The Essay Transition Cheat Sheet Every Student Needs

Essay transitions can make or break your academic papers. Don’t let a limited vocabulary get in your way. Download our free essay transition cheat sheet now!

Poor essay transitions ruin essays

Ever submitted what you think is a great essay only to be informed by your tutor that it lacked coherence?

Lacked what?

When your profs talk about coherence, they are basically referring to how your essay flowed from one idea to the next.

The best essays are those that present a thesis statement, and then gradually build an argument to support the main ideas.

But a great thesis statement and a well-researched argument are not enough to create a compelling essay.

You also need to take your reader on a journey as you progress through your essay in a clear and structured way.

This is where essay transitions come in.

Transitions are words or short phrases that prepare the reader for a mental shift in the argument and guide his or her thought process.

You’ll typically find transitions in the following places:

  • At the start of a paragraph: “To begin with…”
  • At the beginning of a concluding statement: “In light of this analysis…”
  • To extend an argument: “Pursuing this further…”
  • At the beginning of a sentence that introduces a new idea within a paragraph: “Another reason why…”

It sounds simple enough. So why do so many students struggle to use transitions effectively?

One of the biggest issues our essays editors regularly encounter is a lack of imagination and variety.

All too often, students revert to the same set of standard transitions: first, then, to conclude

For a tutor who has a pile of thirty papers to grade, this isn’t going to cut the mustard.

As such, you should be trying to make your essays, dissertations, and other academic papers much more interesting by using engaging transitions.

Think this sounds difficult? It’s actually really easy.

In fact, thanks to our free essay transition cheat sheet, it couldn’t be simpler!

If you’re looking for more assistance with essay transitions, check out our comprehensive guide to how to edit an essay.

Essay transitions cheat sheet

How to use the Free Essay Transitions Cheat Sheet

  • Print the sheet by clicking on the image above. This sheet was first developed as part of our guide to essay formatting.
  • Once you have finished writing your essay, go through and review all the transitions you have already used. If you encounter a word or phrase that sounds repetitive or boring, consult the cheat sheet, find the category in which the transition best fits, and identify a better substitute.
  • Read through your essay again. Check to see if there are any places in which you should have a transition but haven’t used one. Similarly, if you have used the same transition more than once, replace it with a viable alternative. This will give your work more pizazz and seamless appeal.

Simply print out this one-page PDF and refer to it every time you’re writing an essay or want to improve the flow of an existing paper.

You’ll be surprised how simple it can be to take your writing up a notch.

Looking for more ideas? Check out our essay tips for some really great tools that will help you through the process of writing an essay.

Need a bit of extra help?

Check out our essay editing services now. Our expert editors know exactly what to do to transform your essay from good to great.

How to Proofread an Essay: The Ultimate Guide for 2023

If you want to top the class, you’re going to have to know how to proofread an essay. Fortunately, we have some great tips that will get you off to the perfect start.

Reads: How to proofread an essay: Ten simple steps
What’s the secret to proofreading an essay like a pro?

That’s a very difficult question to answer.

Every proofreader is different. However, you probably know excellent essay editors who can quickly and easily spot mistakes in writing and publish error-free essays every single time.

How do they do it? Do they have some secret proofreading techniques that you’re not aware of?

Actually, chances are, they do!

Whether they know it or not, many of the students you know who are turning in A-grade papers follow some form of proofreading process to work through all the kinks in their essays and ensure their essay formatting is perfect.

Today, we’re going to let you into some of their secrets by sharing some of the proven proofreading methods that actually work.

So, if you’re sick of your professor highlighting your shoddy grammar and careless mistakes, our guide to how to proofread an essay may be exactly what you need.

Pro Tip:

Download a free bonus essay editing checklist that will show exactly how you should edit an essay, step by step.

How to Proofread an Essay in Ten Simple Steps

1) Take a break

Yep, before you do anything at all, take a well-deserved break from whatever it is you have been working on.

To proofread an essay well, you need to have a clear head and be fully focused.

Go for a run, watch TV, listen to music… just do something other than stare at the paper.

Allow yourself at least 30 minutes break from your essay, ideally much longer.

When you return to your essay, you’ll find that you can see your work from a whole new perspective… warts and all!

Suddenly the mistakes will become much more apparent, and proofreading your essay will be a lot easier.

2) Get rid of any distractions

Once you’ve taken a break and cleared some time to focus on the task at hand, cut out all distractions.

Turn off the stereo, put your phone on mute, and tell your flatmates your room is out of bounds for the next hour or so.

