Transition words and phrases help make a piece of writing flow better and connect one idea to the next. Because there's more than one way to connect ideas, there are many types of transitional phrases to show a variety of relationships. Some words will help you show the order in which events occur, while others explain a cause-and-effect relationship or allow you to present your ideas in a hierarchy of importance.
What Are Transition Words and Phrases?
The most basic transition words are conjunctions that join words, phrases or clauses together. For example, words like "and," "but" and "or" can connect two sentences together:
I ran home, and I got there just in time.
I ran home, but I was still late.
As you can see in the example above, even simple conjunctions serve different purposes. The first sentence uses "and" as a transition word that connects the two occurrences equally. The second sentence uses "but," which introduces a contrast. Knowing what different transition words mean will help you choose the ones that best get your point across.
Other transition words are adverbs that describe the way an action is performed or how it relates to another idea. For example:
I went to the mall after he gave me my paycheck.
Bowling is a sport in which the player with the highest score wins. Conversely, the goal in golf is to get the lowest score.
Placement of Transition Words
Transition words can be used within a single sentence, between two different sentences or even between paragraphs. See how the writing below can be improved by adding transition words in each of these situations.
Original: Susan spoke, thinking of the right answer.
With Transitions: Susan spoke only after thinking of the right answer.
In this case, the transition words are used to connect two parts of a single sentence. This transition highlights chronology, or the order in which events occurred.
Original: Michael didn't have enough money to buy his mom flowers. He wasn't old enough to get a job. He felt sad on Mother's Day.
With transitions: Michael didn't have enough money to buy his mom flowers because he wasn't old enough to get a job. Nevertheless, he felt sad on Mother's Day.
The example above combines two sentences into one and helps a third sentence flow logically from the one before it. Adding these transition words shows how three disjointed sentences are related to each other, which otherwise might not be obvious to the reader.
When transitions are used between paragraphs, they are often in the form of a phrase or clause that refers to the previous information while introducing a new idea. These transitions often come at the beginning of new paragraphs and may use phrases like these:
- In addition to point A, point B is also important.
- In conclusion, the thesis is clear.
- It follows logically that the answer results from the points made earlier in this paper.
Categories of Transition Words
There are several types of transitional words and phrases, and each category helps the reader to make certain connections. Some signal the building of an idea, while others help readers compare ideas or draw conclusions.
Here are some common transition words and examples of them in use.
These transitions point out alternatives or differences:
- on the contrary
The boy liked birds, but he was afraid of cats. Similarly, he did not like lions and tigers. On the contrary, he liked animals that could fly, such as sparrows and falcons. Likewise, he thought bats were the most interesting mammals thanks to their wings.
These transitions help define time:
Before you go home, make sure you jot down your assignments so you can review your work during the evening. Later, you'll be glad you did when you can simultaneously study and eat dinner.
These transitions show the consequences of an action:
- as a result
Since you're such a good student, you'll get into a good college. Therefore, you can get a job you like. As a result, you should be a happy person, because it's much easier to be happy when you do something you love and make good money.
These transitions add emphasis or introduce evidence:
- to demonstrate
Ellen loves ice cream. Truly, she'd be happy to eat sundaes every day—specifically, chocolate fudge brownie sundaes. To demonstrate her love of ice cream, Ellen is planning an ice cream social for all her friends.
These transitions add information or reinforce ideas:
Jonas promised to love, honor and also obey his wife. Moreover, he will do all the cooking and cleaning while he studies at home. Furthermore, he is grateful that his new wife earns enough money to let him do that.
These transitions show support:
- to put it another way
- in other words
- that is
I hate school; that is, I dislike it intensely. In other words, I want to drop out. To put it another way, school is the worst place in the world.
These transitions present conditions or intentions:
- with this in mind
With what was possibly the greatest catch of all time, the Patriots won the Super Bowl. They almost always win big games. With this in mind, they could be called the greatest team of all time.
These transitions restate ideas:
- as can be seen
- given these points
- in the long run
All the facts have been presented and, as can be seen, the results are clear. Given these points, it's clearly time to consider some changes. In the long run, these recommendations will benefit our company.
Building Smooth Transitions
These are just a few examples of the many transition words and phrases available in the English language to make your writing more cohesive. Bear in mind, that it is possible for some words to be placed in more than one category, depending on the way you use it or the ideas you're trying to connect. For a longer list of transition words, see Transitional Word Lists for Students. The more transition words you use in your writing, the smoother and more interesting it will be for your readers.
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Examples of Transitional Words and Phrases
By YourDictionaryTransition words and phrases help make a piece of writing flow better and connect one idea to the next. Because there's more than one way to connect ideas, there are many types of transitional phrases to show a variety of relationships. Some words will help you show the order in which events occur, while others explain a cause-and-effect relationship or allow you to present your ideas in a hierarchy of importance.
