Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events
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Basics on the topic Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events
Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events
What are transition words and how do we use them to show the sequence of events in narrative writing? Learn all about transition words and phrases through our video, transition words and phrases worksheets and an article on narrative writing transition words!
Transition words and phrases – Definition
To make their writing more cohesive and coherent, authors often use transitions.
Transition words and phrases connect thoughts and ideas in writing to one another, making the content of the text easier to follow. Transitions are used both in fictional and nonfictional texts. In fiction, they can have different functions, but most transitions in fictional narrative are used to show a sequence of events.
Transition Words for Narrative Writing
A narrative is a form of writing that focuses on telling a story. Narratives can describe either personal experiences, or fictional events and characters.
Stories in narrative texts usually have a beginning, a middle and an end, which means they describe events in a sequence. In order to show this sequence, we can use transitional words like first, next and last. However, we often need to show not only the beginning, middle and end of a narrative, but also movement within the main parts of the story. We can show the reader how the story moves from one event to another, and connect events together with the help of transitions of place and time. Let’s take a look at some sequence transition words that we can use to do so. Here is an example of transition words and phrases in a paragraph:
It all started when Sally and Tim decided to help their parents with gardening. They were digging holes to plant bushes when, all of a sudden, Sally’s shovel hit something hard. Tim immediately dropped his shovel and ran to see what Sally had found.
There are three events described in the paragraph: Sally and Tim decided to help their parents, Sally’s shovel hit something hard, and Tim dropped his shovel and ran to see what Sally had found. The author used transitional phrases to connect these events and put them in a clear order. The first phrase, ‘It all started’ lets the reader know that this was the first thing that happened in the story. ’All of a sudden’ shows an unexpected event that happened next. ‘Immediately’ signals the time frame and shows that the next event happened right after the previous event. These transitions let us know that the events in the story happened quickly, and help move the story forward.
Let’s read the second paragraph of the story and look for more transitions:
”It’s probably a treasure chest!” Tim shouted with excitement. He started helping Sally to dig, and eventually, they took an old wooden box out of the ground. At that very moment, Tim and Sally knew that they had to open the box straight away!
What are some transitions the author used in this paragraph? ’Eventually’ is a transitional word that tells us that some time had passed before Tim and Sally took the box out. ’At that very moment’ is a transitional phrase signals when they wanted to open the box.
Let’s finish reading the story and identify transitions.
Sally and Tim saw some old photos of two children in the box, together with a pop-band poster, a ball and two friendship bracelets. Just then, Sally and Tim’s parents came to see what their children were so excited about. “I can see, you have found our time capsule!” - said their dad. “Your mum and I put it in the ground many years ago and completely forgot about it! We are so glad you’ve found this box!” Sally and Tim had never seen a time capsule before. They spent the rest of the day thinking about creating one of their own! In the end, their mum and dad helped them find a new box and the whole family created their new time capsule together!
There are two transitional phrases in this paragraph. The phrase ’just then’ connects two events: Sally and Tim looking at the insides of the box and their parents coming to see what they are excited about. ’In the end’ tells us that this is how this story ends and wraps up the events into a conclusion.
Transitional Words and Phrases for Narrative Writing – List
If you are an aspiring writer and you are wondering what are some good transitional words and phrases that you can use for your narrative, take a look at our list of transitional words and phrases for narrative writing.
| it all started when
all of a sudden
at that very moment
in the end
at the same time
Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events – Summary
- Transitional words and phrases connect thoughts and ideas in writing to one another, making the content of the text easier to follow for the readers.
- A narrative is a form of writing that focuses on telling a story.
- Narratives need transitions of time and place to connect the events. They are used to indicate beginning, middle and end of a narrative, as well as the movement inside the story.
Now you know how to use transition words or phrases to show the sequence of events. If you want more practice, check out our video, transition words and phrases worksheet and activities!
