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- Transition sentences | Tips & examples for clear writing
Transition Sentences | Tips & Examples for Clear Writing
Published on June 9, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.
Clear transitions are crucial to clear writing: They show the reader how different parts of your essay, paper, or thesis are connected. Transition sentences can be used to structure your text and link together paragraphs or sections.
… In this case, the researchers concluded that the method was unreliable.
However , evidence from a more recent study points to a different conclusion . …
Table of contents
Transitioning between paragraphs, transitioning to a new section, transitions within a paragraph.
When you start a new paragraph , the first sentence should clearly express:
- What this paragraph will discuss
- How it relates to the previous paragraph
The examples below show some examples of transition sentences between paragraphs and what they express.
Placement of transition sentences
The beginning of a new paragraph is generally the right place for a transition sentence. Each paragraph should focus on one topic, so avoid spending time at the end of a paragraph explaining the theme of the next one.
The first dissenter to consider is …
However, several scholars dissent from this consensus. The first one to consider is …
While transitions between paragraphs are generally a single sentence, when you start a new section in a longer text, you may need an entire transition paragraph. Transitioning to a new section involves summarizing the content of the previous section and expressing how the new one will build upon or depart from it.
For example, the following sentences might be an effective transition for a new section in a literary analysis essay.
Having established that the subjective experience of time is one of Mann’s key concerns in The Magic Mountain , it is now possible to explore how this theme facilitates the novel’s connection with World War I. The war itself is not narrated in the book, but rather hinted at as something awaiting Castorp beyond the final pages. In this way, Mann links his protagonist’s subjective experience of time to more than just his illness; it is also used to explore the period leading up to the outbreak of war.
As in academic writing generally, aim to be as concise as you can while maintaining clarity: If you can transition to a new section clearly with a single sentence, do so, but use more when necessary.
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It’s also important to use effective transitions within each paragraph you write, leading the reader through your arguments efficiently and avoiding ambiguity.
The known-new contract
The order of information within each of your sentences is important to the cohesion of your text. The known-new contract , a useful writing concept, states that a new sentence should generally begin with some reference to information from the previous sentence, and then go on to connect it to new information.
In the following example, the second sentence doesn’t follow very clearly from the first. The connection only becomes clear when we reach the end.
By reordering the information in the second sentence so that it begins with a reference to the first, we can help the reader follow our argument more smoothly.
Note that the known-new contract is just a general guideline. Not every sentence needs to be structured this way, but it’s a useful technique if you’re struggling to make your sentences cohere.
Transition words and phrases
Using appropriate transition words helps show your reader connections within and between sentences. Transition words and phrases come in four main types:
- Additive transitions, which introduce new information or examples
- Adversative transitions, which signal a contrast or departure from the previous text
- Causal transitions, which are used to describe cause and effect
- Sequential transitions, which indicate a sequence
The table below gives a few examples for each type:
Grouping similar information
While transition words and phrases are essential, and every essay will contain at least some of them, it’s also important to avoid overusing them. One way to do this is by grouping similar information together so that fewer transitions are needed.
For example, the following text uses three transition words and jumps back and forth between ideas. This makes it repetitive and difficult to follow.
Rewriting it to group similar information allows us to use just one transition, making the text more concise and readable.
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How to Use Transition Sentences for Smoother Writing
In most instances, your writing follows a logical path from your introduction to your conclusion, stopping at various supporting points along the way. Transition sentences enable your writing to progress down this path in a clear, logical manner.
Transition sentences, as their name implies, express the transitions between thoughts that link them together. They’re the segues that communicate the how, when, where, why, and other relationships you explore in your writing as you move from the introduction to the conclusion , incorporating all relevant supporting points along the way.
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What are transition sentences?
Transition sentences are the sentences that show the relationship between two or more ideas. Think of them as bridges, tunnels, and merges that connect different sections of your work , with specific words and phrases acting as road signs. Take a look at this example:
- That company routinely touts efficiency as one of its core brand values. However, the current workday structure is inefficient and slows down employee productivity. Changing to a primarily remote structure with flexible working hours would increase productivity by improving efficiency.
In this example, the middle sentence is the transition sentence. Try reading the first and third sentences in direct succession, skipping over the transition sentence. They make sense, but without that middle sentence, the statement, as a whole, is significantly less impactful.
What makes a good transition sentence?
A good transition sentence is one that makes the relationship between the ideas it’s linking absolutely clear . It’s one of the most important tools in your writing toolkit because no matter what you’re writing—or whether you’re working on a short story , a blog post , a news article, or a lengthy academic work —being able to express your ideas in a clear way that your reader understands is key.
