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Down and Dirty Tips: Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Descriptive Transitions

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Adding Transitions: Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay

Descriptive (Spatial) Transitions

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Transitional Words and Phrases

One of your primary goals as a writer is to present ideas in a clear and understandable way. To help readers move through your complex ideas, you want to be intentional about how you structure your paper as a whole as well as how you form the individual paragraphs that comprise it. In order to think through the challenges of presenting your ideas articulately, logically, and in ways that seem natural to your readers, check out some of these resources: Developing a Thesis Statement , Paragraphing , and Developing Strategic Transitions: Writing that Establishes Relationships and Connections Between Ideas.

While clear writing is mostly achieved through the deliberate sequencing of your ideas across your entire paper, you can guide readers through the connections you’re making by using transitional words in individual sentences. Transitional words and phrases can create powerful links between your ideas and can help your reader understand your paper’s logic.

In what follows, we’ve included a list of frequently used transitional words and phrases that can help you establish how your various ideas relate to each other. We’ve divided these words and phrases into categories based on the common kinds of relationships writers establish between ideas.

Two recommendations: Use these transitions strategically by making sure that the word or phrase you’re choosing matches the logic of the relationship you’re emphasizing or the connection you’re making. All of these words and phrases have different meanings, nuances, and connotations, so before using a particular transitional word in your paper, be sure you understand its meaning and usage completely, and be sure that it’s the right match for your paper’s logic. Use these transitional words and phrases sparingly because if you use too many of them, your readers might feel like you are overexplaining connections that are already clear.

Categories of Transition Words and Phrases

Causation Chronology Combinations Contrast Example

Importance Location Similarity Clarification Concession

Conclusion Intensification Purpose Summary

Transitions to help establish some of the most common kinds of relationships

Causation– Connecting instigator(s) to consequence(s).

accordingly as a result and so because

consequently for that reason hence on account of

since therefore thus

Chronology– Connecting what issues in regard to when they occur.

after afterwards always at length during earlier following immediately in the meantime

later never next now once simultaneously so far sometimes

soon subsequently then this time until now when whenever while

Combinations Lists– Connecting numerous events. Part/Whole– Connecting numerous elements that make up something bigger.

additionally again also and, or, not as a result besides even more

finally first, firstly further furthermore in addition in the first place in the second place

last, lastly moreover next second, secondly, etc. too

Contrast– Connecting two things by focusing on their differences.

after all although and yet at the same time but

despite however in contrast nevertheless nonetheless notwithstanding

on the contrary on the other hand otherwise though yet

Example– Connecting a general idea to a particular instance of this idea.

as an illustration e.g., (from a Latin abbreviation for “for example”)

for example for instance specifically that is

to demonstrate to illustrate

Importance– Connecting what is critical to what is more inconsequential.

chiefly critically

foundationally most importantly

of less importance primarily

Location– Connecting elements according to where they are placed in relationship to each other.

above adjacent to below beyond

centrally here nearby neighboring on

opposite to peripherally there wherever

Similarity– Connecting to things by suggesting that they are in some way alike.

by the same token in like manner

in similar fashion here in the same way

likewise wherever

Other kinds of transitional words and phrases Clarification

i.e., (from a Latin abbreviation for “that is”) in other words

that is that is to say to clarify to explain

to put it another way to rephrase it

granted it is true

naturally of course

finally lastly

in conclusion in the end

to conclude

Intensification

in fact indeed no

of course surely to repeat

undoubtedly without doubt yes

for this purpose in order that

so that to that end

to this end

in brief in sum

in summary in short

to sum up to summarize

transition words in descriptive writing

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Connecting Ideas Through Transitions

Using Transitional Words and Phrases

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Transitional Devices

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Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.

There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.

Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way.

and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)

To Compare:

whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true

because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is

To Show Exception:

yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes

To Show Time:

immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then

in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted

To Emphasize:

definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation

To Show Sequence:

first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon

To Give an Example:

for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate

To Summarize or Conclude:

in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently

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Transition words and phrases: Examples and tips

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon

transition words in descriptive writing

Ever put together a sandwich without any sauce?

Even if you haven’t, you can tell there’s nothing to hold together your sandwich’s ingredients, which makes eating it a messy affair. Transition words are the same.

They’re English language’s garlic mayo (or whatever flavor you prefer) that glue ideas, sentences, and paragraphs so they stick together in a sensible whole.

See the ‘and’ and ‘so’ in the sentence you just read? They’re transition words examples that help make the sentence flow in logical sense.

Want to learn how to use them like a pro? Read on. We’ll cover everything from transition words to start a new paragraph to their types and how you can use them. 

Let’s get on with it:

What are transition words?

Transition words are words and even phrases that connect ideas. ‘Because,’ ‘consequently,’ ‘and,’ ‘what’s more,’ ‘resultantly,’ ‘in sum,’ and ‘briefly’ are a few common transition words examples.

Owing to their job as words that bridge ideas, transition words are also called connecting or linking words.

Here’s a look at transition sentences examples that I’ve pulled from Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried:

When good enough gets the job done, go for it. It’s way better than wasting resources, or even worse, doing nothing because you can’t afford the complex solution. And, remember, you can usually turn good enough to great later.

Now let’s imagine these sentences without good transition words gluing all the thoughts together:

What we get here is a mishmash of ideas that make zero sense about how they’re linked to each other. To top that up, the flow’s toast.

The takeaway? Whether it’s transition words between paragraphs, transition words at the start of a sentence, or those that stitch sentences together in a cohesive paragraph, you can’t take these words for granted.

Why do you need transition words?

Although we’ve briefly touched on the why already, it’s time we take a microscope to the role that a transitional word plays:

Transition words are link builders

They link ideas to one another, so that they form a whole when put together. With connecting words, you can see the link between actions and arguments – say something happens as a consequence of another thing as in the sentence below:

She couldn’t bear another day in the wretched city. So, she left the town in search of a bright future.

They put your thoughts in order

Organized thoughts breathe sense into your writing. Whether it’s academic writing that you’re doing or a blog post you’re working on, you’ll find this particularly valuable.

Why? Because the previous argument you make will flow in order as each idea builds upon another like a pyramid of cards.

Of course, the better your thoughts are organized, the smoother your piece will flow, which, in turn, gives your work a logical structure.

They’re proponents of brevity and clarity

Try as you might, you can’t create links between ideas without transition words acting as succinct bridges between them.

With these magic connectors, you can keep your writing clear, to the point, and sharp as a pencil.

Here’s an example:

Lightning struck all night, resulting in broken poles and a town without electricity for two days.

Let’s omit the transition words here and try rewriting this sentence: Lightning struck all night. There were broken poles. A town without electricity for two days.

Something sounds off, doesn’t it?

For one, there’s no flow to these short phrases and the ideas feel foreign to each other without connecting words. And, two, you’ve to rely on multiple sentences that are better off as one.

Transition words make writing easy to read

All this talk about organization, logical structure, and good flow and clarity pool together to deliver the champion writing characteristic – good readability.

That’s when your content is easy to read, gently pushing the reader from one sentence to another until they get through to the end. Bingo!

When and how to use transition words

Now that you know what transition words can help you with, you’re in a better position to use them.

Want to add up points together? Transition words can help. Want to agree with something or stress on a message? Again, use transition words. Want to introduce a shift or bring things to a close? You know what to do.

Besides if you ever feel there’s a lack of coherence or logical connections between your thoughts, you’ll want to revisit the transition words you’re using. Same goes for a lack of order in your writing.

Tip: Once you’re done writing, give the draft a break. Come back to read it out loud. Reading loudly helps you understand the flow, therefore, the need for transition words to make up for abrupt change in idea.

For a stronger hold on when and how to use transition words, get to grips on the different types of transition words such as conclusion transition words, introduction transition words, and more.