Frequently Asked Questions about Transition Words
Transcript Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events
“Ernie, you’ll never believe what I just saw!” “There was a DOG that saved a CAT from a tree!” “It’ll make the perfect story for the paper!” “Everyone loves a feel-good story!” Jane and Ernie are going to write a narrative for the newspaper and need to use Transitions to Show Sequence of Events. Narratives are forms of writing that tell a story. They can be personal experiences or fictional events of characters. Narratives are told by describing a sequence of events, usually in the form of beginning, middle, and end. In earlier years, we showed sequence by using words like first, next, and last. "As we grow as writers, we look for ways to express ourselves more clearly." In narratives, we not only show the beginning, middle, and end, but we can show movement inside a story by using transitions. Narratives need transitions of time and place to connect events together by putting them in a clear order. Transitional words signal that the characters are doing something new, so it helps move the story forwards. Let's look at the beginning of the story written by Jane and Ernie to see how we sequence events using transitions. "It all started when Murphy was walking home from the shop. He was busy thinking about his new bone when, all of a sudden, he heard a noise coming from the tree above. He immediately looked up and saw a cat stuck in the tree." The beginning of this story includes three events; Murphy walking home from the shop, hearing a noise, and looking up to see a cat. Transitional phrases are used to connect these events to the order in which they happen. The first phrase, ‘it all started’ lets the reader know this is the FIRST thing that happened in the series of events. ‘All of a sudden’ is a transitional phrase that indicates there was an unexpected event that changed the action. It tells the reader what happened NEXT. We see then that he IMMEDIATELY looked up. Immediately is a transition that not only signals the next event but the time frame in which it happens. All of these transitions work together to let us know that this sequence of events occurred very quickly. Let's continue on with the story. Murphy felt sorry for the poor cat and wondered what he could do to help. Just then, he noticed a tall ladder across the street. At that very moment, he knew what he had to do! When the story progresses to this middle action, we see the transitions ‘just then’ and ‘at that very moment ‘. Which events are connected by the transition ‘just then’? Murphy wondering what to do and seeing the ladder. What does ‘at that very moment’ tell us about when he got the idea to help the cat? It lets us know that it happened as soon as he saw the ladder. Let's see how this story ends. Before long, he was leaning up against the tree and reaching out to Artemis, the cat. He eventually convinced her to come with him safely to the ground. In the end, Artemis hugged Murphy and the two became best friends! What are the sequence transitions you see at the end of the story? ‘Before long’, ‘eventually’, and ‘in the end’. What does the phrase, ‘before long’ tell us? It moves the time of Murphy getting the ladder and going up into the tree. What does ‘eventually’ tell us about the events? Eventually, is a transition that indicates that some time has passed before the next event occurred. The last transition, 'in the end' tells us that this is how this story ends and wraps up the events into a conclusion. While Ernie and Jane proofread their narrative, let’s review. Remember, "narratives are forms of writing that tell a story." They are told by describing a sequence of events usually in the form of beginning, middle, and end. Narratives need transitions of time and place to connect the events. Transitions signal that the characters are doing something new, so it helps move the story forwards.
"EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!" "DOG SAVES CAT FROM TREE!"
Using Transitions to Show the Sequence of Events exercise
What is a narrative?Hints
There are two correct answers.
Narratives have a sequence of events in the format of beginning, middle and end.
A narrative describes a story with people, places, events and the passing of time.Solution
- Personal experiences or experiences of characters.
- Sequences of events in the format of beginning, middle and end.
Identify the transitions and events below.Hints
- Events describe something happening.
- Transition words mark a change, usually in place or time.
There are three transitions.Solution
In a story, transitions are used to connect events to the order in which they happen.
Classify the transitions and events in the story.Hints
- Events describe something happening.
- Transitions mark a change, usually in place or time.
Transitions link 2 or more events, but are not a complete thought or sentence by themselves.
There are three transitions in this story.Solution
- Transitions help to move a story forward.
- It all started when
- All of a sudden
The remaining parts of this narrative are events.
Events and transitions.Hints
Some transitions signal the beginning or end of a narrative. Find these pairs first.
The transition eventually marks the end of an event that has been happening for a while. Try to find this pair.
'All of a sudden' means something has happened suddenly, so look for an event that happened without warning.Solution
- It all started when that morning I had left my bag at home and my homework was due in!
- All of a sudden my Mum turned up in her car, she had brought my homework!
- Eventually the lesson was over and it was time for us to go out and play for lunch.
- In the end my school day actually turned out to be a good one!
Transition words and phrases.Hints
Find the transition words or phrases for the beginning and end of the narrative first.
Find the transition word or phrase that shows something new has started. This is position 2.Solution
- "It all started when..." indicates the first event of the story.
- "Just then" is second. This shows a new event.
- "Eventually" is third. This suggests an event has been going on for some time.
- "In the end" is last. This indicates the final event of the narrative.
Missing transition words and phrases.Hints
Some transition words signal the beginning or end of a narrative. Find these transitions first.
The second transition word or phrase will signal a new event. Try to find this transition word or phrase next.
Any transition word that starts a sentence needs to start with a capital letter.Solution
Here is the paragraph with the answers correctly written in bold:
It all started when Joanie woke up on Saturday. Her voice was almost gone and her throat felt scratchy! She was trying to think of why she might feel so bad when, all of a sudden, the phone rang. It was her best friend, Marlin.
"My throat is so sore!" complained Marlin. Just then, Joanie remembered the last time she had seen Marlin. They had been singing karaoke the night before! Joanie immediately realised what the problem was!
She and Marlin were singing so loudly and having so much fun, that they both had a sore throat the next day! In the end, Joanie and Marlin both rested that day and felt better afterwards.