Archives for the month of: June, 2012

5 Hands

I know. It sounds devious to write a “How To” piece designed to equip young writers with tools that play mind games with their readers. So I am going to backpedal a bit and call this a “Readers Beware” piece instead. Either way you look at it, it’s always fun to explore the impact of words.

 1. Regrettably

The job of this drama queen is to convince an audience that you are emotionally involved with your topic or story. Direct this empathy-builder to enter on cue whenever you feel the desire to connect more deeply with your readers. After all, who can resist the sight of a spontaneous tear rolling down a cheek or the disquieting sound of mournful sigh?

 2. For Instance

As the sophisticated alternative to its generic counterpart “for example,” this transitional phrase is comfortable just about anywhere. While she is capable of confidently introducing a sentence, she is equally comfortable quietly slipping into the middle of  (or resting at the end of)  one. This versatile transition phrase is your own personal lady-in-waiting.

 3. Fortunately

Before you even share your valuable insights, understand that this word choice promises to flood readers with a sunny perspective. And they expect you to deliver. So make sure that you pack a ton of “feel good” information into the sentences that follow it so you can maintain the trust of your audience.

 4. Perhaps

Welcome this reader-friendly word into your writings as if you were bringing an old friend into your home. This likable fellow is happiest when it is given the chance to air its opinions as well as its musings. As an open-minded companion, he has perfected the simple art of conversation.

5. Ultimately

Put this prizefighter in your closing paragraph and it will fight for you. The moment this word is read or uttered it will either empower readers to take a firm stand on an issue or it will elevate you (the writer) to a position of authority. Either way, this transition packs a powerful punch.


Note: Don’t be fooled. Transitions are manipulative companions who are obsessed with controlling readers’ minds and actions. Use them intelligently.

Janice Malone

 Share Point: Now, here’s a question for you: What is your pet transition or transition phrase, and what is its special power? (Click on the comment icon at the top of this post.)

Until next time…stay committed…teach with passion…and inspire students with who you are.

I’m hoping to connect with fellow English Language Arts teachers and bloggers who are looking to share high-interest, low-prep writing exercises that engage middle and secondary students.

Janice Malone

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