For instance, if there’s a consequence to an action, you’ll want to lean on cause and effect transition words such as ‘consequently,’ ‘subsequently,’ ‘next,’ and so on.

The crime on the streets got people worried. Next, came the terrible wind and people started locking themselves in their homes post dusk.

Similarly, if you’re sharing steps, you’ll need sequence or enumeration transition words like ‘firstly,’ ‘secondly,’ ‘thirdly,’ ‘lastly,’ and others. This example shows such transition words in action:

Shortly after her husband gave up on her, she ended up moving to downtown London.

We’ll look at the types of transition words in just a bit. For now, here’s a look at the punctuation that goes hand in glove with the use of transition words. This way, you’ll get everything related to the use of transition words correct down to the bone.

Two rules to keep in mind here are:

Use a period (.) or semicolon (;) after the first sentence. Use the latter only when you’re connecting two independent sentences that’ll do just fine as standalone sentences as well.

Sarah was going through a rough patch in her personal life. Naturally, her performance at work started suffering.

Use a comma before the transition word in a sentence to separate it from the rest of the sentence

I’ve been very careful about going out alone, but I can’t help it if an emergency crops up.

Positioning transition words

Frankly, transition words can occupy every nook and cranny in your writing. Hard to believe?

Briefly, here are the different places transition words do their job as an adhesive

• At the start of a sentence

• At the end of a sentence

• Smack dab in the middle of a sentence

• Transition words that start a new paragraph

Types and examples of transition words

For each type of transition word, we’ve a list below. We’ve also compiled a list of transition words into a cheat sheet of 100 transition words that you can fetch here (no sign in required).

1. Addition/agreement transition words

As their name indicates, these transition words help build up points like putting Legos together.

In addition, another key point, indeed

2. Comparison/contrast words

These magic words make it easy for you to sketch differences.

But, (and) still, (and) yet, on the contrast, on the flip side, on the contrary, in contrast, in comparison, regardless, nevertheless, nonetheless, irrespective, regardless, above all, after all.

3. Clarity transition words

If you plan on explaining an idea further, clarity transition words can be of help.

To clarify, to put it differently, by all means, in other words, to put it differently, that is to say, to emphasize, to repeat, to explain, to go in detail, especially, to rephrase,

4. Cause and effect/results transition words

Did something occur as a reaction to an action? Explain them using cause and effect transition words.

Accordingly, resultantly, consequently, as a result, subsequently, thereupon, forthwith, accordingly, henceforth, under the circumstances, Consequently, subsequently, with this mind, with this intention, in the event that, in terms of, to this end, in as much as, owing to, lest, because of, in case, in view of, in order to,

5. Concession transition words

If there’s a compromise to be made, this type of transition words can help. You’ll typically find these at the start and end of a sentence.

Granted, of course, naturally,

6. Emphasis transition words

As is obvious, emphasis transition words play a useful role accentuating a point or stressing on something’s importance.

In fact, above all, to top it all, Importance: of less importance, chiefly, foundationally, primarily, secondarily, critically, of less importance.

7. Enumeration/sequence transition words

These words define time.

What’s more, furthermore, eventually, gradually, earlier, meanwhile, finally, in due time, from time to time, sooner or later, as long as, in the meantime, immediately, instantly, quickly, overtime, by the time, prior to, during, since, till, afterward,

8. Example/support transition words

If you’re backing things with examples, you’ll want to alert readers of an example coming through. How? Use example transition words.

to illustrate, to demonstrate, that is, For instance, for example that you’ll find in abundance in this post.

9. Location/place transition words

Next up, place transition words show location or explain when something happens, making them a helpful device for descriptive writing in particular.

in front of, in the middle of, in the distance, to the left/right, here and there, amid, amongst, beyond, further, alongside, in the background, adjacent, nearer,

10. Similarity transition words

Another batch of good transition words are similarity words that pull similarities – much the opposite of contrast words.

Likewise, similarly, in the same vein, by the same token, in like manner, in similar fashion, in the same way

11. Conclusion transition words

These words work in the summation department. They’re a huge help for writing conclusions or summing up different ideas under discussion.

Therefore, thus, in summary, to summarize, in sum, to sum it up, In other words, in brief, briefly, in conclusion, for the most part, in a word, overall, on the whole, all in all, in essence, ultimately, by and large, in short, generally speaking.

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This page only provides a list of transitional words; be certain you understand their meanings before you use them. Often, there exists a slight, but significant, difference between two apparently similar words. Also remember that while transitions describe relationships between ideas, they do not automatically create relationships between ideas for your reader. Use transitions with enough context in a sentence or paragraph to make the relationships clear.

Example of unclear transition:

The characters in Book A face a moral dilemma. In the same way, the characters in Book B face a similar problem.

Improved transition:

The characters in Book A face a moral dilemma, a contested inheritance. Although the inheritance in Book B consists of an old house and not a pile of money, the nature of the problem is quite similar.

Examples of Transitions:

Illustration

Thus, for example, for instance, namely, to illustrate, in other words, in particular, specifically, such as.
On the contrary, contrarily, notwithstanding, but, however, nevertheless, in spite of, in contrast, yet, on one hand, on the other hand, rather, or, nor, conversely, at the same time, while this may be true.
And, in addition to, furthermore, moreover, besides, than, too, also, both-and, another, equally important, first, second, etc., again, further, last, finally, not only-but also, as well as, in the second place, next, likewise, similarly, in fact, as a result, consequently, in the same way, for example, for instance, however, thus, therefore, otherwise.
After, afterward, before, then, once, next, last, at last, at length, first, second, etc., at first, formerly, rarely, usually, another, finally, soon, meanwhile, at the same time, for a minute, hour, day, etc., during the morning, day, week, etc., most important, later, ordinarily, to begin with, afterwards, generally, in order to, subsequently, previously, in the meantime, immediately, eventually, concurrently, simultaneously.
At the left, at the right, in the center, on the side, along the edge, on top, below, beneath, under, around, above, over, straight ahead, at the top, at the bottom, surrounding, opposite, at the rear, at the front, in front of, beside, behind, next to, nearby, in the distance, beyond, in the forefront, in the foreground, within sight, out of sight, across, under, nearer, adjacent, in the background.
Although, at any rate, at least, still, thought, even though, granted that, while it may be true, in spite of, of course.

Similarity Or Comparison

Similarly, likewise, in like fashion, in like manner, analogous to.
Above all, indeed, truly, of course, certainly, surely, in fact, really, in truth, again, besides, also, furthermore, in addition.
Specifically, especially, in particular, to explain, to list, to enumerate, in detail, namely, including.
For example, for instance, to illustrate, thus, in other words, as an illustration, in particular.

Consequence or Result

So that, with the result that, thus, consequently, hence, accordingly, for this reason, therefore, so, because, since, due to, as a result, in other words, then.
Therefore, finally, consequently, thus, in short, in conclusion, in brief, as a result, accordingly.
For this purpose, to this end, with this in mind, with this purpose in mind, therefore.  

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transition words in descriptive writing

Transition Words and Phrases in English

the ultimate transitions guide

Imagine a road with no street signs to point the way. How would you follow the right route if you didn’t have a sign showing you which way to go?

Words and phrases like similarly , nevertheless , in order to , likewise , and as a result show the relationships between your ideas and can help illustrate agreement, contrast, or cause and effect.

What Are Transition Words?

Transition words are the road signs in writing. They help readers follow your train of thought without becoming bogged down trying to discern your meaning.

When used correctly, they keep up the flow of your writing as you shift in meaning, tone, and ideas from one sentence or paragraph to another. Transition words clarify the relationship between what you just said and what you're about to say for your readers.

Here’s an example of a well-placed transition:

  • Original: The boy kicked the ball into the street. A speeding car came around the corner.
  • Rewrite: The boy kicked the ball into the street. At the same moment, a speeding car came around the corner.