The best transition sentence to use in a given situation depends on what you need to communicate. For example, if you need to communicate a point that contradicts your previous statement, an effective transition sentence is one that includes a word or phrase such as however , despite this/that , in contrast , or nonetheless . Take a look at these examples:
- I make it a priority to wake up an hour before I need to leave home each morning. Despite this, I manage to be late to work at least twice per week.
- Most of the class said Friday was their favorite day of the week. However, a small group of students reported that Wednesday is their favorite weekday.
Transition sentences do more than buffer contradictory statements, though. They also express similarities , sequences , emphasis , position , examples , and cause-and-effect relationships . Here are a few more examples of transition sentences at work:
- Employees who’ve returned to the office reported higher productivity levels since switching to a four-day week. Similarly, remote employees have also reported they’re more productive with the new schedule.
- First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, begin combining your dry ingredients as the oven heats.
- He chose not to buy in that neighborhood because it was too long of a commute to his office. More importantly, its schools aren’t well-ranked.
- Her parties are our favorites because she always chooses unique activities. For instance, her last Halloween party involved a midnight ghost hunt.
- I stacked the bricks as tall as I could stack them. Next to the stack, I dropped all my extra bricks.
- They were fifteen minutes late. Therefore, we couldn’t let them in to see the show.
- My aunt and uncle love Disney World. In fact, they go there twice every year.
Useful words and phrases for transition sentences
So what actually turns regular sentences into transition sentences? Transition words .
Transition words and phrases are the road signs we mentioned earlier that direct your writing’s flow from one thought to the next. The transition word you choose for a sentence is critical to your reader’s ability to understand your writing because in many cases, otherwise identical sentences can have very different meanings if they have different transition words. Here are quick examples of how word choice can transform one idea:
- We love to try different local restaurants and explore new cuisines. Recently, we tried two new restaurants downtown.
- We love to try different local restaurants and explore new cuisines. Hence, we tried two new restaurants downtown.
- We love to try different local restaurants and explore new cuisines. On the whole, we tried two new restaurants downtown.
See how our example foodies’ point changed dramatically just by swapping out the transition words and phrases? Take a look at the most commonly used transition words and phrases for specific transitions:
Transition words and phrases to communicate similarities
- in the same way
Transition words and phrases to express emphasis
- most importantly
- to underscore this
Transition words and phrases to demonstrate cause and effect
- because of
Transition words and phrases to denote position
- across from
Transition words and phrases to illustrate a sequence
- before you begin
Transition words and phrases to show examples
- for example
- for instance
- to illustrate
Transition sentences between paragraphs
Beyond writing strong sentences by using transition words and phrases, you can harness these valuable tools to write more effective paragraphs . Generally, the ideal place for a transition sentence is the beginning of a paragraph because this is where you explain new information’s relevance. Your transition sentence should do two things: introduce its paragraph’s topic and give it context within your piece as a whole.
Take a look at this example of a strong transition sentence between paragraphs:
We hiked all day. After a few hours, my friend, my dog, and I all started to feel weary, taking more frequent rests than we’d taken at the beginning of the hike. But once we caught a glimpse of the mountain’s peak, we felt rejuvenated and powered through the last leg of the way up. We’d spent months planning this trip, and now we were finally there.
After we reached the peak, it was time to decide the best way to go back down the mountain. Somehow, it felt anticlimactic—months and months planning this hike, visualizing ourselves standing atop the tallest mountain we’d hiked to date and now, standing in that position, all I felt was the exhaustion I knew would come with maneuvering our way back down and out of the woods as the sun set.
In the example above, the use of “after” to initiate the transition creates a contextual contrast between the general ideas in each paragraph. Keep in mind, the kinds of transition words and phrases that work within paragraphs aren’t always the ones that work best to transition between paragraphs. For example, starting off a new paragraph with a word like “therefore” or “similarly” usually can’t introduce the following information sufficiently.
Transition sentences between sections
Just as transition sentences make the progress from one paragraph to the next more coherent, transition sentences also bridge larger sections of your writing. In some cases, you may need more than just a sentence to transition from one section to the next. These broader transition sentences and paragraphs serve a similar purpose to the transitions between paragraphs: to link the concepts explored in consecutive sections of your writing.
Take a look at these transition sentences and how they can be used to guide a reader through large sections of your work:
By 2018, it was apparent that we lagged behind our competitors in one key area: providing self-serve checkouts. Every other big-name service center utilizes this kind of system and has seen an increase in sales and in-store efficiency once implementing it.
Now that we’ve upgraded every service center to the new, fully self-serve system, our company is weighing which large-scale project is most pressing to complete over the next year. There are a few areas with significant room for improvement, each of which comes with its own unique challenges.
