Grammar & Style


What are transitions?
Transitions are words or phrases used to connect sentences within paragraphs as well as connecting paragraphs to each other. This is important to give your work good logical flow.
When using transitions always check that your ideas are connected.
Below is list of transition words found at which will serve different purposes in your writing.

To indicate sequence or to order information
first, second etc.

followed by

at this point

next, last, finally

previously, subsequently

after that


and then

next, before, after




To introduce and example

in this case

for example

for instance

on this occasion

to illustrate

to demonstrate

this can be seen

when/where . . .

take the case of

To indicate time





prior to





at that time

before, after

at this point

To logically divide an idea

first, next, finally

firstly, secondly, thirdly

initially, subsequently, ultimately

To compare and/or contrast

To compare:


by comparison

similar to

like, just like


balanced against

To contrast:

in contrast

on the other hand

balanced against


on the contrary


differing from

a different view is


To introduce and opposite idea or show exception


on the other hand







in spite of


even though

in contrast

it could also be said that

To introduce additional ideas/information

in addition





one can also say

and then



To indicate a result/ cause of something




as a consequence

as a result



Your punctuation do not have to be limited to full stops and commas. Using a wide range of punctuation can improve your writing if you use them correctly.

Punctuation What it looks like How/When to use it
Full stop .
  • At the end of sentences.
  • Abbreviated words e.g.. Dr. Smith.
Comma ,
  • For ease of reading longer sentences use a comma.
  • Separate items when listing them.
Colon :
  • For indicating that lists or summaries will follow.
Semi colon ;
  • Used when two ideas are linked, but are 2 different sentences.
  • When commas are already used in a sentence, semi colons can be used to further differentiate closely linked ideas.
Question mark ?
  • At the end of sentences when a question is asked (replaces a full stop).
  • Shortened forms of words, called contractions (e.g.. don’t). Used in the place of absent letter/s. Contractions are not advised for academic writing, but can be used sparingly if necessary.
  • To show possession of something. It is used differently for individual possession and possession by more than one person. For individual possession use the apostraphe before the (s) e.g. Freud’s. More than one ownership, use the apostraphe at the end of the word e.g.. girls’ (belonging to more than one girl.
Quotation marks
  • Use only when quoting someone else’s words. It must be used at the start and end of a phrase. REMEMBER TO REFERENCE!
Dashes  – 
  • Indicate extra information. This punctuation is not commonly used in academic writing.
Parentheses/Brackets ()
  • Like dashes, brackets separates extra information that is not essential. They must be used as a pair.
  • Brackets are also used when referencing and citing work in-text.
  • They are 3 full stops next to each other and indicates that information has been left out.
  • Usually when using quotes, there may be a part of the sentence that is not vital and needs to be omitted. In place of the omitted words, use ellipsis.

Paraphrasing & Summarising & Quoting

Why paraphrase and summarise?
Most of your work at tertiary level includes analysing and interpreting the work of others. Paraphrasing and summarising allows you to use the work of others in order to support your own analysis and interpretation. You should be careful not to confuse summarising and quoting to avoid plagiarism. Also note, that even when you paraphrase and summarise, you are still required to reference as the idea is not your own, but that of someone else.
How do they differ?
  • Quoting is using the words of authors, while paraphrasing and summarising uses the ideas of others but in your own words.
  • When quoting you have to use quotation marks.
  • Quoting usually consist of small parts of work while paraphrasing and summarising can be based on longer pieces of work.
  • Summarising is more of an overview of the main parts of the text.
Paraphrasing Summarising Quoting
What is it?
Paraphrasing is extracting important concepts, main points or meaningful information from text and producing it in your own words.
Paraphrasing takes shorter pieces of work and may result in a longer than the original text.
Unlike Paraphrasing, summarising usually takes longer text and reduce them to the most important points.
Summarising does not contain extra details of the text apart from its main ideas.
Using an author or sources words directly. This will be word for word, exactly as it appears in the text.
Direct quotes can provide strong evidence in your writing, however quoting should not take up more than 10% of your writing.
How do you do it?
  • Read the text carefully for understanding
  • Extract main points and key words
  • Rewrite the main points in your own words
  • Use synonyms
  • Change the grammar and sentence structure. Make longer sentences to short ones. Make short sentences longer.
  • Reorganise information in a way that still makes sense
  • Make sure you track the authors attitude in the text and maintain this attitude.
  • Using the authors words, is not paraphrasing and doing this without quoting appropriately isplagiarism.
  • AGAIN – any idea that is not your own must be accompanied by areference/citation.
  • Read short text and highlight the main ideas
  • Re-read your highlighted text and be sure to exclude examples and added evidence that does not highlight the main points but retains most of the original  information.
  • Without using the text, rewrite the main points in your own words (paraphrase).
  • AGAIN – any idea that is not your own must be accompanied by a reference.
  • You must use quotation marks (“) at the beginning and at the end of a quote.
  • Every aspect of the quote (including punctuation) must be reproduced exactly as it is in the original text.
  • Quotes must be accompanied by a reference either at the start or end of the quote.
  • Include the page number where the quote was found on.
  • Short quotes should be integrated into sentences, however if quotes is longer than 3 lines (40 words) start on a new line and indent – checkquotations for an example.
When do you do it?
  • You can use it for note-taking when reading
  • It also useful for lecture notes
  • Only paraphrase short pieces of work. paraphrase short paragraphs as opposed to lengthy ones.
  • Use paraphrasing to support your work.
  • Paraphrasing is especially useful when you want to use someone else’s idea in your own words but retain the meaning.
Summarise when you have read lengthy works of others
  • Summarise pages, chapters and long paragraphs.
  • When outlining main ideas of others use summarising.
  • To support any claims made you can use summarising.
  • Also use summarising when you briefly want to mention different points of view.
  • Conclusions require summarising the main points of a paper.
Use quotes sparingly, they should only be used when they can strongly support your own work. Do not use a quote unless it is absolutely necessary.
Quote to:
  • Support your writing.
  • Introduce an author/work/concept you plan to discuss
  • Introduce an authoritative voice.
  • Convey a concept that is more meaningful in the authors exact words than your own.