Lesson 10:
Transitional Phrases for Essays

This lesson shows you transitional phrases for essays in order to help you present other people’s arguments in your IELTS writing essays for part 2.

This is when you want to make it clear those arguments are NOT your own.

This lesson is aimed more at those who are wanting a band 7 or higher as this page will show you a more sophisticated way of presenting arguments.

When you write an argumentative essay, it is likely that you will want to present two sides of an argument.

Take a look at this paragraph from an essay (which was recently posted as a model essay on this site) which is in answer to this question:

University education should be free to everyone, regardless of income. 

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The person is presenting the side of the argument about why education should not be free:

Firstly, students should be charged because education is becoming more expensive to fund as universities grow in size. Consequently, making students pay may maintain standards and ensure the quality of the teaching.  In addition, students benefit from university in terms of higher paid jobs, so it is fair that they pay for at least some of the cost, especially given that the majority of students attending university are from the middle classes.  Last but not least, in many countries, there is a shortage of people to do manual jobs such as plumbing and carpentry, so making university more expensive may encourage people to take up these jobs.

The paragraph is fine but it does look like the opinions being presented are the writers own views.

What if you want to make it clear that they are not your opinions, but those of someone else because you intend to disagree with it in your next paragraph or because you don't want to make it clear which side of the argument you agree with until the end?

The paragraph has now got some transitional phrases for essays in red  / bold that make it clear that they are not your arguments, but another person's:

One argument put forward in favour of charging students is that education is becoming more expensive to fund as universities grow in size. Consequently, making students pay may maintain standards and ensure the quality of the teaching.  In addition, it is argued that most students benefit from university in terms of higher paid jobs, so it is fair that they pay for at least some of the cost, especially given that the majority of students attending university are from the middle classes.  Last but not least, in many countries, there is a shortage of people to do manual jobs such as plumbing and carpentry, so making university more expensive may encourage people to take up these jobs.

The last point “Last but not least, in many countries…” has not been changed, but this would be overdoing it. It is clear by this point that all the arguments the writer is presenting are other people’s.

In your next paragraph, you may then want to present your arguments. So you may begin your paragraph with something like:

However, I do not believe these arguments stand up to scrutiny. Firstly,...

Alternatively, you may want to present another paragraph with other people's ideas, that shows the opposite side of the argument. So your second paragraph may begin:

However, some people oppose these views. Firstly, they claim that...

And then you would let the reader know in your conclusion your position on the matter.

Here are some examples of transitional phrases for essays that can be used:

It has been argued that…

Some people claim / argue / believe / think that…

An argument commonly put forward is that…

Those that support (topic) argue / believe / claim that…

Proponents of (topic) argue / believe / claim that…

These arguments have been critisized for several reasons...

These are just some examples. There will be some other ways.

I suggested these as band 7 and above as it is a more difficult skill to place them in your essay.

They can't just be stuck in front of an idea and used like a transition such as "Firstly,..." in the hope of getting a band 7!

They create a certain register or tone that you are writing with so you need to make sure the rest of your essay fits with this style.

Check out the transitional phrases for essays in this model essay: Animal Rights Essay

This essay follows the pattern of presenting the first body paragraph as someone elses opinions, and the second body paragraph as your own.

Also, take a look at the full essay from the lesson presented on this page: Free University Education



 

› Transitional Phrases

 

 

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Any questions or comments about this page or about IELTS?

Post your comment here.

Lesson 1:
Analysing Essay Questions Part 1 - Identifying the Topic

Lesson 2:
Analysing Essay Questions Part 2 - Identifying the Task

Lesson 3:
Brainstorming and Planning an Essay

Lesson 4:
Improving Essay Coherency with Transitions

Lesson 5:
Writing an IELTS Essay Introduction

Lesson 6:
Writing a Thesis Statement

Lesson 7:
How to get an IELTS Writing band 7

Lesson 8:
Improving Essay Coherency with Pronouns

Lesson 9:
Writing an IELTS Essay Conclusion

Lesson 10:
Transitional Phrases for Essays

Lesson 11:
Good Paragraph Writing

Lesson 12:
How to write Problem Solution Essays

Lesson 13:
Understanding IELTS Opinion Essays

Lesson 14:
A more complex essay question

Lesson 15:
Personal Pronouns in Essays

Lesson 16:
Advantage Disadvantage Essay


 




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