One area of interest is employee retention. Currently, we have a similar turnover rate to our competitors, which costs the company millions in training and other onboarding costs every year. Lowering our turnover rate would reduce this expense, but exactly how much we can realistically lower our turnover rate is yet to be seen. Another key area our team identified as having room for improvement is our online presence. We have identified potential strategies for increasing our online presence as well as potential hurdles that could arise, which we’ll cover in detail in the following paragraphs.
Transition sentences within paragraphs
As we mentioned earlier, the transition sentences you’d use to introduce new paragraphs usually aren’t the ones you use to transition from sentence to sentence within a paragraph. These sentences have a much narrower scope and work best for tighter transitions, such as comparing details about ideas rather than comparing the ideas themselves.
Transition sentences are crucial within paragraphs. Take a look at how a paragraph would read without transition sentences:
The best days of my childhood were the days I spent up at my grandparents’ cabin on the lake. I learned how to swim. My grandfather took me to a small, shallow cove where I practiced all the basics. I was a confident swimmer.
Choppy and awkward, right? Now see how transition sentences make it make sense:
The best days of my childhood were the days I spent up at my grandparents’ cabin on the lake. That’s where I learned how to swim. Every afternoon, my grandfather took me to a small, shallow cove where I practiced all the basics. By the time I was eight, I was a confident swimmer.
Fit every word and phrase into your writing with ease
Transition sentences are one of the keys to smooth, flowing writing. When you’re not sure if the transition sentence you’ve chosen is the right one for your work, Grammarly can help. Our writing suggestions catch spelling and syntax mistakes and grammatical errors and can even detect the tones present in your writing. When the word you chose isn’t the right one for the point you’re making, Grammarly can suggest one that is.
Understanding Transition Sentences (For Essays and Writing with Examples)
What are transition sentences? And how do they work? Is there a correct way to use them? And an incorrect way? Understanding transition sentences is critical when writing essays, articles, or any type of logical flow.
Learn what transitional sentences are in this short guide…
What are transition sentences?
When you write an article, essay (or anything), you’ll want to write it in a logical sequence. You start with an introduction, highlight your points, and then end with a conclusion. Throughout your writing, you would be using sentences to express your thought. To make your writing effective, you need to link the sentences together in a logical way .
This is where transition sentences can be helpful.
As the name suggests, a transition sentence links the thoughts you are expressing in your writing. They make use of words and phrases that act as a bridge between different parts of your writing.
Transition sentences allow your reader to move smoothly from one section to another. Without transition sentences, your reader might not be able to understand the link between different parts of your writing.
What makes a good transition sentence?
Look at this example:
The CEO was very clear that productivity and efficiency were the two key things he would focus on. However , the legacy systems followed by the company acted as a detriment. Tech modernization was the solution that would enhance productivity and efficiency.
Sentences one and three make sense by themselves. But it is important to establish a relationship between the two. This is what the second sentence does . It acts as a bridge (or transition) between the first and third sentences. By doing so, it helps the writer communicate their ideas more effectively.
A good transition sentence would bring clarity by linking ideas expressed in the sentences before and after it. Words and phrases like ‘however,’ ‘in contrast,’ ‘for instance,’ ‘in fact,’ and ‘therefore’ can get used to help make the transition.
Many transition words are available to use. Choose the appropriate word for the situation.
For example, if you want to show the sequence between two sentences, you can use a word like ‘then’ or ‘after.’ If you want to emphasize a point through the transition, you can use ‘indeed,’ ‘especially,’ or ‘particularly.’
Transition words can be used at the start of the sentence ( e.g. , Surely , you are not going to go now!). It can also be used within the sentence (e.g., I rejected the job offer because the salary was lesser than my present pay ).
Here are a few tips that will help you use transition words correctly:
- When sentences within a paragraph sound abrupt or awkward, you need to use transition words to link them.
- Choose the correct transition word that is appropriate to the situation. A wrong selection can make your reader confused.
- When moving from one idea to another, use a transition word to let the reader know.
- Don’t make the mistake of overusing transition words. Too many transition words can end up making your writing look messy.
List of words for transition sentences
Some common words used in transition sentences are:
List of phrases for transition sentences
Transition sentences would use both words and phrases as the bridge. A few phrases that are used include:
- In other words
- On the contrary
- As a result
- In the long run
- As you can see
- In the following
- In the previous
- Having established
- Most importantly
- For example/instance
- By the time
5 Examples of Transitions (Types of Transitions)
Conjunctive adverbs can be used to establish the logical link between ideas. They can be classified under five heads. It must be noted some words appear in multiple categories.
