Essay Writing Bridge Sentences
Publication Date: 16 August 2022
Bridge sentences, sometimes also referred to as transition sentences, are like real bridges in our physical world. The latter connect two pieces of land and serve to aid communication. They make humans transit from one place to another faster and easier. A similar logic applies to bridge sentences in essay writing, or just about any kind of writing, however, in this case, they help to connect paragraphs, thoughts, and ideas.
Without bridge sentences, an essay would be uncomfortable to read, “bumpy” and overly long. A good bridge in an essay is like a Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or a Brooklyn Bridge in New Your City – they allow readers (commuters) to go from one paragraph (place) to another smoothly.
What exactly is a bridge sentence?
There are no strict definitions and classifications, and catalogs when it comes to bridge sentences in essay writing. We can call any sentence a bridge sentence, as long as it serves the purpose of transiting the reader’s attention from one piece of text to another. There can be millions of various bridge sentences, some virtually identical, while others may differ drastically in length and content.
A bridge sentence is an ordinary sentence, which connects two pieces of text, usually adjacent paragraphs. For the purpose of effectiveness, a good bridge in an essay should be short and simple, i.e. void of any complicated terms, abbreviations, or contractions.
Here are several examples of bridge sentences connecting two paragraphs:
- The above conclusion doesn’t mean that all teenagers are alike;
- To finally break the intrigue, I would like to tell you the story of our hero…;
- Consequently, many people believe that real knowledge comes from life experience;
- The same logic can be applied to more complex economic systems…;
- However, the behavior of other biological species is usually more complex.
Notice how in many examples, the very first word carries a significant transiting capacity. We will return to this aspect later and review it in a separate section called “Transition words in bridge sentences”.
Location of bridge sentences in an essay
There are no hard rules as to the exact location of transitions in an essay. At the same time, knowing the optimal locations is a key to successful essay writing. From a location point of view, all bridge sentences can be divided into two big categories: topic and opening sentences.
Topic bridge sentences are placed in the introductory paragraph and they are often called statement sentences. They set the spirit for the entire work and define all the successive paragraphs. A topic bridge sentence should follow a hook and a few introductory sentences, which don’t carry any significant meaning.
Opening bridge sentences are the first sentences in each paragraph. They serve the purpose of connecting each new paragraph with the previous one. Unlike the topic sentences, opening sentences don’t define the theme for all paragraphs in an essay. Sometimes students confuse topic bridge sentences with simple topic sentences – although their location is also at the beginning of each paragraph, the latter introduce the readers to each new paragraph and bring in something new as opposed to continuing reasoning from the piece of text above.
Types of bridges and transition words used to glue them together
For anyone to master the skill of flawless essay writing using bridge sentences, it is critical to be aware of several types of bridge sentences, just as there are various types of transitions. A good bridge in an essay stipulates its timely and logical application – in the right place and time.
- Comparative bridge type – this is a very popular transition type used widely in academic and analytical papers. Its essence is simple – you give one example (argument, fact, point) in the first paragraph, and then move on to another one in the second paragraph. Likewise, you may first mention one side of the coin (matter), and then flip it to the other side beginning from the new paragraph. The most common transition words and phrases used to glue the components of a comparative bridge together are as follows: “on the opposite”, “at the same time”, “however”, “additionally”, “just as”, and “similarly”, “likewise”, etc.
- Sequential bridge type – another widely spread type of bridge sentence in essay writing. It is used when the writer wants to continue the sequence of events in the new paragraph. This may happen when the first paragraph becomes too large, or when there is a slight difference between the events (facts, arguments, points, ideas) in sequence. A good bridge in an essay may often be “constructed” using a sequential transition type. To assemble parts of sequential bridges together, students may use the following transition words and phrases: “in addition”, “likewise”, “thus”, “then”, “secondly”, “at second”, “next”.
- Contrastive bridge type – an antagonist of comparative connection. If in your analysis you need to oppose something, to contrast and analyze, you should consider using contrastive bridge sentences. This type of transitional relationship is common for analytical and research papers and is mostly used in graduate-level essay writing. When it comes to transition words and phrases used to build this connection type, they may be as follows: “on the contrary”, “otherwise”, “a different perspective…” “others believe that…”, “nonetheless”, “but”, “on the other hand”, “though”, “however”, etc.
- Conclusive bridge type – as the name suggests, this bridge type is used in conclusive paragraphs. When you want to sum up things, to draw a punch line or a bottom line – you use conclusive transitions. One cannot speak of a good bridge in an essay without referring to a conclusive transition. To make this connection type complete, writers may use such transition words and phrases as “in conclusion”, “to sum up”, “the key takeaway is…”, “ultimately”, “in the end”, “essentially”, the bottom line is…”, “ultimately”.
An essay is basically a story and as such, it has to flow smoothly. To glue various components of essay writing together, we use bridge sentences. They give our papers a holistic look and a sense of completeness, as opposed to sporadic changes in facts, thoughts, and reasoning in general. For anyone who wants to know how to construct a good bridge in an essay, it is of paramount importance to learn the different types of transitions, including transition words and sentences, and know exactly how and when to apply bridge sentences to make them look natural.
The current article was intended to be a good reference point to start learning this subject and to improve one’s skills in essay writing. It is by no means an exhaustive guide and you are more than welcome to use creativity and come up with unique transition words and phrases to make the best bridge sentences ever!