See What’s Changed

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) has been one of the most popular writing resources since its first publication in 1906. Earlier this fall, the University of Chicago Press presented their 17th edition of the official manual. Here at BibMe, we took a look and examined what has changed in CMOS 17. See below for our overview of what we think you need to know about the updated citation formatting rules.

CMoS 17: Notes-Bibliography Style

How to format titles for websites.

If the website you are trying to cite has a print counterpart, such as the website for a newspaper, the title should be in italics. If it does not, it should not be in italics.

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Gizmodo

The use of “ibid.”

Instead of using “ibid” for repeated citations, CMoS 17 now prefers that a shortened version of the footnote is used.

  1. Henry, The Ambassadors, 401–2.
  2. Henry, 433.
  3. Gailbraith, The Silkworm, 37–38.
  4. Gailbraith, 201–2.

CMoS 17: Author-Date Style

Repeating the year in certain author-date citations.

It is now acceptable to repeat the year in citations where the month and day are listed.

Lin, Meng-Fen Grace, Ellen S. Hoffman, and Claire Borengasser. 2013. “Is Social Media Too Social for Class? A Case Study of Twitter Use.” New York Times, February 15, 2013. Accessed March 2, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/science/social-media.

For more information on CMoS 17, please visit the official Chicago Manual of Style website.

Need general citing your sources in Chicago or Turabian style? BibMe here, at your service! Use our citation services to easily create citations for websites, pictures books, online videos, and much more! In case you don’t need Chicago style, it should be mentioned that BibMe also supports citations in MLA format, APA citation format, and thousands of other citations styles.

If you’re nearing the end of your writing process, also check out BibMe Plus’s grammar\ check! It can help you catch unintentional writing mistakes and you can upload a paper for free!

Proofreading Checklist: The Best Way to Finish Up Your Paper

After finishing an essay, our first urge is to triumphantly close out of the document in celebration of a job well done—but before calling it a day, you need to proofread.

Everyone makes mistakes, regardless of how strong they are at writing, and these mistakes can drag down the quality of a work. Make sure to go through your piece with a finely toothed comb, looking for errors that wouldn’t come up on a simple spell check.

What specifically should you be looking for as you proofread your work? We’re here to help, with a handy proofreading checklist complete with all the questions you ought to ask yourself as you read through the essay.

For an easy grammar check online, check out BibMe Plus. Upload your paper to automatically scan for grammatical errors for free. Best of all, it’s there when you need it since it’s available 24/7.


  • Did I employ consistent verb tense throughout the paper? (past, present, future)
  • Did my pronouns (e.g. I, We, He, Her, They, Anyone, etc.) agree with their antecedents? Are my pronouns vague?
    • Examples:
    • No → The puppies were so active that itself spent the whole day running around the park.
    • No → The puppies were so active that she spent the whole day running around the park.
    • Yes → The puppies were so active that they spent the whole day running around the park.
  • Did I include unnecessary commas?
  • Did I add commas after introductory elements/compound sentences?


  • Did I run a basic spell check?
  • Did I do a basic read through on my own? We often miss small errors while we’re writing.
  • Did I make sure to hyphenate any words requiring a hyphen?

Sentence Structure

  • Did I write in active voice? Did I mostly use active verbs and rarely employ “to be verbs”?
  • Did I vary my sentence structure enough? By writing sentences of various lengths and structures, it keeps your writing more interesting.
  • Did I keep my writing concise? Did I steer clear of using unnecessary words?
    • Example:
    • No → The really cool trickster figure in Hawaiian mythology is pretty much Maui. After some research, I found that according to legend, he like created the Hawaiian islands using a totally weird magic fish hook.
    • Yes → The trickster figure in Hawaiian mythology is Maui. According to legend, he created the Hawaiian islands using a magic fish hook.

Word Choice

  • Did I avoid using jargon-y language that might be confusing to readers?
  • Did I use the precise word each time? Did I make sure I understand the definitions of all words used?
  • Did I consider the connotations of the words I used, in addition to the dictionary definitions?
  • Did I avoid using slang and other informal terms (eg. stuff)?


  1. Did I make sure my sentences flow into each other smoothly?
  2. Did I connect my paragraphs to one another? Did I use transition words like although, however and therefore?


  1. Did I keep my font and font size consistent throughout the paper? Did I use an easy-to-read font like Arial or Times New Roman?
  2. Did I double-space my paper? Did I keep the spacing consistent throughout?
  3. Did I remember to indent before all new paragraphs?
  4. Did I properly cite all sources used within my paper? Did I use MLA format or whatever proper citation style my teacher asked for? Did I keep citations consistent throughout my paper?
  5. Did I include necessary footers and headers?
  6.  Did I add page numbers, if requested?

General Tips

Remember, we all make mistakes sometimes, so no worries if your essay requires further revision upon proofreading. If you don’t feel confident in your own ability to evaluate your work, consider asking a friend to look at your essay, keeping these specific checklist items in mind.

To assess the flow of your piece, try reading the whole thing aloud. If you find yourself stumbling over words as you read your own work—or find the words confusing—revisions are in order.
Did your teacher ask for APA citations, or citations in another style?  Visit BibMe to generate citations easily!

