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Transition Words and Phrases

What are transition words?

Transition words are used to connect ideas and show flow. They help readers move through complex ideas, establish relationships and connections between ideas as well.

Below is a list of words you can use to guide your reader through your essays or stories.

The most basic transition words are conjunctions. They join words, phrases, or clauses together. Good examples of this are words like “and,” “but” and “or” as they connect two sentences together:

  • I drove to school, and I got there just in time.
  • I drove home, but I was still late for dinner.

As you can see in the examples above, the conjunctions serve different purposes. 

  • The first conjunctive “and” connects the two occurrences equally. 
  • The second conjunctive “but” introduces a contrast. 

Knowing the different categories of transition words will also help you choose the best ones to get your point across.


WRITER’S HANDBOOK > IMPROVING YOUR WRITING STYLE > TRANSITIONAL WORDS AND PHRASES


Single Transition Words

accordingly, additionally, afterward, afterwards, albeit, also, although, altogether, another,

basically, because, before, besides, but, certainly, chiefly, comparatively, concurrently,

consequently, contrarily, conversely, correspondingly, despite, doubtedly, during, e.g.,

earlier, emphatically, equally, especially, eventually, evidently, explicitly, finally, firstly,

following, formerly, forthwith, fourthly, further, furthermore, generally, hence, henceforth,

however, i.e., identically, indeed, instead, last, lastly, later, lest, likewise, markedly, meanwhile,

moreover, nevertheless, nonetheless, nor, notwithstanding, obviously, occasionally, otherwise,

overall, particularly, presently, previously, rather, regardless, secondly, shortly, significantly,

similarly, simultaneously, since, so, soon, specifically, still, straightaway, subsequently, surely,

surprisingly, than, then, thereafter, therefore, thereupon, thirdly, though, thus, till, undeniably,

undoubtedly, unless, unlike, unquestionably, until, when, whenever, whereas, while…

Multiple Transition Words

above all, after all, after that, all in all, all of a sudden, all things considered, analogous to,

although this may be true, analogous to, another key point,


As

as a matter of fact, as a result, as an illustration, as can be seen, as has been noted, as I have noted, as I have said, as I have shown, as long as, as much as, as shown above, as soon as, as well as,


At

at any rate, at first, at last, at least, at length, at the present time, at the same time, at this instant, at this point, at this time,


balanced against, being that, by all means, by and large,

by comparison, by the same token, by the time, compared to, be that as it may,

coupled with, different from, due to, equally important, even if, even more, even so,

even though, first thing to remember, for example, for fear that, for instance,

for one thing, for that reason, for the most part, for the purpose of, for the same reason,

for this purpose, for this reason, from time to time, given that, given these points,

important to realize,


In

in a word, in addition, in another case, in any case, in any event, in brief, in case, in conclusion, in contrast, in detail, in due time, in effect, in either case, in essence, in fact, in general, in light of, in like fashion, in like manner, in order that, in order to, in other words, in particular, in reality, in short, in similar fashion, in spite of, in sum, in summary, in that case, in the event that, in the final analysis, in the first place, in the fourth place, in the hope that, in the light of, in the long run, in the meantime, in the same fashion, in the same way, in the second place, in the third place, in this case, in this situation, in time, in truth, in view of, inasmuch as,


most compelling evidence, most important, must be remembered, not to mention,

now that, of course,


On

on account of, on balance, on condition that, on one hand, on the condition that, on the contrary, on the negative side, on the other hand, on the positive side, on the whole, on this occasion,


once, once in a while, only if, owing to, point often overlooked, prior to, provided that,

seeing that, so as to, so far, so long as, so that, sooner or later, such as,

summing up, take the case of, that is, that is to say, then again, this time,


To

to be sure, to begin with, to clarify, to conclude, to demonstrate, to emphasize, to enumerate, to explain, to illustrate, to list, to point out, to put it another way, to put it differently, to repeat, to rephrase it, to say nothing of, to sum up, to summarize, to that end, to the end that, to this end,


together with, under those circumstances, until now, up against,


up to the present time, vis a vis, what’s more, while it may be true, while this may be true,


With

with attention to, with the result that, with this in mind, with this intention, with this purpose in mind, without a doubt, without delay, without doubt, without reservation…


Reference

Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824. Fax: 517.353.5250 e-mail: jdowell@msu.edu
You can see a break down of word into categories here: https://tech.msu.edu/about/guidelines-policies/afs-retirement/;


Click to see other grammar points here.

