STUDENT DEVELOPMENT CLUB #12: SECRETS OF BETTER ACADEMIC WRITING: How To Start A Sentence with Time-Ordering Transitions (Then, next, afterwards, before, first, firstly, second, secondly, finally, prior to)

STUDENT DEVELOPMENT CLUB #12: SECRETS OF BETTER ACADEMIC WRITING: How To Start A Sentence with Time-Ordering Transitions (Then, next, afterwards, before, first, firstly, second, secondly, finally, prior to)


A sentence can be started by a number of ways.  A good writer or speaker uses correct and appropriate sentence openers in order to deliver the message to the reader or listener effectively and professionally.
The following is one of the ways you can start a sentence as you write or speak:

The sentence openers can be introduced by the transitions about time ordering and listing, such as:
Then …
Afterwards …
Prior to + Noun Phrase
Before + Noun Phrase
Finally/Lastly …

Then: it is a sentence connector/starter that means 'in that case, as a consequence, subsequently, soon afterward, that time or that moment'.
Then, you should go and see a doctor.
Then, we can go together if you wish so.
Then, you can work in groups.

Afterwards: it means something that happens or follows after one has been done or started. In this case, it also means 'later on' or 'later'.
We will visit my aunt. Afterwards, we will go to my uncle.
Let's finish our homework. Afterwards, we will play.
Tell them to complete their task. They will go home afterwards.

First(ly): It means 'before anything else', 'first', 'foremost', or 'first of all'.
Firstly, we will visit my aunt. Then, we will go to my uncle.
Firstly, finish your homework.
Firstly, go home.

Second(ly): It means ‘second or in the second place’.
Secondly, I would like to thank all attended guests for their patience.
Secondly, we will enjoy the party.
Secondly, I welcome all distinguished guests.

Next: it means the present moment, close, following immediately, or immediately following.
Next, the guests will be introduced by MC.
The general inspection will be next.
Next, all invited guests will take their seats.

Prior to + Noun Phrase: it means 'earlier in time'.
Prior to the meeting, the invited guests will have a breakfast.
We will have to talk prior to the meeting.
There will be school inspection prior to the commencement of class lessons.

Before + Noun Phrase: Before: it means earlier in time, previously, earlier, ahead.
Before saying anything, I would like to thank you all for this tremendous attendance.
Before arrival, the guests will need a special standing ovation.
Before much trouble, it is better to take precautions.

Finally: it means the end item at the end, as the end result of something or process, eventually, last, lastly, in conclusion, or at length.
Finally:  it may also entail the item at the end, in conclusion, finally, or last.
Finally, I would like to thank all attended guests for their patience.
Finally, we enjoyed the party.
Finally, the people disappeared and everyone went home.

For More Practices Use Out-Come Oriented Teaching Resources
Why we should use the following resources? It's because they are found in our students' life and when they are used, they produce tremendous learning outcomes to them. These resources are:
Radio broadcasts
TV broadcasts
Audio or visual music
Audio or visual speeches
Audio or visual movies
By using one, or some of the above teaching resources, give the students the following tasks:

Task 1: Listening
Play an audio and let students identify what they have learnt.

Task 2: Speaking
Put students in pairs and guide them to practice orally what they have learnt. Make sure you give them clear instructions before they take over.

Task 3: Reading
Give students the text to read and ask them to identify sentences with the sentence patterns learnt.

Task 4: Writing
Give students writing task. Give them clear instructions on what to write about while making sure they write properly what you have taught them.

Note: To understand well if the selected materials contains the required information and target skills and whether they relevant culturally and contextually, the teacher have to go through the materials by checking them. For example, if it is a part of the speech, the teacher has to listen to it until he/she is satisfied that the content is relevant and appropriate to the students.

Coordinators are necessary in connecting the ideas, statements, and actions of the same status, that is, the sentences in which the parts involved have equal regards. Thus, in the matters of such quality, students have to understand how to express themselves.

In order to help students become masters of these Secrets of Better Academic Writing, they should be more engaged by giving them more speaking and writing tasks or activities in which they will use these addition transitions to construct various sentences, paragraphs, and the whole composition.

Also check out how to study and teach:
For more on how to study & teach English Language topics, visit the following class links:

For more on Literature Topics, check out Literature in English Blog
For how to be professional keeper of your Diary in both Kiswahili and English, check out Shajara Yangu Blog

For Form IV NECTA Examination Sections, check out Elaborated CSEE NECTA Examination Sections

Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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