Use Transitional Words|
One of your major tasks as a writer is to indicate to your readers how the topic of each sentence relates to the different topic of the previous sentence.
One way to do that is to include transitional words and phrases that explicitly state the relationship. Note some of the most commonly used words and their functions:
Functions of transitional words:
[Source: Bate, Doutglas. Sharpe, Peter.Student Writer's Handbook (1990) Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. NSW.]
Use echo Words and recurrent images
Another way to guide your readers from one sentence to the next is to use echo words. Most sentences contain some word or phrase that recalls to the readers' minds some information thy've already encountered. Such words and phrases migh be called echo words because they echo something the readers already know.
Consider the following example:
In this example, the noun cure at the beginning of the second sentence echoes the verb cured in the first. It tells the readers that what follows will discuss the curing that they have just read about.
In other cases, the echo word can be a pronoun:
Sometimes, an echo word is another word from the same "word family" as the word being echoed:
In this example, oscilloscope in the second sentence echoes lab equipment in the first because people know that an oscilloscope is a piece of lab equipment.
Finally, an echo word can be a word or set of words that recall some idea or theme expressed but not explicitly stated in the preceding sentence:
In this example, the words these transactions tell readers that what will follow in the sentence concerns the purchasing and retiring that were discussed in the preceding sentence.
Furthermore, a sentence may contain more than one echo word:
Place transitional words and echo words at the beginning of the sentence
Transitional words and echo words will help your readers most if you use them at the beginning of your sentences. That's because, even while they are reading the beginning of a sentence, your readers already want to know what relationship that sentence has to the preceding one. To understand the difficulties you can create for readers by postponing the appearance of your echo words, imagine that you have just read this sentence in a report:
After completing that sentence, you begin the next. The first word you read is:
What has the new information contained in the word sales to do with the old information in the preceding sentence? You can't tell. The next words are:
Do you know the relationship between the two sentences yet? you may have a guess, but you can't be sure. The next words are:
which are followed by:
Your suspicions about the reltionship between the two sentences may now be very strong, but you still have only a guess. You know for sure only after you read the last three words of the sentence:
Think how much easier your reading would have been had the second sentence been written so that the echo words appeared at the beginning, not the end, of the sentence:
[Source: Anderson, Paul, V. Technical writing - a Reader-centered approach (1991) Harcourt, brace, Jovanovich. USA.]