Transition words and how to use them. Word list included (separated by single words, multiples and prepositions)

Agreement / Addition / Similarity

Transition words like also, in addition, and, likewiseadd informationreinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.

in the first place

not only … but also

as a matter of fact

in like manner

in addition

coupled with

in the same fashion / way

first, second, third

in the light of

not to mention

to say nothing of

equally important

by the same token

again

to

and

also

then

equally

identically

uniquely

like

as

too

moreover

as well as

together with

of course

likewise

comparatively

correspondingly

similarly

furthermore

additionally

Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction

Transition phrases like butrather and or, express that there is evidence to the contrary or point out alternatives, and thus introduce a change the line of reasoning (contrast).

although this may be true

in contrast

different from

of course …, but

on the other hand

on the contrary

at the same time

in spite of

even so / though

be that as it may

then again

above all

in reality

after all

but

(and) still

unlike

or

(and) yet

while

albeit

besides

as much as

even though

although

instead

whereas

despite

conversely

otherwise

however

rather

nevertheless

nonetheless

regardless

notwithstanding

Cause / Condition / Purpose

These transitional phrases present specific conditions or intentions.

in the event that

granted (that)

as / so long as

on (the) condition (that)

for the purpose of

with this intention

with this in mind

in the hope that

to the end that

for fear that

in order to

seeing / being that

in view of

If

… then

unless

when

whenever

while

because of

as

since

while

lest

in case

provided that

given that

only / even if

so that

so as to

owing to

inasmuch as

due to

Examples / Support / Emphasis

These transitional devices (like especially) are used to introduce examples as support, to indicate importance or as an illustration so that an idea is cued to the reader.

in other words

to put it differently

for one thing

as an illustration

in this case

for this reason

to put it another way

that is to say

with attention to

by all means

important to realize

another key point

first thing to remember

most compelling evidence

must be remembered

point often overlooked

to point out

on the positive side

on the negative side

with this in mind

notably

including

like

to be sure

namely

chiefly

truly

indeed

certainly

surely

markedly

such as

especially

explicitly

specifically

expressly

surprisingly

frequently

significantly

particularly

in fact

in general

in particular

in detail

for example

for instance

to demonstrate

to emphasize

to repeat

to clarify

to explain

to enumerate

Effect / Consequence / Result

Some of these transition words (thus, then, accordingly, consequently, therefore, henceforth) are time words that show after a particular time there was a consequence or an effect.

Note that for and because are placed before the cause/reason. The other devices are placed before the consequences or effects.

as a result

under those circumstances

in that case

for this reason

in effect

for

thus

because the

then

hence

consequently

therefore

thereupon

forthwith

accordingly

henceforth

Conclusion / Summary / Restatement

These transition words and phrases concludesummarize and / or restate ideas, or indicate a final general statement. Also some words (like therefore) from the Effect / Consequence category can be used to summarize.

as can be seen

generally speaking

in the final analysis

all things considered

as shown above

in the long run

given these points

as has been noted

in a word

for the most part

after all

in fact

in summary

in conclusion

in short

in brief

in essence

to summarize

on balance

altogether

overall

ordinarily

usually

by and large

to sum up

on the whole

in any event

in either case

all in all

Obviously

Ultimately

Definitely

Time / Chronology / Sequence

Transitional words (like finally) have the function of limiting, restricting, and defining time. They can be used either alone or as part of adverbial expressions.

at the present time

from time to time

sooner or later

at the same time

up to the present time

to begin with

in due time

as soon as

as long as

in the meantime

in a moment

without delay

in the first place

all of a sudden

at this instant

first, second

immediately

quickly

finally

after

later

last

until

till

since

then

before

hence

since

when

once

about

next

now

formerly

suddenly

shortly

henceforth

whenever

eventually

meanwhile

further

during

in time

prior to

forthwith

straightaway

by the time

whenever

until now

now that

instantly

presently

occasionally

Many transition words in the time category (consequently; first, second, third; further; hence; henceforth; since; then, when; and whenever) have other uses.

Except for the numbers (first, second, third) and further they add a meaning of time in expressing conditions, qualifications, or reasons. The numbers are also used to add information or list examplesFurther is also used to indicate added space as well as added time.

Space / Location / Place

These transition words are often used as part of adverbial expressions and have the function to restrict, limit or qualify space. Quite a few of these are also found in the Time category and can be used to describe spatial order or spatial reference.

in the middle

to the left/right

in front of

on this side

in the distance

here and there

in the foreground

in the background

in the center of

adjacent to

opposite to 

here

there

next

where

from

over

near

above

below

down

up

under

further

beyond

nearby

wherever

around

between

before

alongside

amid

among

beneath

beside

behind

across

Usage of Transition Words in Essays

Transition words and phrases are vital devices for essays, papers or other literary compositions. They improve the connections and transitions between sentences and paragraphs. They thus give the text a logical organization and structure.

All English transition words and phrases (sometimes also called ‘conjunctive adverbs’) do the same work as coordinating conjunctions: they connect two words, phrases or clauses together and thus the text is easier to read and the coherence is improved.

Usage: transition words are used with a special rule for punctuation: a semicolon or a period is used after the first ‘sentence’, and a comma is almost always used to set off the transition word from the second ‘sentence’.

Example 1:
People use 43 muscles when they frown; however, they use only 28 muscles when they smile.

Example 2:
However, transition words can also be placed at the beginning of a new paragraph or sentence – not only to indicate a step forward in the reasoning, but also to relate the new material to the preceding thoughts.

Use a semicolon to connect sentences, only if the group of words on either side of the semicolon is a complete sentence each (both must have a subject and a verb, and could thus stand alone as a complete thought).



Testimonial:


Glen is a really nice teacher. You should try his lessons. He helped me learn a lot and is good at explaining the differences between words.


Kana



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