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Monday, September 12, 2016 Writing Style: Continuity and Smoothness

Because many professors will ask you to work on your “style,” it can be super helpful to know what areas they’re talking about. Today we’ll look at continuity and smoothness, and you can’t have one without the other.


When I say "continuity," I’m referring to continuity in presentation of ideas. It is also sometimes referred to as "flow." To create a unified sentence, paragraph, or essay, you need to make sure there is continuity. Imagine a plane flight—if there wasn’t continuity from beginning to end, then the plane wouldn’t end up in the right place or it would crash or have other problems. There are two things APA recommends you look at to make sure your “plane” has a great trip:

  • Punctuation: According to the APA manual, 6th edition, these marks show “relationships between ideas.” Use punctuation to give hints to the reader as to how to read your paper.
  • Transitional words: these keep thoughts flowing. Three main types that you may find yourself using are time, cause and effect, and addition.


"Smoothness" has a pretty obvious meaning when it comes to writing and it reflects similar ideas to the continuity section above. For smoothness, there are a few things you’ll need to avoid:

  • Abruptness in between sentences
  • Abruptness in between ideas
  • Ambiguity
  • Unexpected ideas or words
  • Changes in verb tense
  • Incorrect grammar

Your reader should be able to anticipate what comes next in your paper. Writing smoothly will help them understand your points more clearly. If you work on improving your continuity and smoothness, you should be well on your way to writing a great paper!

Posted at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)
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