- In addition
- In the same way
The following example will make this clear.
First , put a pan on the stove and heat it. Next , add oil to the pan.
In the above, first and next act as the transition and are adding on to what is being said previously.
These words establish a contrast or difference while making the transition.
- In contrast
- Even though
- At any rate
- In spite of that
- On the other hand
The island was not the paradise we were hoping for. On the contrary , it was dirty, noisy, and had unmanageable traffic.
The above example brings out a contrast between expectations and reality.
- By comparison
- In the same manner
Jonathan is crazy about chess. His daughter is similarly a big fan of the board game.
In this example, the word similarly shows a comparison between father and daughter. You may note the transition word need not be at the start of the sentence. It can be placed anywhere.
These transition words are indicative of a result. It shows the result of the previous sentence/idea.
Their star player was suffering from a hamstring injury and could not play. Hence , their team faced a humiliating defeat on match day.
The star player’s absence resulted in the team’s defeat. The transition word ‘Hence’ in the example is the bridge between the cause/event and the result.
Some transition words show relationships in time. They include:
The speaker will be a bit late for the talk. Meanwhile , let’s ask the participants to share their views on the program .
As the speaker will be late, there is time left. So, the participants are asked to share their views and opinions. In this example, ‘Meanwhile’ is a transition word that shows relationship to time.
Subordinating conjunctions and transition sentences
You can use a subordinating conjunction in a sentence to join a dependent clause to an independent clause .
Example: When the postman came, my dog greeted him with a volley of barks.
In this example, the word ‘when’ is the subordinating conjunction that joins ‘the postman came’ and ‘my dog greeted him …’
The subordinating conjunction serves a special purpose here. It acts as a transition between two ideas. The use of the coordinating conjunction provides a logical flow.
Example: He is smarter than you are.
In this example, “than” is the subordinating conjunction that connects ‘He is smarter’ and ‘you are.’ It provides the bridge or transition between the two clauses .
Let’s look at another example to understand this. There are two clauses – ‘The spring arrives’ and ‘my hay fever gets aggravated. A subordinating conjunction can link the two. We can use ‘As’ here. So, the sentence would now read – ‘ As the spring arrives, my hay fever gets aggravated.’
Correlative conjunctions and transition sentences
The correlative conjunction shows a correlation between two words or phrases within a sentence. They play a key role in transition sentences. The use of a correlative conjunction ensures a smooth flow between two sentences or ideas.
Example: My boss totally ignored my work. Neither my hard work nor my punctuality impressed him. So, I decided to move on and look for a new job.
In the above example, sentences one and three are independent and convey the meaning clearly. However, the second sentence acts as a transition explaining why sentence one leads to sentence two.
In the second sentence, we see the use of neither … nor. This combination of words acts as correlative conjunctions in this example.
Some other words that work as correlative conjunctions are:
- Either … or
- Neither … nor
- Whether … or
- Not only … Also
Whether you want to have dinner or prefer to skip it is entirely left to you.
The above example uses Whether … or as correlative conjunctions in the sentence.
Examples of transition sentences
Examples of transition sentences:
To communicate similarities, you can use transitional words like:
Examples of sentences where the transition word communicates similarities:
- He decided to join the army just as his brother had done five years back.
- You can fly this plane the same way you flew the trainer jet; there is no real difference.
- All the employees in the Production department come from the neighboring town . Similarly , the store staff is also from that town.
Words like ‘especially,’ ‘above all,’ ‘particularly’, ‘indeed,’ in fact,’ and ‘in particular’ can be used to express emphasis. When used in transition sentences, they emphasize the idea express previously.
- She was overweight. In fact , it won’t be wrong to say she was grossly obese.
- I liked the blue dress in particular .
- Indeed , it won’t be wrong to say that her arrogance led to the engagement’s breakup.
- There is a lot of focus on improving public services, especially education.
Cause and effect
Transition sentences can be very helpful in showing cause and effect or result. The following words can be used for this:
- At that time
- They spent the entire semester binge-watching shows. Consequently , they failed to obtain pass marks on any of the papers.
- There are just ten items left in stock. Hence , it would be better if we suspend taking new orders at present.
- The tests revealed that his blood pressure and cholesterol levels were very high. As a result , the doctor decided that he had to increase the dosage of his medicines.
Position or place can be indicated through the use of transition words like:
- At the back
Here are some example sentences:
- Walk towards the bookshelf. Adjacent to the shelf is a table, that’s where you will find the money.
- The house was located a few yards from the river. Next to the house was the scary-looking tree.
- You will see the building with the red flag. The storeroom is at the back of this building.