The rewrite uses a transition phrase to show when the event happened. We see the action in a wider lens: the ball goes into the street just as a car comes careening around the corner. The first illustration is short and choppy. It doesn’t flow well. The rewrite leads you smoothly between two related, but different thoughts.

The addition of at the same moment also clarifies the connection between the ideas for the reader. Since we know these events are connected and happening at the same time, we feel more tension for what's about to happen.

transitional words examples

Transitional Words Examples: Fiction

Let’s take a look at some of these words in context to better examine how they work.

Fiction Transitions Example 1:

Take the following two sentences. Which one reads more fluidly?

  • Mark tended to avoid the campus dining hall where his former friends hung out. He loved its food.
  • Mark tended to avoid the campus dining hall where his former friends hung out, although he loved its food.

In the second construction, you understand how the two ideas are related. The first construction reads as choppy, two disparate ideas connected solely by proximity. By adding the transition word although and combining the two sentences, the second construction makes it clear that avoiding the dining hall had consequences for Mark. It gives more meaning to both sentences.

two sentences from above, one with a transition one without

Fiction Transitions Example 2:

Here’s another example of transition word usage in fiction writing:

  • Mindy thought her mother was over-reacting to her predicament. She waited two days after the first phone call to visit.
  • Mindy thought her mother was over-reacting to her predicament. So, she waited two days after the first phone call to visit.

The use of so in the second construction makes clear to the reader that the gap in time between the call and the visit was a direct result of the over-reaction.

Transitional Words Examples: Non-Fiction

Transitions don’t just help fiction readers. Let’s take a look at how you can use transitions to improve your non-fiction writing.

Non-Fiction Transitions Example 1:

Take the following two constructions. Which one reads more fluidly?

  • Marketing numbers have performed worse than we expected this year. We will be hiring a marketing consultant.
  • Marketing numbers have performed worse than we expected this year, so we’ll be hiring a marketing consultant.

In the second construction, you understand how the two ideas are related. You see straight away that the poor marketing results are the direct reason for hiring a marketing consultant. By adding this connection, the relationship between the two ideas becomes clear. Similarly, the second version flows better and feels less self-contained.

Non-Fiction Transitions Example 2:

Here’s another example of transition word usage in non-fiction writing:

  • The recent rise in oil pricing has made gas more expensive for consumers. Food prices have skyrocketed.
  • The recent rise in oil pricing has made gas more expensive for consumers. Similarly, food prices have skyrocketed.

The use of similarly in the second construction makes it clear that there’s a relationship between the two ideas. The first construction feels disconnected since one sentence focuses on gas prices and another on food. The second construction makes it clear that the two ideas are related based on how they affect prices for consumers.

What Are the 6 Examples of Transitions?

What makes these phrases different from other words? They all move your writing from one idea to another.

The specific word or phrase you choose for your writing will depend on the type of transition you want to make. Each category of transition has multiple words or phrases you can choose from. Later in this article, we’ll show you hundreds of transition words or phrases to suit every need.

the six types of transition words with definitions

Before we get to the ultimate list of examples, let’s take a look at the categories.

Cause and effect: Show how two ideas are connected.

  • I’m tired, so I’m going to bed.

Contrast: Show differences between two or more ideas.

  • I hate most desserts. However, I love cookies.

Example and Emphasis: Introduce examples that help highlight or explain a previous point, or to add strength to a particular idea.

  • I have a lot of fears. For instance, I’m terrified of spiders.

Addition & Enumeration: Break down, draw connections to, or add more support to an existing idea.

  • Today, I’m going to do my homework. In addition, I’m going to clean my room.

Time: Explain how two or more ideas are related in time.

  • Mary-Ann went out, looking for a bright new world. Meanwhile, Wanda looked all around their hometown and all she found was Earl.

Conclusion: Introduce a final point or summarize information.

  • In conclusion, I deserve a new car because I’ve done all my chores for the month.

How ProWritingAid Can Help You with Transition Words

Clear, readable writing tends to use around 25% transition phrases. Of course this isn't set in stone—but if you have considerably fewer than this in your document, you may be losing your reader.

ProWritingAid's Transitions Report highlights all of the transition words in your document so you can see how your writing flows. Here's how it works:

Try out ProWritingAid's Transitions Report with a free account.

What Are Some Examples of Transition Words?

Looking for examples of transition words you can use in your writing? Look no further! We’ve put together the ultimate list with hundreds of examples you can use.

On to the list!

Cause and Effect Transition Phrases

Also known as condition or purpose transitions, these words and phrases explain how ideas are related.

cause and effect transition words examples

Contrast Transition Words

If you have two differing ideas, contrast transitions help to set up those differences.

Example and Emphasis Transition Words

Example and emphasis transition words and phrases explain or give more information about a previously introduced idea. Sometimes known as clarification transitions, these words help make your meaning more clear.

example and emphasis transition phrases examples

Addition and Enumeration Transition Words

Also known as agreement or similarity transitions, these words express agreement and reinforce relationships and ideas that came before.

Time Transition Words

Time transition words help define time in your writing. They explain how your ideas relate when it comes to time.

time transitional words examples

Conclusion Transitions

As you reach the end of an idea or or group of ideas, conclusion transitions can help introduce your final point or summarize previous information.

How to Use Transition Words More Effectively

Using transition words and phrases isn’t always as easy as it looks. Here are some best practices to keep in mind so that you can effectively use transition words.

1. Understand the relationship between your ideas

The better you understand the relationships between the ideas in your text, the more effectively you’ll be able to wield transition words and phrases. The relationships between your ideas will help you understand which you should pick.

2. Know your transition words

Different transitions are appropriate in different contexts. Don’t just pick a random transition to use. Make sure the one you’ve chosen is appropriate for what you’re trying to say. Also, don’t be afraid to try out a new transition word from the list we’ve provided above. Just like in other types of writing, repetitive language can be boring for your readers. Try out new transition words (as long as they’re the right type) to increase the interest of your writing.

2 transition tips: understand relationships between ideas and know transition categories

How ProWritingAid Helps You Improve Transition Words and Phrases in Your Writing

Since transitions help to organize your ideas and demonstrate connections, it’s important to include them in your writing to make it more clear. ProWritingAid can help. Our software analyzes your writing to determine whether or not you’ve used transitions appropriately in your work.

Depending on what you’re writing, you can find your Transitions score in two places: your goals and the Transition Report.

ProWritingAid knows that different genres require different amounts and types of transitions, so your suggested transition percentage changes depending on what you’re writing. If you’re working on an academic paper, for instance, transitional phrases are important to improving understanding. So you’ll find a goal for transitions in your sidebar.

On the other hand, formal transitions are less common in some types of fiction writing, so you may not see this goal if you’re working on say, a crime novel.

You can always find your score, regardless of what you’re writing, by running the Transition Report. The ProWritingAid Transition Report will scan your writing and give you a “transitions score." This measures the percentage of your sentences that begin with a transition word.

prowritingaid software highlighting all transition words at the start of sentences in a piece of text

Check your transitions with a free ProWritingAid account.

Transitions: The Links Between Ideas

To conclude, great transitions lead to more sophisticated structure. (See what we did there with that transition?!)

Adding transitions to your writing creates clear connections for your readers. By adding transitions, you’ll help your readers better understand what you’re trying to say.

Happy writing!

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33 Transition Words and Phrases

Transitional terms give writers the opportunity to prepare readers for a new idea, connecting the previous sentence to the next one.

