How to Start a Paragraph

The way you start a paragraph will determine the quality of your piece. Therefore, you need to be careful when choosing words to start a paragraph. The use of transition words to start a paragraph will make your text more engaging. These transition phrases will tell the reader that you know what you are doing.

Best Words to Start a Paragraph

Transition words prompt the reader to establish relationships that exist between your ideas, especially when changing ideas. It is recommended to vary the transition words that you use in your text. Take time and think about the best transition words that will assist you in moving through the ideas you wish to put across. The most important thing is to help your readers get to understand the point that you are putting across. It is meaningless for students to produce academic papers that don’t flow well. For instance, you need different transition words to start a conclusion paragraph than what you use in body paragraphs and the introduction. Take time and make sure that all your points are flowing well within the text of the academic essay.

Topic Sentence

Definition of topic sentence

a sentence that states the main thought of a paragraph or of a larger unit of discourse and is usually placed at or near the beginning

Topic sentences introduce a paragraph and connect to an essay’s thesis statement, which is the topic sentence of your entire essay.

Here’s a thesis generator and some great topic sentence examples.

The words that you use in the essay topic sentences should tell the reader of the ideas that you will be sharing in that paragraph. Remember each paragraph should carry a specific theme and this should be reflected in the topic sentences. You can use a transition phrase or word to elevate your topic sentence. It will tell the reader that you are now switching to a new idea.

Every topic sentence has two parts: a topic (what the paragraph is about) and a controlling idea (the direction the paragraph will take). Take a look at these topic sentence examples in which the topic is bold and the controlling idea is in italics.

  1. Having pets is good for you health for several reasons.
  2. Our school’s dress code policy has many negative consequences for girls.
  3. Japanese culture, and, most especially, anime, has inspired many artists worldwide to use this style to create new and unique artwork.
Here are some academic topics and the best way to use them.
Bad Topic SentenceGood Topic Sentence
Inflation affects the economy.
(Statement is too broad.)
Inflation affects all aspects of the economy, from consumers and producers to labor rates, law and policies, wages and exchange rates.
Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was an astronomer.
(Not enough info for reader.)
Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, the woman who explained the stars, is one of the twentieth century’s most illustrious astronomers.
The electric car industry became practical in the late 1800s.
(Not thorough enough.)
Technological advancements in the late 1800s
ushered in the first truly practical electric
Safeguarding freedom of speech encourages people to speak out, which makes it easier to tackle systemic issues from the inside. This deters people from abusing their power, which helps everyone in the long run.
(Not precise enough.)
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It reinforces all other human rights, allowing society to develop and progress.
Not only can it help reduce your carbon footprint, but it also helps reduce the need for harvesting raw materials, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gases, prevents pollution, and more. By improving our recycling habits, we can help keep the environment clean and preserve our natural resources.
(Not brief enough.)
Recycling reduces the need for extracting, refining and processing raw materials all of which create air and water pollution.
I am going to discuss colonialism in the Americas.
(It is too vague.)
A large scale European colonization of the Americas took place between about 1492 and 1800.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was born in 1933.
(Not enough info for reader.)
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, born in 1933, is one of
the most influential Supreme Court judge in


The way you organize your paper can also assist in boosting the transition of paragraphs. As you plan on the supporting ideas that you will include in your body paragraphs, you need to determine the orders that you will use to present them. Think about the best ways in which the ideas in each paragraph will build one another. You need to know whether there is a logical order that you need to follow. Try to re-arrange your ideas until you come up with the right order to present them. The transition words to start a body paragraph are very different from the introduction and conclusion.


Enhance how you transition your paragraphs by discussing the relationships that exist between your ideas. For instance, as you end the first supporting paragraph, you can discuss how the idea will lead to the next body paragraphs. Assist the person reading your essay to understand the why you ordered your ideas the way you have done. What is the relationship between the first and second body paragraphs? Do not allow your readers to guess what you are thinking about or trying to communicate. The readers should also know how your ideas relate from the proper use of words to start a paragraph (see the picture below).

ContrastAdd CauseEmphasis
OtherwiseAdditionallyAccordinglyAs usual
InsteadFor exampleParticularlyAs a rule
RatherAgainHenceAbove all admittedly
WhereasMoreoverAs a resultEspecially
HoweverIn additionOtherwiseChiefly
ConverselyCoupled withUsuallyCertainly
NeverthelessSimilarlyGenerally speakingyet
YetAs well asConsequentlystill
On the other handIn deedUnquestionablyhowever
In comparisonOne other thingFor the most partnevertheless
On the contraryCorrespondinglyDue to in spite of
AlthoughIn factIn this situationdespite
In contrastWhereasFor this reasonof course
Even thoughAnother reasonUndoubtedly or no doubtonce in a while
Different fromIdenticallyFor this purposesometimes
Other thanAlong withObviously
BesidesLike wiseOf course
Outside ofandOrdinarily
whereasand thenfor
on the other handequally importantfor the same reason
on the contraryfurthermoreindeed
by comparisonnorin fact
wheretooin addition
compared tonextin any case
up againstlastlythat is
balanced againstwhat’s more
vis a vismoreover
converselyin addition
meanwhilefirst (second, etc.)
after all
this may be true
Some words belong to multiple categories

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