Speed Bump Words

Dec 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Articles

As a writer, you no longer deal with readers, but rather with “skimmers”.

Because of the internet and the information overload we all face, we merely skim articles. Knowing that readers are now “skimmers”, it is your job as a writer, to put in key words that will make the “skimmer” slow down and actually consider your ideas

I call these “speed bump words”, because they actually make the reader pause to consider your thoughts and ideas.

For instance to show how one idea ties into your next idea, you should use these “speed bump” words which include: therefore, hence, consequently, thus, meanwhile, afterwards, recently, frequently, increasingly, then, next, after, before, until, while, since, because, due to, as a result, and so, accordingly, it follows, when, currently, thereafter, soon, earlier, later, immediately, by that time, shortly, at the moment, today, next week, yesterday, during, at, finally, simultaneously, after a few hours, later, previously, formerly.

In keeping with the “skimming” rather that “reading theory”, you need to sprinkle comparison or contrast words throughout your paper to highlight an important comparison. These “speed bump words” include: likewise, similarly, in comparison, in contrast, however, but, yet, though, on one hand, on the other hand, nevertheless, in like manner, at the same time, even so, instead, still, on the contrary, otherwise, conversely, even so, in the same way, surely, nonetheless, surely, rather than, unlike, whereas, even so, conversely, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis-à-vis, also, but also, after all, although this may be true.

And it is helpful to “skimmers” to know when you are introducing a new idea. When you are introducing a new idea use these “speed bump” words: and, also, next, in addition, moreover, furthermore, firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally, besides, in the first place, likewise, similarly, too, another, as well as, or, nor, another, in the same way, like, for instance, in fact, again, and then, equally, important, next, lastly, what’s more

“Skimmers” also need to know when you admit that your opponent might actually be right, painful as that may be. In that case, when conceding a point, use these “speed bump” words. admittedly, granted that, of course, to be sure, although, though, obviously.

Moving away from “speed bump words” for a moment, let’s enter an ongoing fray between writers. Concluding words are where many writers disagree. There are two schools of thought. You should announce your conclusion, by using key phrases. Other writers, like me, tend to think that you are insulting your reader by saying “In conclusion.” For Pete’s sake, let’s assume your reader can understand that your final paragraphs are concluding paragraphs.

Finally, to wrap this up, in conclusion, to sum up, to conclude – see how irritating, and unnecessary, these concluding phrases can be?

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Philip Theibert is available for writing jobs and can be found at www.writingcoachnow.com. His latest two books: Potato Chip Economics and The Most Creative, Escape the Ordinary, Excel at Public Speaking Ever , will be out in Winter 2013.  Additional books written include: Business Writing for Busy People, How To Give A Damn Good Speech, Lessons in Corporate Change.
Articles have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Writer s Digest, Toast Masters, Executive Speaker, Vital Speeches and other publications.
Short stories and poems have appeared in Mobius, AURA, The Steel Toe LiteraryReview, WIngspans and other publications. Theibert is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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