AP English Language
Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High
The “Connective Tissue” Issue
Throughout this book, we use the term connective tissue. For us, this “tissue issue” has four components. The most obvious refers to transitions between paragraphs or sections of a piece. The other three are not as readily recognizable as is transition, but you need to know that they play a major role in the coherence of a written work. The mature reader and writer will learn to recognize and employ these elements:
• Transition—indicates a logical connection between ideas
• Subject consistency—the subjects of the main clauses in a sequence of sentences are consistent (inconsistency is often the result of passive voice)
Example: no: The photography was by Ansel Adams. I have always been a fan of this great photographer. The temptation to buy the photo due to the price was quite strong.
yes: I have always been a fan of the great photographer Ansel Adams. Because of the price of one of his photographs, I was tempted to buy it.
• Tense consistency—the use of the same tense throughout the selection
Example: no: When I have driven to work, I always used the same route.
yes: I always use the same route when I drive to work.
• Voice consistency—use of the active voice and avoidance of the passive voice when possible
Example: no: The bear was seen when Tim opened the door.
yes: Tim opened the door and saw the bear.
Note: Another method of creating cohesion and topic adherence is the use of “echo words” or synonymous words or phrases throughout the selection.
Those authors you recognize as good writers are skilled at building connective tissue. You should be able to recognize it and to employ it in your own work.
The following is a guide to transitional words and phrases.
Most often used and most “natural” transitions in sentences or brief sequences of sentences:
Some other commonly used transitions between paragraphs or sections of longer works:
• Numerical: first, second, third, primarily, secondly, and so forth
• Sequential: then, finally, next
• Additional: furthermore, moreover, again, also, similarly
• Illustrative: for example, for instance, to illustrate
• Contrast, comparison, alternative: on the other hand, nevertheless, conversely, instead, however, still
• Cause and effect: therefore, consequently, as a result, accordingly
• Affirmation: of course, obviously, indeed
Here is an activity that will provide practice with transitions. Using one of your essays, highlight all of the transitions and complete the following:
The following are the transition words/phrases that I have used to connect each paragraph to the one before it.
If you find that you are missing a needed transition between paragraphs, indicate that on the appropriate line that corresponds to that paragraph. Then, write the needed transitional word or phrase.
Note: This practice activity should be one which you do as often as possible. You may wish to do this type of editing with your class or study group. No matter how you do it, just DO IT.