Four Tips on Using Transitions for a Better Essay

Odds are, you’re already familiar with a typical essay structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. These are essential parts of an essay, but did you know that well-crafted transitions can make these sections flow well, and make your arguments even stronger?

When writing an academic essay, it is important to remember that your goal is to provide clear and concise information that supports your argument (thesis). With that in mind, you can easily use transitions throughout your essay to help you guide your reader through the logic of your argument.

Often, students run into trouble when they write transitions that merely introduce a new topic, rather than with an intention to lead a reader through their argument. For example, say you are writing about why cheddar cheese is the best to use in a grilled cheese sandwich and you want to transition from a paragraph discussing the flavor of cheddar cheese to a new paragraph discussing its gooey texture when it melts.

A poor transition would read:
Cheddar cheese is also gooey when it melts.
A good transition would read:
While cheddar cheese’s sharp flavor makes for delicious grilled-cheese sandwiches, it is also the best cheese choice because of its gooey texture.
While both sentences clearly state that cheddar cheese has a gooey texture, the first sentence simply announces this statement without showing how it connected to the previous paragraph, and without showing how it relates to her overall argument.

While it is important to make sure you write strong transitions, that doesn’t mean that writing them should be a source of stress in your writing process. In fact, by spending the time to write strong transitions, you will find it easier to write strong body paragraphs in your essay.

Here are Four Tips for writing better transitions in your essay, and overall better essays.

Tip #1: Understand what transitions are

Transitions are not merely words meant to signal a change in a thesis point or body paragraph—they are words and phrases meant to articulate the logical relationship between the information that came before the transition, and the information that will come after it. Whether you are writing the first sentence of a new paragraph, a new section, or tying an outside quote to your own writing, when you choose a transition word, try to think of what connects your ideas together and how you want to portray that relationship to your reader.

You can think of the logical relationships between points, and their corresponding transition phrases, as falling into these categories

Example: for example, for instance

Emphasis: in fact, of course, indeed

Sequence/Order: first, second, third, … next, then, finally

Time:   now, then, after, afterward, immediately, before, currently, during, earlier, later, meanwhile, recently, subsequently,

Similarity: also, similarly, likewise

Contrast: still, nevertheless, while, despite, however, but, in spite of, nonetheless, in contrast, on the contrary, yet

Additional Support or Evidence: furthermore, moreover, additionally, again, also, and, as well,

Cause and Effect: so, therefore, accordingly, thus, consequently, therefore

Tip #2 Think beyond just the transitional phrase

While it is important to know which words serve as transitions in a sentence, it is equally important to avoid just relying on the transition word itself to do the work for you. Because, chances are, just using a transitional word is not enough to properly link your ideas together with logical coherence.

In order to avoid this habit, try writing the new information you want to convey first without using a transition word. This could be a thesis statement for your new paragraph, or merely an idea that you want to convey. Once you have that on the page, play around with transitional words to link this sentence to what you discussed before it.

Let’s return to the student writing about grilled cheese sandwiches. Say she wants to transition from discussing cheddar cheese’s gooey texture, to how cheddar cheese is available at most grocery stores.

To link these two ideas, she first writes the idea she wants to guide her reader towards…
Cheddar cheese is one of the most accessible cheeses—most grocery stores stock at least one kind of cheddar cheese.
Then, she adds a link from that sentence to her previous point. Because she wants to indicate additional support, she chooses to say
Furthermore, cheddar cheese is the best cheese for making grilled cheese as it is one of the most accessible—most grocery stores stock at least one kind of cheddar cheese.

By using this process, you will ensure that you are focusing on the ideas you want to express, and avoid relying on the transition word itself to do the heavy-lifting in your essay.

Tip #3: Go Back Through Your Introduction and Thesis

Sometimes, it might not be obvious, even to you the writer, what logical connection links two paragraphs within an essay. And that’s okay! Your ideas tend to evolve as you develop them on the page, and sometimes you will find that once you have fully fleshed out one idea, you don’t know how to move towards a new idea. Just take a break from the actual writing and go back to read your thesis.

Ask yourself what do you want to argue in the whole of the essay. This will help you to focus on what you want to argue in this particular paragraph or section of your essay in order to support your overall argument. If you can clearly articulate your new idea, and how it supports your overall thesis, you will find it easier to say how it connects to your previous paragraph or idea.

Tip #4: Write an outline and move the pieces around

If you still find yourself staring at the page, struggling to connect the previous idea to the new idea you want to guide your readers through, take a step back. When in doubt, make an outline. Whether you like to use an outline template on your word processor, or write one out on paper, make an outline that includes your thesis statement and the main points you want to use to support it. Once you have the outline mapped out, move the pieces around. Sometimes, the order in which you started out writing your paper doesn’t flow logically once you have developed your ideas further. By moving things around, you might find you have an easier time transitioning between different paragraphs.

Although transitioning seamlessly from one paragraph to another in an essay may feel challenging, you can write clear and concise transitions by focusing on the thesis of your essay, and the logical connections that tie your ideas together. Once you have gone through these tips, writing transitions will come naturally to you.

Transitions are not the only thing you should pay attention to! BibMe Plus’s grammar check can help you check your paper for grammar and unintentional plagiarism before you turn it. There is also a tool that can help generate APA citations (or citations in other styles like MLA format) for your bibliography. Give a go today!