Many transitional words are nearly synonymous: words that broadly indicate that “this follows logically from the preceding” include accordingly, therefore, and consequently . Words that mean “in addition to” include moreover, besides, and further . Words that mean “contrary to what was just stated” include however, nevertheless , and nonetheless .

as a result : THEREFORE : CONSEQUENTLY

The executive’s flight was delayed and they accordingly arrived late.

in or by way of addition : FURTHERMORE

The mountain has many marked hiking trails; additionally, there are several unmarked trails that lead to the summit.

at a later or succeeding time : SUBSEQUENTLY, THEREAFTER

Afterward, she got a promotion.

even though : ALTHOUGH

She appeared as a guest star on the show, albeit briefly.

in spite of the fact that : even though —used when making a statement that differs from or contrasts with a statement you have just made

They are good friends, although they don't see each other very often.

in addition to what has been said : MOREOVER, FURTHERMORE

I can't go, and besides, I wouldn't go if I could.

as a result : in view of the foregoing : ACCORDINGLY

The words are often confused and are consequently misused.

in a contrasting or opposite way —used to introduce a statement that contrasts with a previous statement or presents a differing interpretation or possibility

Large objects appear to be closer. Conversely, small objects seem farther away.

used to introduce a statement that is somehow different from what has just been said

These problems are not as bad as they were. Even so, there is much more work to be done.

used as a stronger way to say "though" or "although"

I'm planning to go even though it may rain.

in addition : MOREOVER

I had some money to invest, and, further, I realized that the risk was small.

in addition to what precedes : BESIDES —used to introduce a statement that supports or adds to a previous statement

These findings seem plausible. Furthermore, several studies have confirmed them.

because of a preceding fact or premise : for this reason : THEREFORE

He was a newcomer and hence had no close friends here.

from this point on : starting now

She announced that henceforth she would be running the company.

in spite of that : on the other hand —used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement

I'd like to go; however, I'd better not.

as something more : BESIDES —used for adding information to a statement

The city has the largest population in the country and in addition is a major shipping port.

all things considered : as a matter of fact —used when making a statement that adds to or strengthens a previous statement

He likes to have things his own way; indeed, he can be very stubborn.

for fear that —often used after an expression denoting fear or apprehension

He was concerned lest anyone think that he was guilty.

in addition : ALSO —often used to introduce a statement that adds to and is related to a previous statement

She is an acclaimed painter who is likewise a sculptor.

at or during the same time : in the meantime

You can set the table. Meanwhile, I'll start making dinner.

BESIDES, FURTHER : in addition to what has been said —used to introduce a statement that supports or adds to a previous statement

It probably wouldn't work. Moreover, it would be very expensive to try it.

in spite of that : HOWEVER

It was a predictable, but nevertheless funny, story.

in spite of what has just been said : NEVERTHELESS

The hike was difficult, but fun nonetheless.

without being prevented by (something) : despite—used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true

Notwithstanding their youth and inexperience, the team won the championship.

if not : or else

Finish your dinner. Otherwise, you won't get any dessert.

more correctly speaking —used to introduce a statement that corrects what you have just said

We can take the car, or rather, the van.

in spite of that —used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true

I tried again and still I failed.

by that : by that means

He signed the contract, thereby forfeiting his right to the property.

for that reason : because of that

This tablet is thin and light and therefore very convenient to carry around.

immediately after that

The committee reviewed the documents and thereupon decided to accept the proposal.

because of this or that : HENCE, CONSEQUENTLY

This detergent is highly concentrated and thus you will need to dilute it.

while on the contrary —used to make a statement that describes how two people, groups, etc., are different

Some of these species have flourished, whereas others have struggled.

NEVERTHELESS, HOWEVER —used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way

It was pouring rain out, yet his clothes didn’t seem very wet.

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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

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.

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Table of Contents

Ai, ethics & human agency, collaboration, information literacy, writing process, transitions – transition words – transitional phases.

  • © 2023 by Joseph M. Moxley - University of South Florida , Barbara McLain - The Out-of-Door Academy

Transitions are a lifeline for readers, listeners, users —a kind of conceptual superglue . Transition words and traditional phrases are crucial to helping audiences keep track of the author's reasoning and purposes for writing. Learn to identify when transitions are warranted in your work and the work of others. Distinguish between effective and ineffective transitions.      

transition words in descriptive writing

What are Transitions? Transition Words? Transition Phrases?

Transitions, Transition Words , Transitional Phases—these terms concern authors’ efforts to design the flow of information in a text in ways that promote clarity , brevity ,  simplicity ,  flow ,  unity for readers, listeners, users .

Accomplished writers understand interpretation is challenging. They understand readers can lose track of the big picture—the writer’s purpose , thesis , research question . Thus, when revising and editing , writers are careful to check the flow of information across words , sentences , paragraphs . They seek to identify and rewrite choppy spots in their writing when readers ask, “Why am I being given this information? So What? How does this relate to what’s been said thus far?”

Transitions refers to

  • the act of shifting the focus in discourse from one idea, process, state, experience to something new
  • the convention that writers address information literacy practices and perspectives when they cite textual evidence or empirical evidence
  • efforts to clarify a text’s organizational schema,

Transition Words & Phrases are words and phrases (aka signs or signposts) that writers and speakers use to help their readers, listeners, or users understand the flow of information across a text .

Transitional Words refers to elements of spoken and written language (e.g., words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and sections) that authors use to help audiences understand the flow of information across a text .

  • Transitions may be referred to as sticky points, wounds, seques, gaps
  • Transition Words may also be referred to as transitional language , linking language, explanatory language, metalanguage, pivoting, signposting

Related Concepts: Communication ; Information Architecture ; Organization ; Organizational Schema; Rhetorical Analysis ; Rhetorical Reasoning ; Unity

Why Do Transitions Matter?

For readers, listeners, users , transitions are a lifeline —a kind of conceptual superglue . Transition words are crucial to helping audiences keep track of the author’s reasoning and purpose for writing.

At any given moment, people experience a tsunami of information coming at them at warp speed. When reading or listening, people may be distracted by any number of other things—an email, a plane flying overhead, a social media post, a poignant memory, a stock market crash. Their own personal concerns or a nudge from social media may get them off task in a jiffy.

Writers and speakers use transitions to keep the audience’s focus on their narrative , thesis , research question , hypothesis.

Function of Transition Words & Transitional Phrases

Transition words and transition phrases may be categorized by their rhetorical function —aim of discourse, as illustrated in Table 1 below.

the first glimmer of the day to come, sunrise, St. Pete

Best Transition Words for Essays

The best transition words are the ones that best match your rhetorical situation .

In order to identify the best transition words for an essay you are writing, you should first engage in rhetorical analysis and rhetorical reasoning . Subsequently, you can then make rhetorically informed decisions regarding the appropriate persona , tone , and voice you should adopt when you begin your composition .

Sample Questions for Rhetorical Analysis of Transitions

In order to select appropriate transitions and transitional words for your texts , engage in rhetorical analysis . Ask yourself,

  • What is my purpose (aka aim) ? What am I attempting to accomplish?
  • If so, you may not even need transitions.
  • Then you’ll need extensive transitional language to help your readers follow your reasoning.
  • Are there any genre considerations or media considerations that inform your readers’ expectations regarding effective or ineffective uses of transitional language ?

Academic Writing Prose Conventions

Transition words in academic essays and academic writing in general tend

  • to use formal diction .
  • Academic essays often express transitions in paragraph form at the beginning of texts and interspersed between major sections
  • to reflect the information literacy perspectives & practices of their intended audiences.

Template for Transitions in Academic Writing

Below are examples of common transitions in academic writing genres.

Professional Writing Prose Conventions

Transition words in professional writing (aka workplace writing ) are similar to those in academic writing . However, there are a few distinctions: workplace writing tends to rely more on headings and visual language than rely on paragraph-style transitions like those used in academic writing.

Transitions & Invention

Revision: pic of a chrysalis transforming into a butterfly

For writers, transitions across topics can spark invention . Sometimes when revising, when looking in between sentences and paragraphs to check them for clarity , writers identify breakdowns in their reasoning or gaps in scholarly conversations or discover entirely new things to say.