Describe a sequence
Transition words are perfect to use while describing a sequence. The words that can be used are:
- Followed by
- First , write down all the numbers in the form of a list. Next , add all the numbers. Finally , write down the total.
- Initially , three employees were working on the project. Subsequently , the project grew the numbers rise to twenty.
- The private plane owned by the CEO was the first to land. This was followed by the helicopter containing the crew.
To show examples
Transition words can be used to show examples or illustrate a particular point. Some words to use are:
- For example
- For instance
- Illustrated by
- As an example
- In this case
- On this occasion
- To illustrate
- To demonstrate
- The speaker displayed the blueprint of the equipment on the screen. To illustrat e its working, he showed a video.
- There are seven tools you can use to solve this problem. As an example , I will talk about the fishbone diagram.
- Different essential oils can help you feel relaxed. For instance , using lavender oil makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
How to use transition sentences between paragraphs
Transition sentences can get used within a paragraph. It also can get used between paragraphs.
This is important since the transition sentence provides a flow between paragraphs . It allows the readers to understand the relationship between the ideas expressed in those two different paragraphs.
When you start writing a paragraph , show a link to the previous paragraph in the first sentence. This establishes a bridge between both paragraphs.
Here’s an example:
There is no doubt that the effects of pollution by industries. This is why activists call for a ban on industries to stop pollution.
Despite the previous argument , we must also think about the economy. Banning industries will bring the economy to a standstill.
This example, ‘despite the previous argument’ is used to transition between the two paragraphs.
In contrast, the first part calls for a ban on industries, and the second discusses the economic effect. Using a transition allows for a smooth flow between the two.
Examples of transition sentences for essays
The use of transitions is very important in essays. An essay is written to convey an idea, opinion, or viewpoint. To ensure its effectiveness, transition sentences are needed at different parts of the essay. Transition sentences are needed between sentences, between sections, and at the conclusion of the essay.
A few examples of this:
- Having established that a large majority of students have internet access, we can conclude t hat e-learning is a distinct possibility.
- All the employees have a smartphone. In fact , most of them connect to the company’s Wi-Fi using their phone.
Examples of transition words for concluding sentences
Transition sentences are used throughout a write-up. It is imperative that the conclusion also has a transition. Your write-up needs to end with a summary of what you are trying to say. Or with a call-to-action. Using transition words in the conclusion can help you achieve this.
A few transition words you can consider using are:
- In conclusion
- As shown above
- On the whole
- Generally speaking
- To summarize
- To summarize , sustained use of this medicine offers significant benefits to patients.
- In summary, democracy has many limitations but no other acceptable alternative.
- Ultimately , it all boils down to the decision taken by the customer.
- In short , the best option available is to get funds from a new investor.
More on sentence structure:
- Dangling modifier
- Transition sentences
- Active voice
- Passive voice
- Adverbial clause
- Transition Sentences Tips and Examples for Clear Writing
- Transitional devices
- How to Use Transition Sentences for Smoother Writing
- Transition Words: Examples in Sentences, Paragraphs & Essays
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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: Examples In Sentences, Paragraphs & Essays
- DESCRIPTION transition words in a sentence
- SOURCE cake/ice cream: hollymolly / iStock / Getty Images Plus , girl: Qvasimodo / iStock / Getty Images Plus
- PERMISSION Used under Getty Images license
Transitional words and phrases help make a piece of writing flow better and connect one idea to the next. Because there's more than one way to connect ideas, there are many types of transitional phrases to show a variety of relationships. View several transition words and examples of phrases used in sentences, paragraphs and essays.
What Are Transitional Words and Phrases?
So, what are transition words? Well, transition words work to connect thoughts, sentences and paragraphs together. Transition words are important within a sentence or paragraph because they allow your arguments to flow seamlessly from one sentence or thought to another. When introducing transition words , the most basic transition words are conjunctions that join words, phrases or clauses together. For example, words like and , but and or can connect two sentences together.
- I ran home, and I got there just in time. ( and is a transition word that connects the two occurrences equally)
- I ran home, but I was still late. ( but introduces a contrast)
- I could run home, or I could stay at school and work. ( or presents two different options)
As you can see in the examples above, even simple conjunctions serve different purposes. Knowing the different categories of transition words , which you'll see below, will help you choose the ones that best get your point across.
Other transition words are adverbs that describe the way an action is performed or how it relates to another idea.
- I went to the mall after he gave me my paycheck.
- Bowling is a sport in which the player with the highest score wins. Conversely, the goal in golf is to get the lowest score.
- First, we are going fishing. Then , we will get ready for dinner.
