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Time for a good segue

As I join the Red Pony team, it seems the perfect time to write about segues. A segue is ‘an uninterrupted transition from one piece of music or film scene to another’ in musical terms or, more generally, a ‘smooth transition from one role, state, or condition to another’ (Oxford Dictionaries). The second of these definitions applies to a couple of recent developments at Red Pony.

Firstly, the Red Pony office has moved, albeit not very far. Our new home is just across the corridor in Normanby Chambers at Suite 105. This has definitely been a smooth transition; no mean feat in today’s world where moving connections and services often presents a far greater challenge than moving physical possessions.

My arrival at Red Pony has also helped facilitate my own transition from writing and editing health-related material, to writing and editing documents in corporate and government contexts. While these areas may seem very different, the need for clear, and clearly structured, evidence-based writing is common to all.

Coming back to our word of the day, ‘segue’ is a peculiar term, and one that people often misspell. This is possibly because it’s derived from the Italian ‘seguire’ – to follow or continue, and so isn’t phonetically written for English speakers. It’s also often confused with its phonetically spelled homophone ‘Segway’, which is a proprietary term and proper noun, and so always written with a capital ‘S’. That version is a clever corruption of the original given that it describes a ‘self-balancing motorised personal transporter’ that seems to glide effortlessly from one point to another. The word ‘segue’ can also be confusing because it can function as either a noun or a verb. You can use a segue to achieve a change in topic, or you can segue from one topic to another.

For professional speakers, who must be able to shift easily from one subject to another, the segue is a tool of the trade. Comedians and MCs in particular must bring their audience along with them from one joke or segment to another without material seeming clunky or disjointed.

For writers, smooth links between information and ideas are also important. In writing terms, however, these linking words and phrases are referred to as transitions or transitional devices rather than segues. Such literary devices help content to flow as they carry the reader from one sentence, paragraph or idea to another.

Literary devices, along with punctuation, grammar, word selection and writing style, are all ways that writers can help readers to follow and interpret text. Some of these have already featured in previous issues of Red Pony Express. Others are pencilled in for upcoming issues and I’m looking forward to writing more posts to share these with you.

Image credit: via Pixabay

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