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Sequential Writing – Signal Words and Examples

Grade 5
Aug 7, 2023

Writing – Sequential Writing


Bill wants to tell his his morning routine, before school, to his friend. However, he has expressed his thoughts randomly)

I get out of my bed. I get dressed. I get on the bus and go to school. I eat breakfast. I brush my teeth. After breakfast, I cook my lunch.

  • Does this make any sense?
  • Did you understand what Bill was trying to say?

But if we link the events of the day and sequence them using signal words of sequential writing. we can understand what Bill wants to say.

Let’s give it a try.

First, I get out of my bed. Next, I brush my teeth. Then, I eat my breakfast. After breakfast, I prepare my lunch. Finally, I get into the bus and go to school.​


Now it makes sense, right?

This is called sequential writing.

Sequential writing is explaining an event in the order of its occurrence.

The following are signal words for sequential writing

  • First, second, third
  • Next, hen after, now, soon
  • Before, prior to, not long after
  • While, meanwhile, simultaneously, at the same time
  • Following, finally, at last, in the end
  • On (date), at(time)
  • Directions

Telling or writing stories is common in any language.


In each of situations, and many others are used where you have to tell some situations as well as give information about something that happened previously.

To help the reader understand your stories, you need to link this information from the past incidents together.

The activity described below is a good example of sequential writing using signal words. (Highlighted in example)

Example Passage: A Conference in Chicago

Last week, I visited Chicago to attend a business conference. While I was there, I decided to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. To start off, my flight was delayed. Next, the airline lost my luggage, so I had to wait for two hours at the airport while they tracked it down. Unexpectedly, the luggage had been set aside and forgotten.
As soon as they found my luggage, I found a taxi and rode into town. During the ride into town, the driver told me about his last visit to the Art Institute. After I had arrived safely, everything began to go smoothly. The business conference was very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the institute. Finally, I caught my flight back to Seattle.

Luckily, everything went smoothly. I arrived home just in time to kiss my daughter goodnight.

Sequential Writing of a Story

Sequential writing of a story refers to the identification of the component of a story and the order in which events happen. It is also the ability to re-tell the events in the order in which they occurred.

  1. The beginning
  2. Middle
  3. End

a) Beginning Your Story

Create the start of your story with the following expressions using a comma after the introductory phrase.

  • First of all,
  • To start off with,
  • Initially,
  • To begin with,

b) To Continue Your Story

The following expressions or using a time clause like “as soon as” or “after.”  can help you to continue your story.

You need to use the past simple after the time expression given below:

  1. Then,
  2. After that,
  3. Next,
  4. As soon as / When + full clause,
  5. …but then
  6. Immediately

c) The end of your story can be made with the following words and expressions like:

  1. Finally,
  2. In the end,
  3. Eventually

For Events Occurring at the Same Time in the Story Use While and As.

For Example:

  1. While Jack was giving the presentation, a member of the audience asked a very interesting question.
  2. Jennifer told her story as I prepared lunch.

Use of “during”

For Example:

  1. During the meeting, John came over and asked me some interesting questions.
  2. Tina explored a number of approaches during the presentation.
Sequential writing


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