Paragraph Example With Transition Words
Simple transition words don’t just work on a singular sentence level. They can work to bring together an entire paragraph. Read through the paragraph without transition words. Then, look at the same paragraph with transition words added. Do you see how the example without transition words is choppy and abrupt? Transition words help your thoughts flow from one idea to the next and connect sentences for conciseness.
- DESCRIPTION transition words animation
- SOURCE redchocolatte / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Types of Transition Words and Phrases
There are several types of transition words and phrases, and each category helps the reader to make certain connections. Some signal the building of an idea, while others help readers compare ideas or draw conclusions. Here is a list of transition words and common transition sentence examples.
List of transition words
Types of transitions in writing.
When it comes to the creation of essays and papers, using transitions becomes more important. You need to use transitions within and between sentences, to connect paragraphs and to connect whole sections of an essay. See how transition words and phrases work to connect sentences, paragraphs and sections through examples.
Transitions Within Sentences
Transition words can be used to connect thoughts within a sentence. This transition highlights chronology or the order in which events occurred. Check out these transition word examples.
- Original: Susan spoke up, thinking of the right answer.
- With Transitions: Susan spoke up after thinking of the right answer.
- Original: Susan wanted cake. She wanted ice cream.
- With Transitions: Susan wanted cake, but she also wanted ice cream.
- Original: Drawing takes talent. Drawing takes dedication. Everyone can learn to draw.
- With Transitions: While it may be true that drawing takes talent and dedication, everyone can learn to draw.
Transition Words Between Paragraphs
When transitions are used between paragraphs, they are often in the form of a phrase or clause that refers to the previous information while introducing a new idea. These transitions often come at the beginning of new paragraphs. See how this works by exploring these transition sentence examples.
- In conclusion , the thesis is clear.
- It follows logically that the answer results from the points made earlier in this paper.
- Lastly , it is important to link all these points together.
- Next , we will look at the evidence for improving nutrition in schools.
- Despite the previous argument , it is also important to think about bees when discussing pollution.
Examine how this works through a longer paragraph example. Notice how the transition words and phrases make the flow from one paragraph to the next seamless.
Lastly , the effect poverty has on education needs to be examined. Many students below the poverty line do not have access to transportation and other resources that allow them to take advantage of school of choice. Additionally , the services available through programs within their area are lacking. It follows logically that these students lack access to quality education and services students in middle class homes have. As you can see , poverty can have an impact on several aspects of an individual’s life. Not only does it impact their work and home life, but their education as well. Therefore , as a community, it’s pivotal to provide advanced services and assistance to individuals in lower-income areas.
Transitions Between Sections
When writing a longer essay or research paper, it’s important to use transitions to link one section to another. Not only do you use transition words to create this section, but the paragraph itself is a transitional paragraph. Here's what a transition paragraph might look like.
In the previous section, this study explored the demographics of the Chicago, Illinois area. Understanding the diversity of the population throughout the area is particularly important to dissecting the implementation of after-school programs. In the following paragraphs, the study will consider the importance demographics play in understanding the need-based programs.
Using Transition Words
If you want a quick reference guide for using transition words in sentences, paragraphs and papers, this infographic is the perfect tool.
- DESCRIPTION transition words examples infographic
- SOURCE river: colematt / iStock / Getty Images Plus , people icons: browndogstudios / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Signs You Need Transition Words
When students start out as writers, it can be hard to know exactly when to use transition words. However, there are a few things you can look for to know when you should include transition words in your essay .
1. Section Sounds Choppy or Abrupt
If the paragraph or sentence you are writing sounds abrupt, transition words are needed.
- Original: Michael didn't have enough money to buy his mom flowers. He wasn't old enough to get a job. He felt sad on Mother's Day.
- With Transitions: Michael didn't have enough money to buy his mom flowers because he wasn't old enough to get a job. Nevertheless , he felt sad on Mother's Day.
2. Trouble Following Train of Thought
While writing without transitions can be abrupt, it can also be confusing. It’s important to guide readers from one thought to the next.
- Original: Tracy did not have money. Jill had money. Tracy bought a gift for her mother.
- With Transitions: While Tracy did not have money, Jill did. Therefore , Tracy bought a gift for her mother.
Without using the transition words, it’s hard to follow how Tracy could buy the gift.
3. Writing Jumps From One Idea to Next
Since you write the way you think, it can be easy to jump from one idea or point in your thesis statement to the next. However, this can be hard for readers to follow. Use transition words in these areas to guide readers from one idea to the next easier.
- Original: Locations below the poverty level need more education services. It’s important to discuss how poverty affects work life.
