I am given a task that required explanation of a procedure. The procedure (just an example) for making a banana shake would be as follows:

  Get 1 dozen bananas
  Get 1/2 a liter of milk
  Get 2 tbsp. of Sugar

  Put all the ingredients in a Blender

  Let the blender run for 1 minute

  Add ice cubes to the produce inside the blender

Now, If I were to write the explanation of the aforementioned procedure, It would be as follows (relevant words are highlighted)-

Firstly, we got 1 dozen bananas, 1/2 a liter of milk and 2 tablespoon of Sugar. Then we put the ingredients inside the Blender. After which we let the blender run for a minute. In the end we added ice cube to the milkshake.

Problem:- The words which I have highlighted in the bold are my concern. I just can't begin sentences properly, and hide my inability behind words like

  • In the beginning
  • Then
  • After which
  • Following
  • In the end

This problem is concealed if the explanation is short, as sentences sound natural then. But if the explanation becomes bigger (which is usually the case), I end up repeating the aforementioned set of phrases over and over at the beginning of a sentence. This makes the text unprofessional, as the beginning of the sentence is dependent on its position within the text.

So, is there any way to improve this style of procedural writing?

  • 3
    Since none of the intro phrases add information to the procedure, leave them all out. Look at a cookbook for the best way to organize a procedure, especially a recipe. Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 6:17
  • 2
    Your recipe has two steps, only: Blend 12 bananas, 1/2 liter milk, and 2 Tbs. sugar for one minute. Serve with ice. Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 6:22
  • 3
    Is this for a science prac report? Who are you writing for?
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 8:54
  • 6
    Writing advice is outside the scope of this forum, but, as Yosef has suggested, I would advise (a) combining 2 or 3 of your short steps in longer sentences, and (b) not using an introductory word for every sentence. It's obvious to the reader that the next action you describe is 'what you did next'. Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 9:02
  • 2
    I've removed your PS question, as writing critiques are off-topic here, but your main question - how to write a sequence of steps without repetitive phrases to link each step - is perfectly on-topic here. (I say this for the benefit of the close-voters as much as for your own benefit).
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


As @kate-bunting has mentioned in a comment, you can avoid using the first/next/then kind of sentence starters by combining sentences, and especially by using subclauses (that contain actual information) instead.

To stick with your example:

We put 1 dozen bananas, 1/2 a liter of milk and 2 tablespoon of sugar into a blender. After running the blender for a minute, we added ice cubes to the milkshake.

An alternative solution suggested by several commenters is to skip the introductory phrases entirely and rely on the reader expecting the description to happen in chronological order. However, without any kind of transition that might read weird (or maybe it just doesn't work in this simplified example), so you might still want to combine statements into longer sentences.

Our ingredients were 1 dozen bananas, 1/2 a liter of milk and 2 tablespoon of sugar into a blender. We put them into a blender, ran it for a minute, and added ice cubes to the milkshake.

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