Segues: Another Technique for Writing Transitions

Writing

Segues are an important part of writing in any genre, and knowing how to use segues well can be the difference between a successful or not-so-successful piece of content. First, let's get this out of the way: A Segway is a trademarked name referring to a motorized, two-wheel personal vehicle. A segue (in writing, anyway) is a smooth transitional phrase that moves the reader from one point or paragraph to another. These two terms do, however, share the same pronunciation, but try not to get them mixed up in your writing!

 

Where Did Segues Come From?

The use of a segue in writing as a way to move smoothly from one point to the next actually comes from a musical background. In music, a direction to “segue” means to proceed directly on to the next thing without stopping the music, or to perform the next piece of music without breaking. The segue was adopted into the English language from Italian — in Italian, it means “there follows.”

 

How to Use Segues

I’m going to focus more on the nonfiction side of using segues, simply because that is where people are most familiar using them. Nonfiction pieces, especially speeches, essays, and research papers/articles often need good segues to help the writer make their point or argument flow well as a whole. But how do you use a segue well?

 

A transition, or segue, in writing can be made in a number of different ways. The choice of words you use, and the context in which you use them, gives your writing cohesiveness, organizes your writing, and signals the reader that you are moving from one point to the next.

 

There are four main categories that segue words/phrases fall into, based on how and why they are used: comparing, contrasting, providing an example, and addition. Here are some examples of each type, to help you choose the correct segue for what you are trying to achieve:

 

Compare

Contrast

Provide example

Addition

Also

Similarly

Likewise

In like manner

On the other hand

Yet

Still

While

On the contrary

However

In spite of

Rather

Conversely

In fact

For instance

It is true

For example

Thus

To illustrate

 

Again

Also

And

In addition to

Furthermore

Moreover

First/second/etc.

Further

Finally

In fact

As a result

Consequently

Here are a few examples:

 

Compare:
…and that is why chocolate cake is the best.

Similarly, chocolate frosting is the best frosting.

 

Contrast:
…and that is why chocolate cake is the best cake.

However, strawberry shortcake has many delicious qualities of its own.

 

Provide example:
…and that is why chocolate cake is the best cake.

To illustrate, let us examine what the famous chef Paul Hollywood writes about chocolate cake…

 

Addition:
…and that is why chocolate cake is the best cake.

Furthermore, to make a chocolate cake even richer, use dark cocoa powder.

 

To transition to a new point altogether, you can use words such as “though,” “although,” and “however”:

 

…and that is why chocolate cake is the best cake.

Although chocolate cake is definitively the best, there are those who argue that pies are much better than cakes in every way.

 

Choose Your Segues Carefully

If you choose your segues carefully, you can craft a convincing and well-flowing narrative that helps your readers follow your argument, as opposed to fighting to keep up with you. Let segues help you as opposed to tripping you up!

 

For many more segues to help you with any transition you need to make, check out this helpful list:

http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/firstandsecondyearadvising/pdfs/transitional_phrases.pdf