How grocery shopping is like writing essay transitions Home Life / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

How in the world are transitions in an essay like grocery shopping???? Believe it or not, they are alike.  Work with me here!

When you go shopping for food, you put a lot of unrelated items in your cart. Maybe you get some bananas, a container of cinnamon, and some nonfat yogurt. While you are pushing them around the store, they are three separate things. After taking them home, however, you can combine them in your blender (with a few other things) and make a wonderful smoothie.

It’s like that with essay transitions. You see, your goal is to take three different thoughts and combine them into one essay. You do that through transitions. You will use four different transitions if you have three main points.

Your first transition will be between the introduction and the first main point. You need to go from getting our interest and telling us what your essay is about in your introduction to the first point; you don’t just start in. That would be like holding up the banana in your cart and declaring that it is a smoothie.

Nope, you have some work to do first. Your introduction has told me what to expect in the following pages, so now it is your job to start the first point by telling me that you are telling me about the first point. If you are a freshman, you might say something such as “First, this is abc because of xyz.” More advanced writers will use a more profound sentence, but this works for newbies.

The next transition is between points one and two. Perhaps you will write “not only do we have point a but we also have point b.” Again, this is very basic. As you become a stronger writer, you will write a more complex sentence (but you will still need to be concise).

You will then write a transition between points two and three and another one between point three and the conclusion. It is transitions that make your essay come together; it is the work of your blender to make the banana, cinnamon, and yogurt work together (along with other ingredients) to make those random purchases into a wonderful drink.

(By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, I have been using transitions throughout this blog posting. I hopefully got your attention by making the outrageous statement that grocery shopping is like writing transitions for essays. Then I talked about your first transition, went onto the next transitions, and then the last transition. That’s how it works!)


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.


  1. Well I truly enjoyed reading it. This information procured by you is very useful for correct planning.

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