How to Describe Chronological Order

Posted on: November 23, 2009

Chronological order deals with time. If part or all of the document you are working on needs to be organized by when things occur, then use chronological order.

For example, if you are trying to teach someone how to do something, chronological order can be a very powerful organizational tool. Depending on the subject matter or product, you might want to sequence chapters chronologically, or perhaps just the content of one or more chapters. Individual procedures are often organized chronologically, because they teach someone how to accomplish a task.

Here are some words that show chronological order: during, before, finally, previous, later, while, then, after, first, next, last, earlier, in turn, and subsequently. There are, of course, many others.

Notice that these words help your audience stay oriented in a taskflow, because they link a series of steps in order of occurrence. They help your customers follow your instructions more easily, because they indicate when an action is to be performed.

Here are several examples of sentences that use chronological order:

Before you begin, make sure you have all items listed on the packing slip.”

First, press the F1 key, then press the Backspace key twice, and finally press the Enter key.”

While adding the sugar to the mixture, keep the beater on high speed.”

Time flies, time passes, time is of the essence. To get things done in proper sequence, we need chronological order.  Elizabeth Lexleigh  The Write Ideas


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