What are transition words?
Whatever your goal or purpose for your writing - whether it's to explain, inform, entertain or persuade - you want to present your reader with a cohesive text that conveys information clearly and concisely, and carries them effortlessly from idea to idea, and from beginning to end.
Transition words - also known as linking or connecting words - give your text that coherence, enabling your reader to progress smoothly through your writing.
They work by linking your sentences and paragraphs and connecting your ideas.
And they help you build logical and coherent arguments by pointing your reader towards each successive stage of your argument.
Without them, your writing would be a series of unconnected sentences or statements that don’t ‘flow’; making it extremely difficult for your reader to follow your train of thought, and requiring them to make disruptive stops and starts and intellectual leaps as they try and understand what you mean.
Different transitions do different things
They show your reader that you are doing such things as comparing and contrasting (yet, unlike, even so), elaborating (similarly, in other words, also), showing concession (admittedly, while it may be true), or concluding (finally, in conclusion)
Here are some examples of transition words in use (with the transitions in bold):
I don’t feel like writing this essay today. On the other hand, it’s due tomorrow so I have to get it done. Monica has a lot of books, because she loves reading. Moreover, she believes a house isn’t a home without books. In contrast, her husband hardly ever reads anything except the daily newspaper. Regardless of cost, the project must be completed on time. It is not an idea around which we can expand the business. On the contrary, we see it as one that will result in potentially huge financial losses. He’s arrogant and bad-tempered, and yet somehow, he’s likeable. Your proposal is ill-thought-out, poorly presented, and lacking in detail - in short, it’s a disaster. Below, are some examples of transition words and phrases according to categories (some words belong in more than one category)...
Examples of transitions words:
Transition words and phrases for adding information/elaborating
and also equally important furthermore in addition (to) in other words moreover notice that not only..... but also... similarly that is which which is to say Giving examples or illustrating a point
These transition words and phrases show your reader that you are illustrating a point and/or providing examples:
another for example for instance including in other words in particular specifically such as Listing ideas
These transitions help you list ideas:
firstly secondly finally the following the first point the second point
Transition words to show contrasting ideas
alternatively although at the same time but conversely even so even though however in contrast (to) instead nevertheless on one hand on the other hand on the contrary or unlike while this maybe the case while this may be true whereas yet (and yet) Transition words to show location/position
above adjacent behind below beyond here in front (of) nearby there Transition words to show similarity
and by the same token equally in the same way likewise similarly too Transition words to show concession
admittedly although at any rate but even so despite the fact that despite this even so even though regardless of while it may be true Transition words to show a result or to note consequences
so accordingly as a result because consequently despite due to since therefore Summarising or concluding
Finally, these transition words and phrases tell your reader that you are summarizing and concluding your ideas, your train of thought etc.
as a final point finally in brief in conclusion in essence in fact in short overall to conclude to summarise To summarise, think of transition words and phrases as the bridges that connect your sentences, paragraphs, and ideas, or the glue that holds them together.
Without them, your reader can’t follow your train of thought or see the connection or relationship between ideas and arguments.
Employed effectively they help make your writing coherent, persuasive, and much more readable.