The general purpose of writing is to communicate views and ideas. What we (writers) intend to do is organize our written pieces in a way that provides some meaning. We aim to functionally organize sentences and paragraphs to help our readers follow the development of ideas just the way we conceived them.
By using logical writing, writers can deliver written works that meet standards in their particular field. Therefore, a logical flow of ideas is beneficial to both the writer and the audience.
What Is Logical Flow?
What does it mean to write a logical flow? Simply put, it’s all aspects of your writing which help the reader navigate smoothly from one section to another.
Imagine you’re on a road trip. You’re traveling on a good lonely road and you find a very big boulder blocking the road, or the road abruptly ends somewhere. Of course, if you have an off-road vehicle, you could use a dirt road.
Whatever the case, we can agree that this—boulder or the abrupt end—would probably suck all the thrill out of the road trip. You would probably just want to turn around and go home.
It’s a similar case with writing that is full of bumps, unexciting surprises, and… abrupt ends. The thing with most readers is, they don’t want to follow a train of thought, only for it to derail or lead to a dead-end.
Neither do they expect you to keep bombarding them with new ideas the very minute you start explaining another.
What logical flow offers your readers is an enjoyable, smooth read, and logical flow which culminates in a satisfactory conclusion.
Why Writing in Logical Order Is Important
Logical order enhances the overall quality of your paragraphs—by following well-organized points, you end up having a strong paragraph launch followed by effective subsections. It also helps the writer build coherent and consistent paragraphs.
Writing in logical order enables you—the writer—to improve the quality of written work by providing you a way to organize concepts from known to new. For example, writers who construct logically structured paragraphs are able to effectively communicate old ideas and introduce novel ones in the right context.
With logical order, readers develop a better understanding of the general propositions in your writing.
If your paragraphs have sentences that do not flow smoothly, your readers will find it difficult to understand them collectively. Contrastively, if those sentences are logically ordered and clearly connected, your readers can follow your general idea with ease.
Helps Maintain Consistency
Writing in logical order also helps writers improve their overall writing skills through consistency.
Written pieces with logical writing are always consistent in terms of style, tone, and other important aspects. As such, readers are rarely confused unless it’s an intended twist perfectly engineered by the writer.
Logical Sequence in Writing
There are three main ways of achieving logical flow in writing:
- Use transitional words or phrases.
- Address one point at a time.
- Create a sense of continuity.
1. Use transitional words or phrases
For your ideas to flow logically, you need to find appropriate transitional words to launch or glue your lines and paragraphs together.
Having paragraphs that are full of seemingly unrelated phrases, just bundled together without exhibiting sequence, continuity, or relativity is disastrous. Appropriate and hence effective transitions enable you to write paragraphs that are smooth, orderly, and logical. Your transitions should be able to seamlessly take your reader from one thought to another, one sentence to the next, and from one section to the other.
If there are no transitions, the paragraphs won’t flow nicely and will be discordant with each other. And, there’s nothing exciting about a piece of writing which consists of paragraphs that are barely related to one another.
Transitions are the glue; they link your ideas, facts, and explanations to bring out a logical structure which in turn keeps the reader reading.
Check out my article on how to use transition words effectively here.
2. Address One Point at A Time
The main aim of a logical structure is to provide a seamless succession of ideas until a satisfying conclusion is reached.
But there can’t be a seamless flow when the points are cluttered. The points ought to be introduced and thoroughly discussed, one after the other. The text should be written in such a way that the reader understands one idea before moving to the next one.
3. Create A Sense of Continuity
Logical writing has to offer a sense of continuity of style, tone, point of view, and tenses.
For instance, when a story starts from a third-person perspective, it is better to maintain that POV rather than unexpectedly switching to another POV—say, first-person. This sudden switch can only throw your reader off track.
Here’s an example:
The thief crept into the house a minute before Jeff arrived. As he pulled into the driveway, he noticed some unusual things: there lay a bicycle outside his garage and the light in his room was on. He knew right away that there was an intruder in his house.
I realized that I had to be stealthy. That fool was messing with the wrong guy.
The story started excitingly, but the last paragraph doesn’t seem to fit. You’d discern that it’s Jeff speaking but it’s so out of keeping with the POV consistency.
Inconsistencies in Point of View can also arise from jumbling the pronoun “We” with the pronouns “you” and “one”.
For example, the statement: “For most of us survival means you have to kill or be killed.” is inconsistent. That could be rewritten as “For most of us, survival means we have to kill or get killed.”
Your writing must also reflect consistencies in tenses and language usage.
Common Kinds of Logical Writing Order
Paragraphs written in random order only read to confusion rather than comprehension as readers find it hard to see how your ideas connect.
Not that I haven’t already said that a thousand times on this post only.
But it must be noted that there are several ways in which you can correctly arrange your sentences. Writers might come up with two different logical orders to describe one environment but the two logical orders may both, in fact, be correct.
A few of the most common logical orders are:
- Chronological order
- Logical division of ideas
- Order of importance
- Cause and effect
Each of these logical orders uses specific transition words to indicate the relationships between ideas.
1. Chronological Order
Paragraphs employing the chronological order use transitions indicating time: after WWII, since then, first, next, after that, before the last class, finally.
2. Cause and Effect
Transition words in a cause and effect paragraph demonstrate reasons and results. The transition words include: as a result, therefore, the first cause, the next reason, the first effect, because of.
To express similarity or comparison, we use transitions such as: just like, similarly, just as, as expensive as, compare with, in comparison, similarity.
The following expressions are used to describe differences or contrasts: in contrast, on the other hand, the most significant difference, unlike, larger than, differ from.
5. Order of Importance
We sometimes use order of importance to introduce logical division of ideas. We use transition words such as firstly, secondly, thirdly, and so on and so forth.
Logical Structure and Writing: A Short Example
Let’s take a look at an exemplary logical paragraph sewed together using effective transitions.
On Saturday, our first day on campus, we went to a pawn shop. After pawning some sports memorabilia, we drove into town, bought some beers and headed to the beach. Just a week after arriving on campus, we had already gotten into trouble. Whilst waiting for a disciplinary ruling, my partner in crime Eddie, went surfing for a whole two days. He had fun riding the waves and his fake stories were the main event around campfires for two nights. On the third day, he came back to find me packing my bags—we both had been expelled.
Good writers know how to combine the elements of different types of paragraphs to effectively express their ideas and properly communicate the intentions of their writing.
Writing paragraphs with a good structure is essential, as it helps the readers follow your writing with less difficulties.