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.
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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 Make a Smooth Transition from One Point to Another in Essay
Forget the numerous essay hook examples that you will come across on many writing guide forums.
The real jewel as far as coming up with concisely written papers lies in the adeptness of using transition sentences/sections to make a smooth flow from one idea to another. This way, you can logically draw up connections between various main sections/ideas in a paper without veering off the topic at the same time.
As much as this is a fairly difficult skill to master, there are several useful pointers that can come in handy if you have been struggling with this for a while.
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1. Review the Paragraph/Essay Up to Where You Need to Add the Transition Phrase
The relationship between the two main separate ideas will determine the nature of the transition sentence as you seek to create a flow between the two ideas. For instance, if the two ideas are conflicting/contradictory, you will need to introduce a transition sentence that shows you are about to differ with what you have just said. That is, it has to make sense from the perspective and the context of the two paragraphs and ideas in question.
2. Use Synonyms Such as ‘Another’, ‘Additionally’, ‘To That Effect’ When Faced the Task of Connected Several Complimentary Ideas
3. Don’t Shy Away From Conjunctive Adverbs
If you are not comfortable with using traditional transitional phrases or just aren’t sure whether they are logically or semantically correct, you can switch them up with conjunctive adverbs. As the word suggests, conjunctive adverbs are ones that are chiefly used to co-join two or more ideas in an essay. It is a good way of relating a paragraph, idea or concept with a preceding one. Good examples are words such as: ‘accordingly’, ‘consequently’, ‘therefore’, ‘hence’, ‘otherwise’, etc. There are tons of them in the English vocabulary.
4. Proofread Your Paragraph Transitions Thoroughly
Most students end up scoring lower than they expect to as a result of using improper transitional phrases to connect major pointers in their essay arguments . Fortunately, however, you can catch most of these mistakes if you commit to proofread your thoroughly before submission. And when doing this, make a point of looking at the end of each section/paragraph and weigh how well it connects to the first sentence of the following paragraph. If it is non-existent, strained or forced consider improving the transition by either rearranging those paragraphs or simply clarifying your logic in a few extra words.
The Bottom Line
Making smooth transitions between ideas in essay writing is more about creating an inner flow of thoughts throughout the entire paper rather than simply using flamboyant transitional phrases or adverbs. Once you have achieved the former, the latter comes in naturally.
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Transitions between paragraphs.
While within-paragraph transitions serve the purpose of alerting readers of upcoming shifts in perspective or voice , between-paragraph transitions serve the unique purpose of alerting readers of upcoming shifts in argument or idea . Because one of the core rules of effective paragraph-writing is limiting each paragraph to only one controlling idea (see the Basic Paragraph Resource Center lesson), shifts in argument or idea only tend to happen between paragraphs within the academic essay.
There are literally dozens of transition words to choose from when shifting focus from one idea to another. There are transition words that show cause and effect, contrast, similarity, emphasis, and even sequence. To give you a general idea of the options available to you, below are examples of just a few of those categories and word combinations:
With so many available options, you may be wondering how you will ever be able to figure out which word or set of words would work best where.
While there are many approaches you could take, let’s take a look at a few basic guiding questions you should be asking yourself as you look over your own essay and create your own between-paragraph transitions:
- What is the purpose of this paragraph? Is it to introduce, inform, persuade, address an opposing viewpoint, revisit or add emphasis to already discussed ideas?
- Does the idea I’m sharing in this paragraph relate to or support any other idea or argument shared within the essay up to this point?
- Does the idea I’m sharing in this paragraph present a different viewpoint or idea?
- Is the idea I’m sharing separate from or dependent upon other ideas being shared within the essay?
Your answer to these four basic questions should help you more easily identify which categories of transition words might work best at the beginning of each of your paragraphs.
A Couple Tips to Get Started
Selecting proper transitions takes time and practice. To get you started on the right foot though, here are a couple tips to point you in the right direction:
- Your body paragraphs would likely benefit most from the Addition and Order transition word categories as they tend to string together related or culminating ideas or arguments
- Your concluding paragraph would likely benefit most from the Emphasis word category as one of its primary objectives is to revisit and re-emphasize major ideas presented in the essay
To see the power of an appropriately-used transition in action, let’s consider the following prompt question example. Imagine you were asked to write an essay based on the following prompt:
- Do you believe that people have a specific “calling” in life? Why or why not?
A possible thesis statement (or answer to that prompt question) might be::
- My spiritual study, secular study, and my own life experience has taught me that life callings tend to emerge not just once, but perhaps even multiple times, at crossway of spiritual gifts and need in the world.