Give your essay your undivided attention and concentrate on finding those pesky errors.

3) Read the essay aloud

This is not something we’d recommend when you’re grafting away on your essay in a busy library. However, if you can get a room to yourself, sit down and read your essay out loud word for word.

As you vocalize the words you have written, you will have a chance to both hear and see the flaws. In addition to giving yourself an opportunity to focus on the sound of the words, you’ll also spot where there are missing commas and issues with the flow.

Read each page aloud and keep improving it until the words start to sound perfect.

How to Proofread an Essay Pro Tip:

If reading aloud isn’t an option, paste the text of your essay into a text-to-speech program like NaturalReader and listen through headphones as the robot reads it to you. If there’s a mistake, you’ll have more chance of catching it.

4) Create a checklist of the mistakes you make on a regular basis and check them off one by one

Everyone has their own respective Achilles’ heel when it comes to grammar and punctuation.

Perhaps you frequently confuse the words “that” and “which.” Or maybe your use of splice commas has got you in trouble with your professor on one or two occasions in the past.

Whatever it is you frequently mess up, keep track and check for those mistakes before you submit your paper.

As you are proofreading each essay, you can quickly and easily jot down the errors you encounter and then use this list as your proofreading checklist next time you’re proofreading an essay.

5) Use grammar and spell checkers, but don’t rely on them

Of course, one of the first things you should do when you have finished the first draft of your essay is run the text through a spelling and grammar checker. This will help you identify some of the more obvious spelling and punctuation mistakes.

However, you should not rely on automated software as your only proofreading approach.

Even the best, most expensive grammar checkers are prone to errors. They simply cannot truly understand the language within the context it is used. As such, they can frequently point you in the wrong direction or even completely confuse you.

A further issue with grammar-checking software is that you need to have an exceptional command of English grammar to be able to decipher what are true grammatical errors; the software can only tell you that there might be a mistake.

Grammar checkers should never fully be trusted. They are computer tools and are fallible. Don’t let your trust in them be misguided.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the following great articles:

6) Find a proofreading buddy

Everyone knows that it’s immensely difficult to proofread your own writing… so proofread someone else’s essay instead.

Make a pact with one of your classmates to swap papers and proofread each other’s essays. Of course, you should choose your proofreading buddy wisely and ensure you opt for someone you can trust with this important task.

Ideally, you should find a mate who isn’t responding to the same essay prompt as you; that way, there’s less chance of him or her nicking all your great ideas.

7) Perform several passes

It sucks, we know, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll catch every grammar, punctuation, and spelling error on the first pass.

Most editors and proofreaders perform two, if not three, passes of every document they proofread.

8) Try the old-fashioned method of proofreading an essay

Print out your essay, grab a pen, and don’t be afraid to use it.

Things look different on paper than they do on the screen.

When you hold a physical copy of your essay, you’ll find that the mistakes become much more obvious. It’s amazing how many more typos and silly errors you’ll spot when you use this method.

Pro Tip:

Don’t forget to make sure your transitions are effective. Take a look at our guide to essay transitions for more help.

9) Check the format last

Don’t let yourself be distracted from the main content by minor formatting issues.

Finish all the proofreading passes and then format your essay immediately before publication. If you’re working with the APA style, you’ll find our guide to APA formatting incredibly useful (it’s free!).

10) The best way to proofread an essay: Get a professional proofreader on the job

If your essay is important and you really can’t afford to make any mistakes, get a professional involved.

Do you know the difference between an n-dash and an m-dash? Do you know when to use a semi-colon?

You may very well have an excellent idea of what written English reads well; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the know-how to proofread an essay. If you don’t have an exceptional command of English grammar and punctuation conventions, proofreading will be nothing more than guesswork.

If your essay is important to you, ensure you make sure your writing is the best it can be by using a professional proofreading service.

If you need more help, our essay editors can refine the text for you, make sure you have responded to the prompt and grading scheme properly, and give you constructive feedback on exactly how you can improve your essay.


What are you waiting for?

Stop wondering how to proofread an essay and get on with it!


Editing and Proofreading Revision Service

Reads: "A guide to revision requests for editing services."

Vappingo’s editing and proofreading services include free revisions. This is a courtesy service that is designed to help you work with your editor or proofreader to refine any changes he or she has made to your original document.

Sometimes, our clients become confused about what constitutes a valid revision request according to our policy. To help, we have created a useful infographic that highlights the dos and don’ts of working with your editor to perfect your writing.