How to Edit Transitions & Transition Words

Teachers and critic s write Transition? on texts when they

  • They don’t understand why they are being told what they are being told.
  • believe a t ransitional word or a transitional phrase is superfluous or used incorrectly (see Brevity )

You will find it helpful to examine your use of transition words if you have been told your organization needs work or that your writing is awkward or choppy .

Step 1: Rhetorical Analysis

First, make sure your transitions are appropriate for the rhetorical situation you are addressing. For example, if you are addressing a loved one in a personal note, you would want to use “also” instead of “moreover.”

Check, in particular, the tone and diction level of your transition words.

Step 2: Textual Analysis

When you revise , edit , or proofread your documents, you should consider whether or not you have provided sufficient transition s and transition words .

  • between and within sentences : Transitional words or phrases are used to create connections between sentences, as well as within sentences; both uses enhance the progression of ideas at the sentence level .
  • between paragraphs :  Transitional sentences are used to create a bridge between paragraphs. These sentences should provide a summary of the main idea of one paragraph and give the reader a clue as to what is coming in the next paragraph (Internal link to: relate paragraphs logically to previous paragraph(s).
  • between sections :  Transitional paragraphs are used in longer works to summarize the discussion of one section and introduce the reader to the concept(s) presented in the next section.

Also, be sure to double check that you have avoided tedious repetition. Remember, when it comes to transition words, less is more. When possible, you want to vary your transition words.

Example of Unvaried transitional language that creates a primer-like style:

We went to the national mall. Then we visited the Air and Space Museum. Then we stopped for lunch at Jaleo.

Varied transitional language : To start the day, we went to the national mall. After a stroll around the reflecting pool, we visited the Air and Space Museum. When we couldn’t walk another step, we stopped at Jaleo for lunch.

Related Concepts

Transitions, Transition Words, Transitional Language — these concepts are intertwined with information architecture , organizational schema (aka organizational scaffolding), and recent research on cognitive development and learning science theory.

Transitions & Transition Words are a major textual attribute of a reader-based prose style , an academic prose style , and a professional writing prose style (aka workplace writing style).

In contrast, writer-based prose lacks needed transitions and transition words .

Brevity - Say More with Less

Brevity - Say More with Less

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Diction

Flow - How to Create Flow in Writing

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

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The Elements of Style - The DNA of Powerful Writing

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The Power of Transition Words: How they connect and clarify your academic writing

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Academic writing demands clear communication of ideas to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to ensure that information is conveyed accurately and comprehensively. It serves as a vehicle for critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis, allowing scholars to contribute meaningfully to their fields of study. By employing suitable analogies and metaphors, writers can better understand the significance of their craft and strive to hone their skills in order to contribute meaningfully to the academic community. Let’s understand how we can achieve excellence in academic writing by using transition words.

What Are Transition Words?

Transition words are words or phrases that help establish connections between sentences, paragraphs, or ideas in a piece of writing. They act as bridges, guiding readers through the logical flow of information and signalling relationships between different parts of the text. Furthermore, they provide coherence and cohesion to your writing by clarifying the relationships between ideas, adding structure, and improving the overall readability.

Download this FREE infographic and make appropriate use of every transition word to enhance your academic writing.

Role of Transition Words in Effective Academic Writing

Transition words play a crucial role in enhancing clarity and coherence in academic writing. They act as linguistic signposts that guide readers through the text, helping them understand the relationships between ideas, and ensuring a smooth flow of information. The primary roles of these words in enhancing clarity and coherence can be summarized as follows:

transition words

A. Improving Readability and Comprehension

By facilitating smooth transitions and organizing information effectively, these words enhance the readability and comprehension of academic writing. They help readers navigate through complex texts, understand complex ideas, and follow the structure of the argument. Transition words facilitate reader navigation and comprehension, enhancing the reading experience with increased engagement and accessibility.

B. Organizing Thoughts and Paragraphs

Transition words assist in organizing thoughts and structuring the content of an academic paper. They provide a framework for presenting ideas in a coherent and systematic manner. By indicating sequence, order, or cause and effect relationships, these words help writers create a logical flow that guides readers smoothly from one point to the next. They enable the construction of well-organized paragraphs and facilitate the development of cohesive arguments.

C. Clarifying and Emphasizing

Transition words contribute to the clarity and precision of academic writing. They help define terms, rephrase or restate ideas, and provide necessary explanations. Additionally, they aid in emphasizing key points and drawing attention to important information. By strategically utilizing these words, writers can guarantee clear understanding of their ideas and effective conveyance of the intended message to the reader.

D. Coherence and Cohesion

Transition words are instrumental in creating coherence and cohesion within an academic paper. Coherence refers to the logical and smooth progression of ideas, while cohesion refers to the interconnectedness and unity of the text. They act as cohesive devices, linking sentences and paragraphs together and establishing a cohesive flow of information. They strengthen the logical connections between ideas, prevent abrupt shifts, and enable readers to follow the writer’s argument effortlessly.

E. Connecting Ideas

Transition words bridge the gap between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of an academic paper. They establish logical connections, indicating how ideas are related and allowing readers to follow the author’s train of thought. Whether showing addition, similarity, contrast, or example, these words help readers navigate between concepts and comprehend the overall message more effectively.

Types of Transition Words in Academic Writing

The types of transition words vary based on the situations where you can use them to enhance the effectiveness of your academic writing.

1. Addition

“Addition” transition words are used to introduce additional information or ideas that support or supplement the main point being discussed. They serve to expand upon the topic, provide further evidence, or present examples that strengthen your claims.

Examples of Addition Transition Words: 

  • Furthermore, the study not only analyzed the effects of X but also examined the impact of Y.
  • Moreover, the results not only confirmed the initial hypothesis but also revealed additional insights.
  • Additionally, previous research has shown consistent findings, strengthening the validity of our study.

2. Comparison and Contrast

“Comparison and Contrast” transition words are used in academic writing when you want to highlight similarities, differences, or relationships between different concepts, ideas, or findings. They help to establish clear connections and facilitate the comparison and contrast of various elements within your research.

Examples of Comparison and Contrast Transition Words:

  • Similarly, other researchers have reported comparable findings, corroborating the generalizability of our results.
  • In contrast, previous studies have demonstrated consistent patterns, reinforcing the existing body of knowledge.
  • In comparison, the current study offers a unique perspective by examining the relationship from a different angle.

3. Cause and Effect

“Cause and Effect” transition words are used when you want to demonstrate the relationship between a cause and its resulting effect or consequence. They help to clarify the cause-and-effect relationship, allowing readers to understand the connections between different variables, events, or phenomena.

Examples of Cause and Effect Transition Words:

  • As a result, the data provides compelling evidence for a causal relationship between X and Y.
  • Consequently, the hypothesis can be supported by the observed patterns in the collected data.
  • Hence, the proposed model is validated, given the consistent and statistically significant results.

4. Example and Illustration

“Example and Illustration” transition words are used when you want to provide specific instances, evidence, or illustrations to support and clarify your main points or arguments. These words help to make your ideas more tangible and concrete by presenting real-life examples or specific cases.

Examples of “Example and Illustration” Transition Words:

  • For example, one study conducted by Jackson et al. (2018) demonstrated a similar phenomenon in a different context.
  • To illustrate this point, consider the case of Company X, which experienced similar challenges in implementing the proposed strategy.
  • In particular, the data highlights the importance of considering demographic factors, such as age and gender, in the analysis.

5. Sequence and Chronology

“Sequence and Chronology” transition words are used in academic research papers when you want to indicate the order, progression, or sequence of events, ideas, or processes. These words help to organize information in a logical and coherent manner, ensuring that readers can follow the chronological flow of your research.

Examples of “Sequence and Chronology” Transition Words:

  • First and foremost, the study aims to examine the long-term effects of intervention X on outcome Y.
  • Subsequently, the participants were randomly assigned to either the control or experimental group.
  • Finally, the data analysis revealed significant temporal trends that require further investigation.

