Using Transitions

  • Transition words or phrases are needed in writing to guide the reader through your discussion or argument. They are like the road signs that tell the reader that you are about to give an example, a comparison, or a contrast. Transitions help to make your writing more “reader friendly” by linking sentences and paragraphs.

    Here are some reasons for using transitions to bridge your paragraphs:

    • Sentences and paragraphs should be coherently linked. Transitions create links in a chain.
    • In the topic sentence of the next paragraph, echo the previous paragraph’s main idea
    • In the parts of your writing where there is a major shift in focus, you can use transitional paragraphs. A transitional paragraph is a summary of what’s been discussed thus far along with an indication of the direction the essay will take next.

    The chart below lists some transition words or phrases. Try them out!

    To show addition

    and, also, besides, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, next, too, first, second

    To give examples

    for example, for instance, to illustrate, in fact, specifically

    To compare

    also, in the same manner, similarly, likewise

    To contrast

    but, however, on the other hand, in contrast, nevertheless, still, even though, on the contrary, yet, although

    To summarize or conclude

    in other words, in short, in summary, in conclusion, to sum up, that is, therefore

    To show time

    after, as, before, next, during, later, finally, meanwhile, then, when, while, immediately

    To show place or direction

    above, below, beyond, farther on, nearby, opposite, close, to the left

    To indicate logical relationship

    if, so, therefore, consequently, thus, as a result, for this reason, since

    The information on this page was adapted from:
    Trimmer, Joseph F.
    Writing With a Purpose. 11th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1995.