Here’s a quick overview of the things you need to know before requesting a revision to the edited file.

  1. Revision requests go back into the system and will be dealt with by your editor at the earliest opportunity. Please provide your editor will sufficient time to attend to your needs and bear in mind that there may be a queue of orders in the system ahead of your revision request. You can generally expect a revision request to be completed within 12-24 hours.
  2. The revision request service is provided to give you a chance to work with your editor on the changes he or she suggested. It is strictly limited to the content that was included in the original order. If you have made changes to the file that were not included in the paper you originally submitted for editing or proofreading, you will need to place a new order for those changes.
  3. Our editors go to every effort to highlight areas of your writing that do not quite make sense, point out where you have failed to provide important and relevant information, and give you constructive feedback on how your document can be improved. If you act on that advice and make major changes to the file, these changes will need to be submitted as a new order because they were not included in the original word count.

If you’re looking for specific help on revising your own work, take a look at our guide to revising an essay.

Editing and Proofreading Service Revision Process

Guide to Vappingo's free revision service

If you require any further information, please take a look at our terms and conditions.


The Free Essay Editing Checklist That will Put You Top of the Class

This free essay editing checklist can help you to perfect your essay and take your grades up a notch with very little effort.

Free essay editing checklist blog title

So, you’ve finished your essay… yay you!

But have you?

Sadly, your work isn’t quite done the minute you hit the final keystroke on your conclusion. In fact, it may have just begun.

It’s no major secret that the students who bag the top grades are those who spend time editing and refining their essays. Dull it may be, but the editing process really is all the difference between a grade your mom will brag about at the local five and dime and something so poor that your dreams of getting a scholarship are firmly dashed.

If you think you don’t need to edit your essay, it could be that you do, indeed, have advanced essay writing skills that would put Mark Twain to shame, but it’s much more likely that you just can’t be bothered.

And who would blame you?

The first thing you need to get your head around is that the first draft of your essay will most certainly not be perfect. Our online essay editors can attest to that! It doesn’t matter how advanced your written composition skills are, there WILL be mistakes in your essay, and there WILL be room for improvement (check out our guide to how to edit an essay for some great ideas).

This handy essay editing checklist contains some useful hints and tips as to the important things you should be on the lookout for when editing an essay. It’s by no means definitive, but it’s an ideal starting point if you find yourself wondering how the heck to turn the first draft of your essay into a finely tuned masterpiece that will knock your professor’s socks off.

If you’re looking for specific help with  APA formatting, check out our APA style checklist.

Essay Editing Checklist

 Free essay checklist

If you don’t have time to follow the essay editing checklist to perfect your essay but are smart enough to realize there’s room for improvement, consider using the services of a professional editor. Our academic editing services can transform your essay from good to great in less than 24 hours. Get a free quote now!

[Infographic] Hyphen Use: Hyphenation Rules

hyphenated versus unhyphenatedWhen it comes to hyphen use, many writers purposely choose to entirely omit this dreaded punctuation mark in fear of using it incorrectly.

The truth is this: hyphens aren’t actually that complicated.

Once you’ve mastered some basic rules about their usage, you will find that the concepts relating to hyphen use are pretty straightforward.

Here are the basic dos and don’ts of the hyphenation rules.

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[Infographic] Help For Writer’s Block: 7 Tips to Boost Your Creativity

Student suffering from writers blockDo you need help for Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is inevitable; it can happen at any point and, when it does, it’s a pretty serious problem.

There comes a time in every writer’s life when the creativity, desire, and motivation to produce an amazing piece of literature just stops dead. You know you need to keep on writing: you have a deadline to meet, your readers are waiting to read your next installment or you know Google will be shortly de-ranking your site for infrequent content. But sitting there at your desk surrounded by empty coffee cups, a few scribbled notes and a snoring dog (that may just be me), you feel about as inspired as a soggy dishrag—and potentially just as worn out and smelly.

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[Infographic] Converting a Singular Noun to a Plural Noun

A plural noun is more than one person, place or thing. The majority of nouns in written English are transformed into their plural noun form through the addition of the letter “s” at the end of the word. However, this is not always the case and there are a number of rules that you should be aware of. Our free infographic provides a handy decision tree that you can use to decide how to change the singular form of a noun into the plural form. Simply start at the beginning and answer each question in turn in order to find out what the plural noun form of your word should look like.

If you’re looking for more practice advice on using nouns, check out our guides to concrete nouns and abstract nouns.

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