How to Use Transition Words?

When you work on an essay or any other type of academic writing, it is important to use transition words to make your text coherent. These parts of speech allow logically connecting thoughts in the text. This helps the reader gradually move from one idea of the text to another. But you should know how and when to use them properly.

The Most Commonly Used Transition Words

We have collected the most common words that are used in academic writing. However, this list is not complete and you can find more examples of them. But even with this list you can make your essays more coherent and strengthen the ideas of your text. In English, it is important to use transition words as they serve a serious cause. They are used not only for connecting words and ideas but also for expressing the required shift of them in the paper. For instance, you can express the opposition, agreement, conclusion, etc. Most words have single meaning and purpose, but there are some that can express various attitudes to the text depending on the context. Usually, they are presented in prepositions and post-positions. But the following lists just divide them into categories according to their purpose.

Similarity / Agreement / Addition

Words also, and, in addition, likewise serve to provide more info, support the though and show the agreement to the expressed thoughts.

  • additionally
  • as well as
  • comparatively
  • correspondingly
  • furthermore
  • likewise
  • moreover
  • of course
  • together with
  • similarly
  • as a matter of fact
  • by the same token
  • coupled with
  • equally important
  • first, second, third
  • not only … but also
  • not to mention
  • in addition
  • in like manner
  • in the first place
  • in the light of
  • in the same fashion/way
  • to say nothing of
  • again
  • also
  • and
  • as
  • equally
  • like
  • identically
  • then
  • to
  • too
  • uniquely

Consequence / Effect / Result

Words like accordingly, consequently, thus, henceforth, etc. can serve as time signs to perform the order of the events and to express the consequences and effects of the events.

If you want to use words for and because keep in mind that you should place then before the reasoning subject. Other alternatives should follow the consequences/effects.

  • because
  • the
  • hence
  • for
  • then
  • thus
  • as a result
  • for this reason
  • in effect
  • in that case
  • under those circumstances
  • accordingly
  • consequently
  • forthwith
  • henceforth
  • therefore
  • thereupon

Contradiction / Limitation / Opposition

Word combinations like but, rather and or express the point that there is an opposite or alternative though and they also may serve for introducing the shift in reasoning.

  • although
  • conversely
  • despite
  • even though
  • however
  • instead
  • nevertheless
  • nonetheless
  • notwithstanding
  • otherwise
  • rather
  • regardless
  • whereas
  • albeit
  • as much as
  • besides
  • but
  • (and) still
  • or
  • unlike
  • (and) yet
  • while
  • after all
  • above all
  • although this may be true
  • at the same time
  • be that as it may
  • different from
  • even so / though
  • in contrast
  • in reality
  • in spite of
  • of course …, but
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • then again

Emphasis / Examples / Support

This group of transition elements helps in performing examples to maintain the thought, to highlight points and illustrate the idea to the audience.

  • for example
  • for instance
  • in detail
  • in fact
  • in general
  • in particular
  • to clarify
  • to demonstrate
  • to emphasize
  • to enumerate
  • to explain
  • to repeat
  • certainly
  • chiefly
  • especially
  • explicitly
  • expressly
  • frequently
  • including
  • indeed
  • like
  • markedly
  • namely
  • notably
  • particularly
  • specifically
  • significantly
  • such as
  • surely
  • surprisingly
  • to be sure
  • truly
  • another key point
  • as an illustration
  • by all means
  • the first thing to remember
  • for one thing
  • for this reason
  • important to realize
  • in other words
  • in this case
  • most compelling evidence
  • must be remembered
  • on the negative side
  • on the positive side
  • point often overlooked
  • to point out
  • to put it another way
  • to put it differently
  • that is to say
  • with attention to
  • with this in mind

Purpose / Cause / Condition

This group of transition words expresses the intentions and circumstances of the events.

  • due to
  • given that
  • in case
  • inasmuch as
  • only / even if
  • owing to
  • provided that
  • so that
  • so as to
  • as / so long as
  • for fear that
  • for the purpose of
  • granted (that)
  • in the event that
  • in the hope that
  • in view of
  • in order to
  • on (the) condition (that)
  • seeing/being that
  • to the end that
  • with this intention
  • with this in mind
  • as
  • because of
  • If
  • lest
  • since
  • … then
  • unless
  • when
  • whenever
  • while

Sequence / Chronology / Time

When you write words like finally, you define the particular time frames or limits. You can use them alone or as a part of adverbial expressions.

  • by the time
  • during
  • eventually
  • forthwith
  • further
  • henceforth
  • instantly meanwhile
  • in time
  • now that
  • occasionally
  • presently
  • prior to
  • straightaway
  • until now
  • whenever
  • about
  • after
  • before
  • formerly
  • hence
  • later
  • last
  • next
  • now
  • once
  • since
  • since
  • suddenly
  • shortly
  • then
  • till
  • until
  • when
  • all of a sudden
  • as long as
  • as soon as
  • at the present time
  • at the same time
  • at this instant
  • finally
  • first, second
  • from time to time
  • sooner or later
  • to begin with
  • in a moment
  • in due time
  • immediately
  • in the meantime
  • in the first place
  • quickly
  • up to the present time
  • without delay

Numerous elements of the time group can be used for other purposes. Like consequently, further, first, second, third, etc. Except for the last ones, along with time meaning they express reasoning and circumstances. The numbers can be used for adding info or examples.

Location / Space / Place

In most cases, the listed words and phrases are used as parts of adverbial expressions. They limit, frame and qualify space. Some of them can be also added to the group with Time words and they reflect time and space connection.

  • above
  • below
  • down
  • from
  • here
  • near
  • next
  • over
  • there
  • under
  • up
  • where
  • adjacent to
  • here and there
  • opposite to
  • to the left/right
  • on this side
  • in front of
  • in the background
  • in the center of
  • in the distance
  • in the foreground
  • in the middle
  • across
  • alongside
  • amid
  • among
  • around
  • before
  • behind
  • beneath
  • between
  • beside
  • beyond
  • further
  • nearby
  • wherever

Summary / Conclusion / Restatement

Use these listed phrases and words when you need to write concluding thoughts, repeating the thesis or make a summary. You can use words from the lists Effect and Consequence for the same purposes.

  • altogether after all
  • in brief
  • in conclusion
  • in essence
  • in fact
  • in short
  • to summarize
  • in summary
  • on balance
  • ordinarily
  • overall
  • usually,
  • all things considered
  • as can be seen
  • as has been noted
  • as shown above
  • generally speaking
  • given these points
  • for the most part
  • in a word
  • in the final analysis
  • in the long run
  • all in all
  • by and large
  • Definitely
  • Obviously
  • on the whole
  • in any event
  • in either case
  • to sum up
  • Ultimately

How to Use Transition Words in Essays

When you work on any type of writing, especially when it comes to academic writing, you should use transition words to connect your thoughts and parts of your essay, paper, etc. They are important for making your text coherent. They help to make the paper organized in a logical sequence and create an understandable structure.

Transition words, also known as conjunctive adverbs, serve the same purpose as coordinating conjunctions. With their help, you connect words, phrases, and parts of your text in a singular unit. This approach makes it easier to read and understand the entire text.

There are special rules of punctuation for such words. Almost in every case, you should use coma to separate the transition phrase from the rest of the sentence.

Examples:

1. We know what words we should use; however, we often fail in how to use them in academic writing.

2. However, students can express their thoughts without the help of the transition words, but transition words make it easier.

When you have to connect two sentences, use a semicolon, but apply this approach only is these sentences can be connected in one and have the common element like subject or verb.

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