6. Clarification and Restatement

“Clarification and Restatement” transition words are used in academic writing when you want to provide further explanation, clarify a point, or restate an idea in a different way. These words ensure that readers understand your arguments and ideas clearly, avoiding any ambiguity or confusion.

Examples of “Clarification and Restatement” Transition Words:

  • In other words, the phenomenon can be explained by the interplay of various psychological and environmental factors.
  • Specifically, the term “efficiency” refers to the ability to achieve maximum output with minimum resource utilization.
  • To clarify, the concept of “sustainability” encompasses the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of development.

7. Emphasis

“Emphasis” transition words are used when you want to place special emphasis on certain points, ideas, or findings. These words help to draw attention to key information, highlight the significance of particular aspects, or underscore the importance of your arguments.

Examples of Emphasis Transition Words:

  • Notably, this study addresses a significant gap in the existing literature.
  • Importantly, the findings have implications for future policy decisions.
  • In particular, the study examined the relationship between age and cognitive performance.

8. Summary and Conclusion

“Summary and Conclusion” transition words are employed in academic writing when you want to provide a concise summary of the main points discussed in your paper and draw a conclusion based on the findings or arguments presented. These help to signal the end of your paper and provide closure to your research.

Examples of “Summary and Conclusion” Transition Words

  • In conclusion, the findings unequivocally support the initial hypothesis, emphasizing the significance of the proposed theory.
  • Overall, the results indicate a consistent pattern, providing a foundation for future research in this area.
  • In summary, this research makes a valuable contribution to the existing literature by extending our understanding of the topic.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Transition Words in Academic Writing

When using transition words in academic writing, it’s important to be mindful of common mistakes to ensure that your writing remains clear, cohesive, and effective.

transition words mistakes

1. Overusing Transition Words

Using too many transition words can make your writing appear cluttered and disrupt the flow of your ideas. Avoid overloading your sentences or paragraphs with excessive transitions. Instead, use them strategically to enhance clarity and coherence.

2. Using Inappropriate or Irrelevant Transitions

Choose transition words that are appropriate for the context and purpose of your writing. Avoid using them when they don’t align with the relationship between the ideas you are connecting. Ensure that the transitions you use are relevant and contribute to the overall coherence of your writing.

3. Neglecting Proofreading and Editing

As with any aspect of writing, proofreading and editing are crucial when using transition words. Carefully review your writing to ensure that you use transitions correctly and effectively. Look for any inconsistencies, redundancies, or errors in your use of transitions and make necessary revisions.

4. Failing to Understand the Meaning

It’s important to understand the precise meaning and usage of transition words before incorporating them into your writing. Using a transition word incorrectly or inappropriately can lead to confusion or misinterpretation. Therefore, it is important to consult reliable resources or style guides to familiarize yourself with the correct usage of each of these words.

5. Neglecting the Logical Flow

Transition words should help guide the reader through your writing and create a logical flow of ideas. Failing to use appropriate transitions can result in a disjointed or fragmented presentation. Ensure that your transitions establish clear connections and maintain the coherence of your writing.

6. Relying Only on Transition Words

While transition words are valuable tools, they should not replace effective writing and organization. Relying solely on transitions to connect your ideas can lead to weak or poorly structured writing. Focus on developing strong topic sentences, clear paragraph organization, and logical progression of ideas alongside the use of these words.

7. Ignoring Sentence Variety

Use transition words to enhance the variety and sophistication of your sentence structures. Avoid using the same words repeatedly, as this can make your writing monotonous. Instead, explore different transitions that convey the specific relationships between your ideas.

In essence, the strategic use of transition words is a powerful tool that connects and clarifies your academic writing. Furthermore, it elevates your work from a mere collection of ideas to a cohesive, well-structured, and thought-provoking piece of scholarship. By mastering the art of using these words effectively, you can enhance the impact of your academic writing and contribute meaningfully to your field of study.

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Thirty Transition Words for Essays

Thirty Transition Words for Essays

3-minute read

  • 10th August 2023

When writing an essay, you may know the main ideas and points you’re going to cover, but connecting them into a smooth, flowing piece of text that’s easy for readers to follow can seem like a challenge.

 Enter transition words . These words work like bridges between sentences and paragraphs so there are no jumps or choppy parts of your writing. Which transition words are appropriate for formal writing, and how do you choose the right ones for the connections you need to make? Check out our guide below.

Comparing or Contrast

If you want to introduce an idea in comparison to another, here are some transition words you can use:

If you want to add information or an extra point to an established one, try these transition words:

Proving or Causing

If you want to establish that one concept is the reason for another or serves as proof of an idea, some suitable transition words to use are:

Showing Sequence

Whether you’re establishing literal timing or just organizing your points into a sequence, use these transition words:

Emphasizing

If you want to emphasize or repeat a point, these transition words work well:

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Summarizing

If you want to lead into a conclusion or summary of an idea, here are some transition words you can use:

Tips for Using Transition Words in Essays

While transition words can be very useful in essays, you should keep a few things in mind. When using transition words or phrases, make sure that you:

Understand Their Meaning

Each transition word or phrase has a slightly (or vastly) different meaning than the next, so don’t view them as words that you can use interchangeably. Make sure you understand a word’s exact meaning and that it aligns with the connection you’re trying to make.

Don’t Overuse Them

Use transition words sparingly. Littering your paper with transitions can make your readers feel like you’re overexplaining concepts, and it adds unnecessary wordiness.

Don’t Start Sentences With Informal Transitions

Although starting a sentence with and or but is more acceptable than we may have once learned in elementary school, it’s still considered informal . You should avoid starting a sentence with informal transition words like and , but , or , so , and also , swapping them for more formal terms that have the same effect.

There are loads of transition words that you can use to help you connect ideas in your essay. We hope this post gave you some ideas. And once you finish a draft, send a copy our way. We can make sure you use transition words correctly as well as check your writing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and more. Try it out for free today.

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transition words in descriptive writing

Transition Words (List for Essays, Paragraphs, and Writing)

transition words and phrases

In grammar , transition words play a very important role. If used correctly, they can link your ideas, make your paragraphs more coherent, and enhance your writing.

But first – what exactly are transition words and how should you use them ?

What exactly are transition words?

Simply put, transition words are words that basically act as the powerful link that holds your sentences together. They are used to show the relationship between two (or more) phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs.

Transition words improve the flow of your writing, and make it more sensible and easier to read . Words like “and,” “additionally,” “because,” “therefore,” etc. are all transition words. Along with transition words, we also have transition phrases like “as well as,” “for example,” “after all,” etc.

Why are transition words used in a sentence?

1. they are link builders.

Using transition words helps you connect your ideas and thoughts clearly. It helps the reader understand how different ideas logically are related and not get confused. In addition, these words also prepare the readers for what they should expect next.

Let’s consider the following example:

  • Shannon couldn’t sleep well last night. Therefore , she drank two cups of coffee before starting her day.

Now, using the transition word “therefore” helped you achieve two things here:

  • It told the reader the cause-and-effect relationship between two things
  • It described how these sentences are connected and are a part of one process.

From the above example, the reader will understand that Shannon requires two cups of coffee because she couldn’t sleep well last night. These are two different sentences, but they are glued together with the transition word. Remove the transition word and both of these sentences will lose coherency.

2. Transition words help you put your thoughts in a logical order

Organized thoughts are essential elements of clear and concise writing. Writers should ensure that all the points mentioned in a sentence have a logical flow and there should not be any abrupt pauses between them.

Transition words help in introducing sequence or order to your writing. Here’s how:

  • First , we will go shopping. Then , we will go to a movie.

Here, we have used two transition words (“first” and “then”) at the beginning of two different sentences. They are used to denote a particular order in which two actions are to be performed.

3. Transition words make your work logical and easy to read

High-quality writing is always clear and easy to understand. It has a logical structure and helps the reader move from one thought to another effortlessly. The simpler the writing, the better the readability!

