Using Transitions | Kent State University

Using Transition Words

  • Transitions are words and phrases that help bring coherence to a paragraph by signaling relationships between and among sentences.  
  • Transitions help ideas flow from sentence to sentence.
  • The lack of transitions will result in an abrupt, choppy rhythm that lurches from one idea to the next.  
  • You can link a sentence together by using conjunctions and other transitional expressions according to the relationships they establish.  
  • You must choose transitions that fit your meaning and not expect a transition to provide meaning.

Now, look at how we can put the above statements about transitions into a paragraph:

    Transitions are words and phrases that help bring coherence to a paragraph by signaling relationships between and among sentences. In other words, transitions help ideas flow from sentence to sentence. Therefore, the lack of transitions will result in an abrupt, choppy rhythm that lurches from one idea to the next. However, you can link a sentence together by using conjunctions and other transitional expressions according to the relationship they establish, but you must choose transitions that fit your meaning and not expect a transition to provide meaning.

Notice the transitions which have been italicized in the paragraph above. As you can see, transition words help you build your sentences together to make a point in a logical fashion. Also, transitions help a reader understand the connections between each point in each sentence.

 
Here is a list of commonly used transitions according to the relationship they establish:

Alternative and addition: or, nor, and then, moreover, further, furthermore, besides, likewise, also, too, again, in addition, next, first, second, third, finally, last.

Comparison: similarly, likewise, in like manner, again, also, in the same way, once more.

Contrast: but, yet, or, however, still, nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary, in contrast, although this may be true, otherwise, nonetheless, regardless, still, though.

Place: here, beyond, nearby, opposite to, adjacent to, on the opposite side, above, elsewhere, below, there.

Cause, result: so, for, hence, therefore, consequently, thus, as a result, then, accordingly, because, for this purpose.

Time: meanwhile, soon, afterward, later, now, then, in the past, immediately, presently, simultaneously, at last, after a while.

Summary, repetition, exemplification, intensification: therefore, as a result, as has been noted, as mentioned, in any event, in short, in conclusion, in other words, that is, in fact.

Concession: although it is true that, granted that, I admit that, it may appear that, naturally, of course.

 
 
Information gathered from Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Conners.  The St. Martin's Handbook, 3rd ed.  New York:  St. Martin's Press, 1995.