Two sentences become a sentence, using transitions words or phrases that link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas. Here is a list of some common transition word that can be helpful for writer to use the word to link two sentences.
Click on the links below to take you to sample transition words and sample sentences
NOTE: the words that show transition are bold.
Words that ADD information:
Words that ADD informationalsoandanotherbesidefirst, second, third,...furthermorein additionmoreover
- The little girl put on her yellow shirt and brown overalls.
- Chris is on the basketball team this semester at Indiana School for the Deaf. In addition, he is on the soccer team.
- We will be here for one more week so we can finish up our work. Another reason we are staying longer is because we do not want to miss the Deaf Way conference.
- First of all, pour a half-cup of milk in the bowl; second, add two eggs; and third, stir the mixture.
- I admire I. King Jordan because he is the first deaf president of Gallaudet. Besides that, I admire him because he is a great long distance runner. Furthermore, he is a dedicated family man. All in all, there is not much to dislike about the man, except he is too perfect!
- Crystal likes camping in the mountains. Also, Crystal is an experienced hiker.
- Texas School for the Deaf is perfectly located. Moreover, it has a strong academic program. For example, the school has a preschool program where both deaf and hearing children learn together.
Words that show CONCLUSION:
Words that show CONCLUSIONfinallyin conclusionto concludeto sum up
- There were a lot of problems discussed at the meeting. Finally, after a few hours, we were able to prioritize the problems in the order we wanted to solve the problems.
- Many parents and students have been complaining about the program. For example, scores on the end-of-grade tests have gone down from last year; teachers are not very motivated; and everyone is frustrated. To sum up, some improvements in the middle school program need to be made.
- To conclude, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season.
- There was a malfunction in the smoke machines and lights, the curtains would not open and close properly, and one of the actors was sick with no stand-in. In conclusion, the play was a disaster.
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Words that REPEAT information
Words that REPEAT informationin factin other wordsonce againto put it another wayto repeat
- That area is very dangerous for you to bike in. To repeat, I warn you not to go there.
- Lisa decided not to go to King Islands. In fact she told me, "No, way."
- I feel that our last Student Council meeting did not go well. In other words, it was a fine mess.
- Sally has lost an oar on her boat and she is in big trouble. To put it another way, Sally has to find a different method of rowing or she will sink!
Words that show COMPARISON:
Words that show COMPARISONas ... asin like manneras iflikeby comparisonlikewisein comparisonsimilarly
- At St. Rita School for the Deaf, a private school, there is a dress code that mandates how the students are to dress. The boys must wear a pair of pants and dress shirts. Similarly, the strict dress code requires plaid skirts and blouses for the girls.
- Like her grandmother, Sally loves the Gallaudet Homecoming football game.
- The news reported that Montana would be very cold this week. I said, "Likewise, Rochester will be, too."
- Ronda bought a new Saturn car; so in like manner the rest of her friends did the same thing.
- By comparison, Greensboro, N.C. is much smaller than Washington, D.C. is.
- The cat acts as if he is the boss of the house.
- The cat is as proud as a king.
- Bob loves to go to parties. In comparison, Sue loves to stay at home with her family.
- Compared to seven years ago when the printer worked well, it has been "ill" a great deal of the time in recent weeks.
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Words that show CONTRASTS or DIFFERENCES:
Words that show CONTRASTS or DIFFERENCESalthoughbuthoweverin contrastin spite ofneverthelessnonethelessrather thanthoughunlikeyet
- I am not able to go to the beach with you. Nevertheless, thanks for asking me.
- Karen's cat, Salem is so unlike Midnight. Midnight likes to nap a lot and Salem likes to play a lot.
- The idea of attending the play at Gallaudet is nice. However, the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research conference is scheduled at the same time.
- He prefers to attend the play rather than attending the conference.
- Though I eat green beans because they are healthy, I hate them.
- Although Steven was extremely tired, he washed the dishes.
- The play was great, nonetheless, I was sick of seeing it after the fourth time.
- Amber, Sharon, and Megan went to Busch Gardens for the day. In spite of the cold weather, they enjoyed themselves.
- Sharon and Megan enjoyed the Loch Ness Monster ride, but Amber thought that Alpengist was faster and had more twists.
- Sharon has not visited the Land of the Dragons, yet if she had had a kid, she would have gone by now.
- Alexander Graham Bell believed in oral education for deaf children. This is in contrast to Edward Miner Gallaudet who believed in using American Sign Language to educate deaf children.
Words that show a TIME relationship:
Words that show a TIME relationshipafter so much timeafter thatat firstbeforebeginning, endingeventuallyearliereven whenever sincefollowingfrom then onfrom, toin timelastlatermeanwhilenear, farnextnowoversoonstillthe next day, nightthenwhile
- Stephen went to pick up Irene before he stopped by McDonald's for lunch.