Transition words are the magic connectors that help you write in clear and plain English.

In both the above-mentioned examples, we have used the transition word at the beginning of the sentences. However, these words can also be used in the middle or at the end of a sense or phrase.

Consider the following sentence, for example:

  • I love watching the TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S because it makes me laugh.

Here, the transition word “because” helps in joining two clauses . It helps the reader understand two things clearly:

  • Which TV show does the writer loves watching
  • Why do they love watching that particular show

Different categories of transition words

Depending upon their usage and the types of transition a writer wishes to make, transition words are usually divided into multiple categories. There are transition words to show contrast, similarity, examples, and whatnot!

Generally, we have more than one transition word for a particular situation/ transition and so writers can pick the ones according to their liking.

Most of the time, these words mean the same things. However, sometimes they have slightly different meanings. Thus, it is important to understand the meaning and use-case of these words before making your final choice.

Here are some transition word examples according to different categories:

Transition words (contrast)

When it comes to displaying contrast “but” is the most common transition word. However, it is not the only word. There are several other transition words that you can use to display contrast in your sentences. Some of the common words include:

  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • Despite this
  • Nevertheless

More on in contrast transition words .

Transition words (example)

The following transition words should be used for showing examples:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • To illustrate
  • Specifically

Transition words (cause and effect)

Cause and effect

These transition words are used for denoting the cause-and-effect relationship between two sentences. The common transition words you can use for this are as follows:

  • Accordingly

Transition words (similarity)

Another common use of transition words is to show the similarity between sentences and phrases. Here are some commonly used transition words for denoting the similarity between two sentences:

  • In the same way

Transition words (time)

For showing different periods, the following transition words should be used:

  • Immediately
  • Subsequently

Transition words (sequence)

These transition words also define sequence or time. Here are some common sequence-based transition words that writers can include in their work:

Transition words (location)

These transition words are used to connect things based on their location or where they are placed to each other. Here are some of them:

  • Adjacent to

Transition words (emphasis)

As the name suggests, emphasis transition words help you in stressing an important point and accentuate your argument. Here are some common emphasis transition words:

These transition words offer huge help when you are drafting the conclusion of your work . Whether you are working on a school essay, summing up an idea, or working on your blog, conclusion transition words are an integral part of all kinds of writing.

Here are some common conclusion transition words that writers can use to simplify their writing:

  • In conclusion
  • To sum it up
  • On the whole

More on conclusion transition words .

Do transition words actually make a difference?

The main purpose of transition words is to make clunky, confusing, and disjointed sentences smooth , logical, and coherent. These words must be used to improve the flow of sentences and make your paper more engaging.

When trying to write in plain English, using appropriate transition words wherever possible can make a significant positive impact.

Writers must avoid making abrupt pauses or jumping from one sentence to another illogically. Instead, it is recommended to use transition words to establish an organizational flow in your work.

But the question is – do transition words actually work?

Let’s consider the following sentences – with and without the transition word – and see the difference:

  • Jess is going back home for three months. He needs two big bags to carry all his belongings.

While there is nothing wrong with these two sentences, they lack a logical flow. Here’s how using a transition word can improve it.

  • Jess is going back home for three months therefore he needs two big bags to carry all his belongings.
  • Robin decided to stop studying. She failed high school .

Again, while both of these sentences are grammatically correct, they neither sound good nor logical, There’s an abrupt pause between them. Let’s see how they’ll sound after adding a transition word.

  • Robin decided to stop studying. Consequently , she failed high school.
  • I could go home. I could stay at the office and finish my work.

Now, these two sentences don’t sound coherent at all. There is something off about them, they lack flow, and they don’t make any logical sense, right? However, once we add a simple transition word between them, they will become so much better. Here’s how:

  • I could go home, or I could stay at the office and finish my work.

By adding “or” (a contrast transition word), we linked the sentences. No need to rely on two awkward sentences that are better off as one.

How to use transition words correctly

In order to make a positive difference in your writing, the transition words must be used in a grammatically correct way.

When including transition words in their sentences, writers must remember the following important points:

1. The correct placement: When writing an essay, a blog, or an academic paper, the placement of the transition words plays a crucial role. Writers must plan where they want to place the transition words beforehand and then proceed with writing the sentences.

Generally, transition words can be placed –

  • At the beginning of the sentences
  • At the end of the sentences
  • In the middle of a sentence

2. Use a comma : When using a transition word in the middle of the sentence, it is important to always use a comma (,) before it. Doing so will separate the transition word from the rest of the sentence and give more clarity to your writing.

3. Consider the relationship between two sentences: It is another important tip that every writer must use while including transition words in their writing. Two sentences can have different kinds of relationships. They can be in agreement or disagreement with each other, there can be a cause-and-effect relationship, they can be in chronological order, etc.

Thus, it is crucial to have a clear idea about their relationship before deciding on a transition word.

Key takeaways

In English, using transition words can do wonders for your writing. It can make it more appealing, logical, and clear for the readers. Today, we have learned a lot about transition words and how writers should use them in their work.

Here is a quick summary of everything that we have learned in this article:

  • Transition words are words that are used when a writer is transitioning from one point to another.
  • They are commonly used as “linking words” that join two or more sentences, phrases, and paragraphs.
  • Some common and widely used transition words in English include “also,” “or,” “therefore,” and “thus.”
  • There are various categories of transition words and writers can use them depending on the relationship between sentences. Common categories of transition words include – cause-and-effect transition, similarity transition, emphasis transition, contrast transition, and more.

The 10 most commonly used transitional words include the following:

  • Furthermore
  • Consequently

When using transition words, it is important to strike the correct balance. Overusing transition words can make your work hard to read and reduce its quality.

While you can use multiple transition words in a paragraph, it is recommended to use just one transition word in a sentence.

With SEO becoming more and more important, using the right amount of transition words in your content has become all the more important. Following the best SEO practices and including the ideal amount of transition words in blogs and articles can help in increasing their Google ranking.

Ideally, a writer must ensure that at least 30% of their sentences include transition words. This will go a long way in improving the readability of their content and making it more engaging and simple.

There are several ways to write effective transition sentences . Here are some writing tips that can help writers write effective transition sentences:

  • Generally, it is advisable to use transition words at the beginning of your sentences. It helps you introduce the paragraph topic and logically connect the new sentence with the previous one.
  • As much as possible, it is advisable to avoid using the transition word “this.” It is because it can make your sentences confusing as it is not always clear what or who “this” refers to. Moreover, many people use pronouns like “this” or “that” as filler words.

The five most common types of transitions include the following:

  • Comparison – For example, “similarly”, “likewise,” “in the same way,” etc.
  • Contrast – For example, “on the contrary,” “or,” “otherwise,” “however,” etc.
  • Emphasis – For example, “in fact,” “above all,” etc.
  • Sequence – For example, “first,” “next,” “eventually,” etc.
  • Consequence – For example, “accordingly,” “as a result,” “consequently,” etc.
  • Wikipedia – Transition
  • Yoast SEO – Transition words: why and how to use them
  • Your Dictionary – How do I include transition words in my essay
  • Writer’s Room – Transition words and phrases

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transition words in descriptive writing

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transition words in descriptive writing

About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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transition words in descriptive writing

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Transition Words and Phrases

Transitions are connecting words or phrases that strengthen the internal cohesion of your writing. Transition words tell the reader how one idea relates to another. Using them appropriately makes your argument more convincing because the reader is able to understand the flow between and within paragraphs, including the relationship between different ideas, evidence, and analysis. 

