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Improve Your English Writing Skills with 7 Words to Transition to a New Topic

Strengthen your English writing skills by starting a new paragraph with a phrase that clearly identifies your focus point for the reader.

The key to good writing is thinking from the reader’s perspective. Whenever you write anything, your goal is to make it as easy to understand as possible so that the reader can fully understand your message without needing to read it several times.

Therefore, when you are changing your focus point within a writing document, or even during a conversation, it’s important to communicate this to the reader or listener to ensure that they can expect this change.

In order to introduce a new focus point, consider the following words/phrases:

  • Concerning

  • Regarding

  • With regard to

  • With respect to

  • When it comes to

  • In terms of

  • As for

The words/phrases above are either prepositions (concerning, regarding) or a phrase that ends with a preposition (to, of), which means that each of them must connect to a noun or noun phrase, not a clause (a clause is the combination of a noun and a base form verb). In the examples below, can you identify which are correct because the expression connects to a noun or noun phrase, and which are incorrect because it connects to a clause?

  1. Concerning the meeting that we will have tomorrow,…

  2. Regarding we will have a meeting tomorrow,…

  3. With regard to your request for information,…

  4. With respect to you asked me for information,…

  5. As for improve your writing,…

  6. In terms of writing improvement,…

  7. When it comes to improving your writing,…

The correct examples above are 1, 3, 6, and 7. These are all correct because the phrase that comes after the preposition is mainly a noun:

  • “the meeting that we will have tomorrow” = noun + adjective clause ("that we will have tomorrow”)

  • “your request for information” = noun + preposition + noun

  • “writing improvement” = noun + noun (“writing” is a gerund, and gerunds are nouns)

  • “improving your writing” = noun + noun (“improving” is a gerund, and “writing” is a gerund)

The incorrect examples are incorrect because the preposition connects to a clause:

  • “we will have a meeting tomorrow” (subject = we, present base form verb = have)

  • “you asked me for information” (subject = you, past base form verb = asked)

  • “improve your writing” (present base form verb = improve)

After you connect a noun or noun phrase to these expressions, then you can add a clause to create a proper sentence. Use a comma after the noun phrase and before the clause begins. In the examples below, the clause is underlined:

  • Concerning the meeting that we will have tomorrow, the location was changed to the boardroom.

  • With regard to your request for information, I have sent you a digital file with all of the details.

  • In terms of writing improvement, proper grammar is an essential part of creating clear sentences.

  • When it comes to improving your writing, it’s a good idea to proofread a document after writing it.

The Advantage of Using These Expressions

The most appropriate time to use these expressions is at the beginning of a new paragraph when you are transitioning to new topic or focus point within a document. For example, if you are writing about the experience of living in another country, you could use these expressions to transition to new topics such as “culture shock”, “making friends”, “working abroad”, etc.

Living in another country has many advantages but also comes with many challenges. It can be an experience that changes a person’s life, or on the other hand, it can easily become a nightmare depending on how prepared someone is for the country and culture that they are entering.

With regard to culture shock, there are many differences that can cause people to feel like an outsider. The main sources of culture shock are often……..

When it comes to making friends, living in a different country is more challenging because people do not have an existing network to use and do not feel part of their community…………

Concerning working abroad, companies in a foreign country can have very different expectations of their employees than the expectations back home, which can easily cause misunderstandings or conflict……



Practice

Imagine that you are writing a complaint letter to a hotel because you are not satisfied with your experience. Write the first sentence for each body paragraph of your letter (don’t worry about including the introduction paragraph) based on the following topics:

  • The front desk staff

  • The room

  • The housekeeping service

  • The food at the restaurant

  • The swimming pool

  • The internet

Ex. “Regarding the front desk staff, they were very unhelpful when I asked them for advice about the city.”

Possible Answers

  • Regarding the front desk staff,…

  • As for the room,…

  • In terms of the housekeeping service,…

  • Concerning the food at the restaurant,…

  • When it comes to the swimming pool,…

  • With respect to the internet,…

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