- Karen was out with her friend last night.
- We need to wash our clothes, after that we can go to the Taste of D.C. festival.
- I can't wait to watch "NYPD," it is coming on soon. You can watch the rerun later this week.
- Finally, I will get to see Rick Schroder. He has not been acting much since he was a teenager.
- The beginning of the movie was sadder than the ending.
- After so much time waiting in the long line, the boys finally got their hamburgers.
- The Van Gogh art exhibit was shown earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
- Wait until tonight, then you will be able to see the full moon over Gallaudet's Chapel Hall.
- The show is not over until the actors take their final bows at the end.
- While Missy was driving to work, she saw a deer by the roadside. She slowed down to watch the deer for a short time, then continued on her way to work.
- Even when Sally was able to, she did not bother to finish her ASL project.
- Clerc met with Gallaudet to prepare for the Congressional meeting scheduled for the next day.
- The next night was very dark and stormy. Of course, it was Halloween night!
- "Next, please," the lady called when it was my turn to go up to the booth to have my paycheck cashed.
- Bobby's broken ankle will heal in time for the Maryland Deaf Festival.
- That house felt very creepy inside; meanwhile, it was sunny outside.
- Eventually, Sally got tired of John calling her on the TTY all the time since she was not interested in him.
- She was still asleep when I got back home from work.
- Now, please get this truck fixed because I need it to get to school on time!
- Schools for the deaf used Sign Language until the dreadful conference in Milan; from then on, most schools for the deaf employed the oral method.
- Super Kmart is near Landmark Mall, but Ames is far away from the mall. So it would be easier to shop at Super Kmart.
- It will take two hours to go from Point A to Point B. Can you figure out how many hours it is from Point A to Point C?
- At first, I thought it was a dead animal. As I walked closer, I saw it was only a worn-out coat on the ground.
- Looking beyond this month, I predict that funding will be much better for this program.
- Everyone hid out in the hall during the hurricane, hoping they would be safe.
- Rebecca has not eaten at Lone Star ever since she became sick from eating the food.
- Following "Friends" and "Mad about You," "ER" will be shown. "ER" is supposed to have two Deaf actresses on the show tonight.
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Words that LIMIT or PREPARE for an example:
Words that LIMIT or PREPARE for an examplefor examplefor instanceto illustratesuch as
- Not all birds eat berries. For example, vultures eat dead animals.
- Jeff is an interesting person to know. To illustrate, he knows a lot about the history of the Deaf community in Ireland.
- There are things that need to be done to improve the company. For instance, we can begin by organizing the files.
- I have a few things to take care of such as paying bills, cleaning the house, and going to the post office.
Words that show CAUSE (explain why):
Words that show CAUSE (explain why)becausebecause ofcaused by
- Midnight was not able to move around well because his hind legs were in casts. He broke them when he fell off the bookshelf.
- Did you see the tragic accident on I-85 south? It was caused by a drunk driver.
- Because it is raining today, the homecoming game and the food booths will be cancelled.
- I was late to work because of the heavy traffic.
Words that show EFFECT/RESULT:
Words that show EFFECT/RESULTSas a resultconsequentlyfor this/that reasonthat is whythereforethus
- It is raining today thus we are not going to the beach.
- The weather is supposed to be drizzly and chilly today; as a result, the Deaf Festival will be cancelled.
- I was too tired; therefore I decided not to go to the state fair last night.
- In 1903, William E. Hoy, a deaf baseball player, caught a fly ball in the ninth inning in spite of heavy fog. Consequently, Los Angles won the pennant for that year.
- Ricky worked all day, from 8am until 11pm. That is why he stayed home instead of going camping with us.
- The school bus broke down last week and has not been repaired yet. So for that reason, our dance group is unable to go to Washington, D.C. to perform at Kennedy Center.
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Words that ASSERT OBVIOUS TRUTH or GRANT OPPOSITION:
Words that ASSERT OBVIOUS TRUTH or GRANT OPPOSITIONcertainlyconceding thatgranted thatin factnaturallyno doubtof courseundoubtedlywithout a doubt
- There is no doubt that the dog buried the bone in the garden.
- Jeff told us an undoubtedly true story that was very scary.
- The judge, without a doubt, thinks capital punishment is wrong.
- Of course, Sarah is going to the beach this weekend with her parents. She needs a break from Gallaudet.
- Naturally Steven is not going to agree with that plan. In fact, he thinks that the idea of setting up a business selling scarves on K Street would surely fail.
- Certainly, you may borrow my book on the history of the American Deaf Community. But, be sure to return it to me next week.
- Granted that Bob promised to send some money to help with the bills, yet this doesn't mean that he will.
- Conceding that Sally is a strong skater, Rachel still believes she will be able to beat her in the Olympics. Rachel wants to become the first deaf ice skater to receive a gold medal.
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