Types of Transition Words and Phrases

  • additionally
  • coupled with
  • furthermore
  • equally important
  • in addition

Cause and Effect

  • accordingly
  • as consequence
  • as a result
  • at that time
  • concurrently
  • consequently
  • followed by
  • for this purpose
  • for this reason
  • subsequently
  • comparatively
  • correspondingly
  • in the same way
  • on the one han
  • together with

Contrast/Exception/Concession

  • a different view is
  • alternatively
  • despite/in spite of (+ noun)
  • differing from
  • even though
  • in contrast
  • it could also be said that
  • nevertheless
  • notwithstanding (+ noun)
  • nonetheless
  • on the contrary
  • on (the) one hand
  • on the other hand
  • regardless of (+ noun)
  • in particular
  • particularly

Example/Illustration

  • as an example
  • as an illustration
  • for example
  • for instance
  • illustrated by
  • in the/this case
  • on this occasion
  • specifically
  • to demonstrate
  • to illustrate
  • all things considered
  • at the same time
  • in other words
  • on the whole
  • that is to say
  • to put it differently
  • first, second, third, etc.

Summary/Conclusion

  • by and large
  • in any case
  • in any event
  • in conclusion
  • to conclude
  • to summarize
  • at that/this point
  • at that/this time
  • immediately
  • in the future
  • in the meantime
  • in the past
  • simultaneously

Sample Transition Words

While (1) qualitative data is helpful in gauging graduate student responses to Boot Camp, it is also crucial that we undertake data-driven analysis to support the value of the four-day writing event.   Currently (2),   quantitative measures of satisfaction of Dissertation Boot Camp participants are tracked in two ways: through a formal survey posted through SurveyMonkey and an informal survey that is handwritten at the end of the Camp.   In fact (3),   to ensure reliable data for analysis, the SurveyMonkey questionnaire is filled out by students at three different times: before Camp, on the first day of Camp, and 30 days after Camp. The decision to send the survey at three different times was made in order to ensure that attitudes prior to Camp matched attitudes on the first day, and to then compare that to results after Camp.   However (4) the current survey questions are somewhat informal, and none have been psychometrically tested. In order to improve the reliability and usefulness of the collected data, we will need to revise some of our Likert-scale based questions using currently-available test questions from other indices.   Ultimately (5) , this combination of quantitative and qualitative data will help us to make decisions about the program as it is offered in subsequent semesters.

(1) Comparison

(3) Emphasis

(4) Contrast/Exception/Concession

(5) Summary/Conclusion

IMAGES

  1. Transition Words: A Comprehensive List to Enhance Your Writing • 7ESL

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  2. 35+ Transition Words For First Second And Third Reno NV

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  3. Adding Transition Words to Descriptive Writing by Middle School Marketplace

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  4. How to Use Transition Sentences for Smoother Writing

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  5. List of Transition Words and Phrases in English

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  6. Transition Word Lists for Narrative and Expository Writing

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  1. How to use transition words in IELTS writing ✍️ #ielts #ieltspreperation #ieltstips #english #learn

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COMMENTS

  1. Descriptive Transitions

    Down and Dirty Tips: Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Descriptive Transitions. Tips for students on writing a Narrative / Descriptive essay. While this guide is not comprehensive, it does provide enough information for to students to follow and pass the assignment. This guide is especially helpful for those who don't have much time.

  2. Transitional Words and Phrases

    Using Transitional Words and Phrases. Transitional words and phrases can create powerful links between ideas in your paper and can help your reader understand the logic of your paper. However, these words all have different meanings, nuances, and connotations. Before using a particular transitional word in your paper, be sure you understand its ...

  3. Transition Words & Phrases

    Misused transition words can make your writing unclear or illogical. Your audience will be easily lost if you misrepresent the connections between your sentences and ideas. Confused use of therefore "Therefore" and similar cause-and-effect words are used to state that something is the result of, or follows logically from, the previous. Make ...

  4. How to Use Transition Words to Create Narrative Flow

    Level Up Your Team. See why leading organizations rely on MasterClass for learning & development. Transition words are useful for all types of writers. Whether you're attempting academic writing, blogging, speech writing, or writing fiction, transition words can help refine your text and create a narrative flow.

  5. Transitional Devices

    Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences ...

  6. Transition words and phrases: Examples and tips

    Transition words make writing easy to read. All this talk about organization, logical structure, and good flow and clarity pool together to deliver the champion writing characteristic - good readability. ... place transition words show location or explain when something happens, making them a helpful device for descriptive writing in ...

  7. Writer's Web: Transitional Words and Phrases

    Use transitions with enough context in a sentence or paragraph to make the relationships clear. Example of unclear transition: The characters in Book A face a moral dilemma. In the same way, the characters in Book B face a similar problem. Improved transition: The characters in Book A face a moral dilemma, a contested inheritance.

  8. Transition Words and Phrases in English

    A speeding car came around the corner. Rewrite: The boy kicked the ball into the street. At the same moment, a speeding car came around the corner. The rewrite uses a transition phrase to show when the event happened. We see the action in a wider lens: the ball goes into the street just as a car comes careening around the corner.

  9. 33 Transition Words for Essays

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  10. Transition Sentences

    For example, the following text uses three transition words and jumps back and forth between ideas. This makes it repetitive and difficult to follow. Example of overused transition words. Smith (2019) argues for the former hypothesis. However, Jones (2017) argues for the latter, while Davies (2015) agrees with Smith.

  11. Using Transitions

    School of Graduate Studies and Research. Kathleen Jones White Writing Center. Stabley Library, Room 203. 431 South Eleventh Street. Indiana, PA 15705. Phone: 724-357-3029. [email protected]. Transition words or phrases are needed in writing to guide the reader through your discussion or argument.

  12. Transition Words & Phrases

    Transitions give your writing coherence. They're like road signs, guiding readers through your thoughts. Below are some common transitions, categorized by the type of relationship they describe. While the examples within each category are similar, they are NOT interchangeable. Be sure the transition you're using suits your meaning.

  13. Transitions

    Transitions are a lifeline for readers, listeners, users—a kind of conceptual superglue. Transition words and traditional phrases are crucial to helping audiences keep track of the author's reasoning and purposes for writing. Learn to identify when transitions are warranted in your work and the work of others. Distinguish between effective and ineffective transitions.

  14. Transition Words

    Encourage them to write a meaningful transition word in each box. As they transition from the storyboard to a written draft, the transition words can be included. Discuss story events with students orally. As you summarize the book, use and emphasize specific transition words, "First the kids went in the snow. Then they built a snowman.

  15. Transition Words

    Transition words are words or phrases that help establish connections between sentences, paragraphs, or ideas in a piece of writing. They act as bridges, guiding readers through the logical flow of information and signalling relationships between different parts of the text. Furthermore, they provide coherence and cohesion to your writing by ...

  16. Transition Words: Examples In Sentences, Paragraphs & Essays

    The last thing you want is your transition words to feel trite and uninspired. Discover what these words are and a variety of examples for your writing here.

  17. Thirty Transition Words for Essays

    Comparing or Contrast. If you want to introduce an idea in comparison to another, here are some transition words you can use: However, later research shows…. Nevertheless, many people hesitate to…. On the contrary, a recent study reveals…. Conversely, the opposite effect happens when…. In contrast, the second group exhibited….

  18. Transition Words (List for Essays, Paragraphs, and Writing)

    They are commonly used as "linking words" that join two or more sentences, phrases, and paragraphs. Some common and widely used transition words in English include "also," "or," "therefore," and "thus.". There are various categories of transition words and writers can use them depending on the relationship between sentences.

  19. Transition Words and Phrases

    Transition Words and Phrases. Transitions are connecting words or phrases that strengthen the internal cohesion of your writing. Transition words tell the reader how one idea relates to another. Using them appropriately makes your argument more convincing because the reader is able to understand the flow between and within paragraphs, including ...

  20. PDF Transition, Persuasive, and Descriptive Words

    TRANSITIONS To improve your writing you need to make sure that your ideas, both in sentences and paragraphs, stick together or have coherence and that the gap between ideas is bridged smoothly. One way to do this is by using transitions - words or phrases or techniques that help bring two ideas together.