Transition Words

16.04.20 Academic language Time to read: 6min

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Communication is important in academic papers and theses. For a reader to successfully navigate through a piece of writing, a writer must use transition words. Good transition words can enhance the flow of your writing and strengthen your argument. Therefore, in this article, we will cover the effective use and incorporation of transition words, the importance of these words and answer common questions related to these words.

Definition: Transition Words

Transition words are words, phrases, or sentences that mark a shift in thought from one sentence to the next. They provide a relationship between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. These words improve the coherence and cohesion of the writing when used appropriately. Transition words present ideas in a clear and comprehensible way. However, different transitions serve different purposes.


Words such as ‘and’, ‘as a result’, ‘in fact’, ‘however’, and ‘although’ are good examples of common transition words to use in academic writing work. They help to improve the coherence and cohesion of your writing work. Without transition words, it would be hard to recognise the different ideas and thought processes in your work.

Transitions can be divided into transition words, transitions between sentences and transitions between paragraphs. These all help with the flow of sentences and paragraphs in academic writing. Without them, your writing will be difficult to read and your essay or thesis formatting will be confusing to the reader.

When deciding which transition words to use, test which ones will lay out your ideas in the clearest and most concise manner. Be sure that you haven’t recently used the transition word to avoid awkward repetitions. You need to make an explicit connection between the ideas in your academic writing.

By using a reverse hook, you can tie the first sentence of the paragraph with the last sentence of the previous paragraph. This works especially well for the first body paragraph that comes after the introduction. Ideally, the end of a paragraph should always connect with the next paragraph in some manner. Using transition words, or starting a paragraph with a topic sentence are examples of connectors used to transition to the next paragraph.

Using linking words or phrases is a great way to introduce a new paragraph. These words relate the ideas of the previous paragraph to that of the new paragraph. This also means they typically do not begin abstracts, which are usually at the very beginning of your academic work.

Transition words are important for connecting ideas in a sentence. They ensure a smooth flow when reading and also help prevent jarring mental leaps in between sentences and paragraphs. In essence, they help give a flow to the numerous paragraphs in your thesis, essay or paper.

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Transition Words for Essays

Transition words are very important for your essays. In academic writing, your primary objective is to convey information in a concise manner. Transition words help you achieve your objective by establishing sensible connectives between words, sentences, and paragraphs. Apart from improving the flow of your writing, making it sound better, transition words guide readers through complex information.

These words carry specific meanings that cue the reader to think or react in a certain way. Whether words or phrases, transitions act as a guide. They convert the reader’s thoughts to your way of thinking, enabling a smooth delivery of information. Using transition words can affect your grade. Misuse of these words can negatively impact your grades. Students who use transition words correctly earn higher grades compared to those who misuse or do not use these words, as incorrect usage gives an impression of disorganization and lack of flow of ideas.

GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about How to write an essay introduction!

Transition Word List

Definition: These transitional words add more information and express acceptance on what you already talked about. They also build on a related concept.

Examples: and, as well as, moreover, not to mention, like, moreover, as well as, together with, of course, likewise, comparatively, correspondingly, similarly, furthermore and additionally.

Definition: These transition words serve to contrast two or more things or ideas. Opposition transition words point out changes or other possibilities in the line of thought.

Examples: whereas, however, nevertheless, albeit, rather, although, instead, despite, conversely, otherwise, nonetheless, regardless and notwithstanding.

Definition: These transition words present specific results or intentions.

Examples: due to, because of, unless, if, in case in case, provided that, given that, only / even if, so that, so as to, owing to, inasmuch as and due to.

Definition: These words are used to introduce supporting ideas, show proof, or for illustrative purposes.

Examples: for example, to put it differently, including, with attention to, notably, like, to be sure, namely, chiefly, truly, indeed, certainly, surely, markedly and such as.

Definition: These phrases show results or consequences.

Examples: consequently, as a result, for this reason, then, hence, therefore, thereupon, forthwith, accordingly, henceforth, under those circumstances, in that case, and in effect.

Definition: These transition devices introduce a final general statement.

Examples: in conclusion, to sum up, definitely, after all, in fact, obviously, ultimately, in summary, in conclusion, in short, in brief, in essence, to summarize, on balance, altogether, overall, ordinarily and usually.

Definition: These show a progression of events or a temporal restriction.

Examples: after, later, last, until, till, since, then, before, hence, since, when, once, about, next, now, henceforth, whenever, eventually, meanwhile, further, during, in time, prior to, forthwith, straightaway, by the time, whenever, until now and now that.

Definition: These words are used to qualify space and are used as adverbial expressions.

Examples: here, there, next, where, from, over, near, above, below, down, up, under, further, beyond, nearby, wherever, around, between, before, alongside, amid, among, beneath, beside, behind, across, adjacent to and opposite to.

How  to  Use Transition Words

Transition words signal how what you are going to write about is connected to what you just wrote about. These words are useful in any kind of writing. These words are essential to smoothly and clearly relaying information. Sometimes it is hard to make sense of information without incorporating these words. They apply to any kind of paper and are hard to do without.

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In a Nutshell

As previously highlighted, transition words connect ideas in a sentence and paragraph. This is important for conveying your thoughts. We have covered the vast array of transitional words and have highlighted their various uses. However, it is essential that you not overuse these words.

Moderation is key when using these words. Properly incorporating these words into your writing will make your information flow smoothly overall. Your reader will also have an easy time making connections between ideas and concepts.