- With Transitions: As you can see , locations below the poverty level need more education services. Next , it’s important to also discuss how poverty affects work life.
Common Mistakes With Transition Words
While using transition words might seem easy, it’s anything but. Many times, transition words are used incorrectly in a sentence or paragraph. Explore a few common mistakes of transition words to ensure you use them correctly in your writing.
Mixing Up the Meaning of Your Transition Words
When adding transition words to your writing, you need to know what they mean to use them correctly. For example, therefore is commonly used incorrectly in a phrase.
- Incorrect: Low-income households do not have disposable income. Therefore, backpacks are expensive.
- Correct: Low-income households do not have disposable income. Therefore, it might be hard for them to buy expensive backpacks.
When using cause and effect words like therefore , make sure the connection from one sentence to the next is a logical one.
Additionally, words like and or as well as can get confused because people think they are interchangeable. However, they are not. When you’re presenting two things of equal importance, you need to use and . For two topics that are related but one is more important, you can use as well as .
- Incorrect: Both my introduction as well as my conclusion presented my thesis statement.
- Correct: Both my introduction and conclusion presented my thesis statement.
Transition Words Making Informal Sentences
Another area that’s important to watch when using transition words in technical writing is adding informal writing techniques. And , also and so are transition words you should be adding to sentences. However, adding them to the beginning of the sentence makes it less formal. Therefore, you might want to consider more formal transition words like additionally and furthermore .
- Informal: So the research points to a clear correlation between demographics and location.
- Formal: Furthermore, the research points to a clear correlation between demographics and location.
- Informal: And the research examined the demographics of each area.
- Formal: Additionally, the research examined the demographics of each area.
Creating Incomplete Sentences With Transition Words
When you use transition words, it’s important to ensure you don’t accidentally create an incomplete sentence. For example, words like, if , although and since are subordinating conjunctions . Therefore, you can easily create a fragment sentence if you aren’t careful.
- Fragment: Jones argues for the Oxford comma. Although everyone doesn’t agree.
- Complete: Jones argues for the Oxford comma, although everyone doesn’t agree.
- Fragment: Because the research showed a correlation. We completed the experiment.
- Complete: Because the research showed a correlation, we completed the experiment.
Overusing Transition Words
Transition words require a delicate balance. While you can have too few transition words, you can also add too many. Not only is using too many transition words distracting in the writing, but it can also make the piece hard to read and understand. See how too many transition words can disrupt a passage through this example.
- Overusing transition words - During spring break, we went to see my aunt. Therefore, I wanted to bring a present. However, I wasn't sure what to bring. At the same time, we didn't have time to go to the store, so I went without a present.
- Corrected version - During spring break, we went to see my aunt. I wanted to bring a present. However, I wasn't sure what to bring. We didn't have time to go to the store, so I went without a present.
See how the transition words "therefore" and "at the same time" aren't really serving any purpose in the article. By removing them the story actually flows better and is easier to understand.
Building a Smooth Transition
These are just a few examples of the many transition words and phrases available in the English language to make your writing more cohesive. Bear in mind that it is possible for some words to be placed in more than one category, depending on the way you use them or the ideas you're trying to connect. Additionally, transition words used by 2nd graders will differ from 6th grade transition word usage.
For even more on transition words, see our comprehensive list of 51 useful transitional words . The more transition words you use in your writing, the smoother and more interesting it will be for your readers. Now, with transition words firmly solidified in your mind, learn how to write a memorable speech .
What this handout is about.
In this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, transitions glue our ideas and our essays together. This handout will introduce you to some useful transitional expressions and help you employ them effectively.
The function and importance of transitions
In both academic writing and professional writing, your goal is to convey information clearly and concisely, if not to convert the reader to your way of thinking. Transitions help you to achieve these goals by establishing logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your papers. In other words, transitions tell readers what to do with the information you present to them. Whether single words, quick phrases, or full sentences, they function as signs that tell readers how to think about, organize, and react to old and new ideas as they read through what you have written.
Transitions signal relationships between ideas—relationships such as: “Another example coming up—stay alert!” or “Here’s an exception to my previous statement” or “Although this idea appears to be true, here’s the real story.” Basically, transitions provide the reader with directions for how to piece together your ideas into a logically coherent argument. Transitions are not just verbal decorations that embellish your paper by making it sound or read better. They are words with particular meanings that tell the reader to think and react in a particular way to your ideas. In providing the reader with these important cues, transitions help readers understand the logic of how your ideas fit together.
Signs that you might need to work on your transitions
How can you tell whether you need to work on your transitions? Here are some possible clues:
- Your instructor has written comments like “choppy,” “jumpy,” “abrupt,” “flow,” “need signposts,” or “how is this related?” on your papers.