Ponder and Record
- Based on the thesis statement above, how many body paragraphs do you think this essay will need to have?
- What controlling ideas (or arguments) might each body paragraph be engaging?
- Are these arguments in any way related to each other or building on each other?
- How might these body paragraphs benefit from transition words in the Addition or Order categories?
Body Paragraph Transitions
In answering the questions above, you likely realized that three body paragraphs will be required in this essay based on its current thesis statement. One body paragraph will focus on “spiritual” findings, another on “secular,” and then finally one supported by “personal experience.”
You also likely realized that the Addition transition word category cannot be applied to the first body paragraph as no arguments have been made yet that can be added to. This means that the first body paragraph would likely benefit most from a transition word selected from the Order category. An example of this in application might look like the following:
Body Paragraph #1 Topic Sentence
Above all, my spiritual study of the scriptures as well as the words of latter-day prophets have supported my belief that life callings emerge at the intersection of spiritual gifts and need in the world.
- What does the selection of the transitional phrase “above all” suggest about the controlling idea that will be discussed in this paragraph?
- What does it suggest about the ideas that will follow in subsequent paragraphs?
To see more “between-paragraph” transition words in action, let’s look at what the next body paragraph topic sentence might look like with the added benefit of transition words:
Body Paragraph #2 Topic Sentence
In addition to my spiritual study, my secular study of the “life calling” also supports this idea that life callings emerge again and again at the intersection of spiritual gifts and need in the world.
- What is the transitional phrase used in the topic sentence above?
- Which list is the transitional phrase “in addition” drawn from?
- What purpose does it serve in this paragraph? How does it add value?
To really emphasize the value-add of between-paragraph transitions, let’s look at one final body paragraph example:
Body Paragraph #3 Topic Sentence
Finally, my own life experience has taught me that the concept of the “life calling” truly does lie at the intersection of gifts and need in the world.
- Which list is the transitional phrase “finally” drawn from?
As mentioned above, the category of transition words that would most benefit your concluding paragraph is Emphasis . Since one of the main purposes of the concluding paragraph is to revisit ideas shared within the essay, transition words that express emphasis would be a natural fit and value-add. To see the power of this addition, feel free to examine the example below:
Concluding Paragraph Example
Without a doubt, I have come to realize over the years that a life calling is so much more than simply acting on a single moment in time— it is developing gifts and talents and constantly reassessing what value-add those gifts and talents can bring to the world at that particular moment.
- What transitional phrase is used in the above concluding paragraph topic sentence?
- How does the addition of “without a doubt” add emphasis to the conclusion? How does its addition help fulfill one of the concluding paragraph’s primary purposes?
Within-paragraph and between-paragraph transitions are truly the best ways to alert readers to upcoming changes in perspective and voice as well as argument or idea. As you write and then review your own writing, really try to consider which transition words would best help you create the most powerful and organized experience for your readers.
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A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices.
Good transitions can connect paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions can help readers understand how paragraphs work together, reference one another, and build to a larger point. The key to producing good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs. By referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from previous paragraphs, writers can develop important points for their readers.
It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off. (Instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't belong together at all.) Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an obvious progression for readers. Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Instead of writing transitions that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph, write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph to another specific paragraph.
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Make Smooth Transitions: 300+ Strong Transition Words for Essays
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Have you ever read a piece of literature and wondered how smoothly the author transitioned from one paragraph to the next?
Making smooth transitions while writing is not a piece of cake. Most students struggle to write in a cohesive manner that effectively communicates the message.
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What are transition words and phrases.
Having strong transition words for essays is pivotal as it leads the reader from one idea to another. In the absence of transition words, sentences would not have a structure, appear connected, or flow smoothly.
Using transition words prevents the reader from having to jump from one paragraph or sentence to another. This makes your essay easier to follow and gets your message across in a more coherent manner.
In short, transition words are majorly used to place smooth, easy to comprehend, and logical connections between sentences and paragraphs in your essay.
Here’s an interesting video by Write to Top that talks about the importance of coherence and cohesion in essay writing.
A Handy List of 300+ Strong Transition Words for Essays
Now that you know how important it is to use transition words and phrases to connect and structurally flow the ideas and arguments in your essay let’s take a look at 300+ strong transition words you can use.
The list is divided into 12 broad categories, making it easier for you to use them while writing essays .
1. Cause & Effect
Connects the instigator(s) to the consequences or the outcome of an action.
- For that/this reason
- As a result
- In that case
- Under those circumstances
- In other words
- With the result that
2. Chronology or Time
Connects a situation or issue to when it occurred or conveys a series of events by limiting, restricting, and defining time.
