How to Link Paragraphs in Scientific English

In How to Link Sentences in Scientific English, we looked at how to link sentences by taking elements from one sentence and connecting them to parts of other sentences. Before reading this article about how to link paragraphs, you should read that article first. This article will be using information from that article.

Linking Paragraphs in Scientific English

When we were looking at sentences, we spoke about topic-topic linking and stress-topic linking. Topic-topic is used to give more general (i.e. parallel) information about a subject whereas stress-topic usually allows you to clarify or give deeper knowledge about one aspect of the topic.

It turns out we can also use these two linking methods for linking paragraphs in scientific articles. Let’s take a look at the following example:

(First Paragraph) The interactions of coatings and humics can alter surface redox potentials and particle aggregation.

(Second Paragraph) Aggregation of nanotitanium oxide particles coated with hydrophobic coatings …

In the example above, we can see that the first paragraph is talking about how coatings on nanoparticles can change their chemical properties. This then changes how nanoparticles interact and aggregate with each other. The next paragraph then goes into more depth about one type of nanoparticle with a specific type of coating. This example uses stress-topic linking, specifically aggregation, to link these paragraphs together.

Let’s look at another paragraph:

(First Paragraph) The interactions of coatings and humics can alter surface redox potentials and particle aggregation.

(Second Paragraph) Because nanoparticle interactions heavily influence their behavior on the macroscale, choosing the right coating is of paramount importance to water filter design.

In this example, both paragraphs link through the concept of interactions. As “interactions” is the subject of each paragraph, this is an example of topic-topic linking.

Both types of linking across paragraphs (i.e. from one to the next) increases the flow of your article. In turn, this increases the

Something keeps going wrong when I try to link paragraphs

If you are having trouble linking paragraphs, it may be because something has gone wrong. Ask yourself these questions about your paragraphs:

Should these paragraphs even link to each other?

The first thing to ask yourself when having trouble linking two paragraphs is “are these paragraphs even related”. To do that, look at the topics of each.

If they share the same topic, then linking is definitely possible. Most likely you will need to use topic-topic linking. Repetition (either direct or indirect) of the topic at the beginning of each paragraph will help you set this up. If the subject is the same but

Is one a more specific topic than the other? If so, then it is likely you will need stress-topic linking. Typically in this construction, the last topic of the first paragraph is what you link to the first topic of the second paragraph. If you are unable to move your sentences around with the paragraphs to make this happen, it is likely that something is missing. For example, there should be a paragraph between those two.

Tip: do not be scared to rewrite anything that does not flow well. The better it flows, the better the quality of your writing, which leads to other benefits like user retention. We will talk more about this in an article on retaining readers.

Still not linking together?

If you find that some of your paragraphs are still not linking well, the reason might not be the paragraphs themselves. Instead, it could be a sign that the layout of the article itself has a problem; your section arcs may be missing something; the way you are reporting your science may also be at fault; your paragraph structure may need some work. However, these are the focus of other posts (please click the links for more information).


Interested in learning more about Scientific English? You can read a brief post on the History and Use of Scientific English here. More posts on Scientific English are available on the Scientific English page.

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