- Your readers (instructors, friends, or classmates) tell you that they had trouble following your organization or train of thought.
- You tend to write the way you think—and your brain often jumps from one idea to another pretty quickly.
- You wrote your paper in several discrete “chunks” and then pasted them together.
- You are working on a group paper; the draft you are working on was created by pasting pieces of several people’s writing together.
Since the clarity and effectiveness of your transitions will depend greatly on how well you have organized your paper, you may want to evaluate your paper’s organization before you work on transitions. In the margins of your draft, summarize in a word or short phrase what each paragraph is about or how it fits into your analysis as a whole. This exercise should help you to see the order of and connection between your ideas more clearly.
If after doing this exercise you find that you still have difficulty linking your ideas together in a coherent fashion, your problem may not be with transitions but with organization. For help in this area (and a more thorough explanation of the “reverse outlining” technique described in the previous paragraph), please see the Writing Center’s handout on organization .
How transitions work
The organization of your written work includes two elements: (1) the order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument, and (2) the relationships you construct between these parts. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow. Take a look at the following example:
El Pais , a Latin American country, has a new democratic government after having been a dictatorship for many years. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe.
One way to effectively organize your argument would be to present the conventional view and then to provide the reader with your critical response to this view. So, in Paragraph A you would enumerate all the reasons that someone might consider El Pais highly democratic, while in Paragraph B you would refute these points. The transition that would establish the logical connection between these two key elements of your argument would indicate to the reader that the information in paragraph B contradicts the information in paragraph A. As a result, you might organize your argument, including the transition that links paragraph A with paragraph B, in the following manner:
Paragraph A: points that support the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.
Transition: Despite the previous arguments, there are many reasons to think that El Pais’s new government is not as democratic as typically believed.
Paragraph B: points that contradict the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.
In this case, the transition words “Despite the previous arguments,” suggest that the reader should not believe paragraph A and instead should consider the writer’s reasons for viewing El Pais’s democracy as suspect.
As the example suggests, transitions can help reinforce the underlying logic of your paper’s organization by providing the reader with essential information regarding the relationship between your ideas. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole.
Types of transitions
Now that you have a general idea of how to go about developing effective transitions in your writing, let us briefly discuss the types of transitions your writing will use.
The types of transitions available to you are as diverse as the circumstances in which you need to use them. A transition can be a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire paragraph. In each case, it functions the same way: First, the transition either directly summarizes the content of a preceding sentence, paragraph, or section or implies such a summary (by reminding the reader of what has come before). Then, it helps the reader anticipate or comprehend the new information that you wish to present.
- Transitions between sections: Particularly in longer works, it may be necessary to include transitional paragraphs that summarize for the reader the information just covered and specify the relevance of this information to the discussion in the following section.
- Transitions between paragraphs: If you have done a good job of arranging paragraphs so that the content of one leads logically to the next, the transition will highlight a relationship that already exists by summarizing the previous paragraph and suggesting something of the content of the paragraph that follows. A transition between paragraphs can be a word or two (however, for example, similarly), a phrase, or a sentence. Transitions can be at the end of the first paragraph, at the beginning of the second paragraph, or in both places.
- Transitions within paragraphs: As with transitions between sections and paragraphs, transitions within paragraphs act as cues by helping readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. Within paragraphs, transitions tend to be single words or short phrases.
Effectively constructing each transition often depends upon your ability to identify words or phrases that will indicate for the reader the kind of logical relationships you want to convey. The table below should make it easier for you to find these words or phrases. Whenever you have trouble finding a word, phrase, or sentence to serve as an effective transition, refer to the information in the table for assistance. Look in the left column of the table for the kind of logical relationship you are trying to express. Then look in the right column of the table for examples of words or phrases that express this logical relationship.
Keep in mind that each of these words or phrases may have a slightly different meaning. Consult a dictionary or writer’s handbook if you are unsure of the exact meaning of a word or phrase.
Make a Gift
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.
Transition sentence example Of contrast These words establish a contrast or difference while making the transition. However In contrast Although On the contrary Otherwise Still Yet Even though But At any rate In spite of that Instead On the other hand The island was not the paradise we were hoping for.
Check out these transition word examples. Original: Susan spoke up, thinking of the right answer. With Transitions: Susan spoke up after thinking of the right answer. Original: Susan wanted cake. She wanted ice cream. With Transitions: Susan wanted cake, but she also wanted ice cream. Original: Drawing takes talent. Drawing takes dedication.
Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow. Take a look at the following example: El Pais, a Latin American country, has a new democratic government after having been a dictatorship for many years.