- From time to time
- To begin with
- In the meantime
- In a moment
- In the first place
- Without delay
- At this instant
- First, second, third
- All of a sudden
- In due time
- In the future
- Immediately after
3. Combinations, Comparisons, or Additions
Finds similarities, compares two preceding statements, ideas, or concepts, connects multiple events to make one whole story, and adds new words to complete the paragraph.
- As a matter of fact
- In the same way
- In addition
- In like fashion
- In light of
- Compared to
- Not to mention
- To say nothing of
4. Contrast or Differences
Connecting two instances or phrases, mainly focusing on their differences or suggesting alternative ideas to be considered. Alternatively, these can also be used to contrast two ideas, thoughts, or key pieces of information in your essay.
- In contrast
- Although this may be true
- On the contrary
- At the same time
- In spite of
- (and) still
- On the other hand
- Be that as it may
Connects to further clarify the arguments being made in simpler, more compact terms.
- To rephrase it
- To put it another way
- In lay terms
- Simply stated
- In explanation
- In simple terms
- To clearly define
- To break it down
- To simplify
- To put it clearly
Connects to express an idea that acknowledges the opposing view of the main part of the argument or sentence.
- At any rate
- Even though
- While it may be true
- Up to a point
- Regardless of this
Connects to add emphasis, or introduce evidence or example as support.
- For example
- For instance
- To demonstrate
- To emphasize
- To enumerate
- To put it differently
- As an illustration
- In this case
- For this reason
- That is to say
- Important to realize
- Most compelling evidence
- Must be remembered
- To point out
- With this in mind
- On the positive/negative side
- To illustrate
- Proof of this
- As an example of
- In this situation
- By all means
- In particular
- Another key point
- More importantly
Connecting an important aspect to an otherwise unimportant sentence or paragraph.
- Most importantly
Connects to give an idea about a general subject.
- Generally speaking
- For the most part
- By and large
Connects elements according to where they are placed in a relationship to each other. These provide spatial order and references to locations and space.
- In the middle
- In front of
- To the right or left
- Here and there
- On this side
- In the distance
- In the foreground
- In the background
- In the center of
- Opposite to
- Adjacent to
- Neighboring on
- Along the edge
- Straight ahead
- At the bottom
- In proximity to
- In vicinity of
- On the horizon
- At the rear
- At the front
- Within sight
- Out of sight
Connects when you want to present specific intentions, causes, or conditions.
- In the event that
- As/So long as
- For this purpose
- In order that
- To that end
- To this end
- With the hope that
- With this intention
- On the condition that
- Provided that
- With this purpose
- Seeing that
Connects to summarize, conclude or restate certain arguments, points, and ideas that were previously mentioned in the essay. These transition words are used to indicate a final generalized statement about the approached argument and wrap it up.
- To summarize
- To conclude
- In the final analysis
- All things considered
- As shown above
- In the long run
- As has been noted
- Given these points
- To reiterate
- On the whole
- In either case
- As can be seen
- As mentioned
- As demonstrated above
- As indicated
- As discussed
- In the short run
- At the end of the day
- In a nutshell
- To put it briefly
8 Dos and Don’ts of Using Strong Transition Words for Essays
Just as using the above transition words are necessary for essays and other academic papers, it is equally important to know the appropriate dos and don'ts of using transition words in essays.
1. Be sure to know what your transition word means and if it is used correctly and makes sense in a sentence.
2. Ensure that you don't accidentally create incomplete sentences. Check to see if you are using subordinating conjunctions, as they can lead to fragmented sentences.
3. Use when presenting a new idea or in the middle of two ideas to show a logical connection.
4. Use an essay outline to organize your writing and figure out exactly where you can use your transition words and how to avoid overusing them.
1. Just as you can have too few transition words in your essay, you can also have too many. Use your transition words sparingly and in key places.
Adding too many can be distracting to read, can make your content piece complicated to understand, and make your reader seem as if they aren’t capable enough to comprehend basic connections.
2. Never add a transition word at the end of a sentence. This confuses the readers and takes the emphasis off what you want to say.
3. Never start a sentence with a “but,” “and,” or “because” in an academic assignment. Instead, replace them with a more formal transition word.
4. Don't use transition words from a different category than the one it is needed for. For example, if it is a general statement, don’t use transition words for summarizing a paragraph. Stick to the words or phrases in each category.
This list must have felt like a lot; so many words and phrases to remember. But you wouldn’t necessarily need to do that because you can come back to this blog post whenever you need a reminder.
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Last edit at Dec 25 2022
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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.
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