Transitional Words & How to Use Them

22 May

Transitional words are an easy and concise way to explain to a reader what the relationship is between thoughts, paragraphs, and sentences. Different situations require different transitions, and there are different transitional words to suit these different tasks. Below is a list of some transitional words:

  • To ADD:
    • Also, and, then, as well, besides, beyond that, first (second, third, last), for one thing, furthermore, in addition, moreover, next
  • To CLARIFY:
    • For instance, in other words, that is
  • To COMPARE:
    • Also, as well, both, in the same way, likewise, similarly, like, as
  • To CONTRAST:
    • Although, be that as it may, but even though, however, in contrast, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, whereas, yes
  • To CONCEDE A POINT:
    • Certainly, granted that, no doubt, of course
  • To EMPHASIZE:
    • Above all, especially, in fact, in particular, indeed, most important, most of all, surely
  • To ILLUSTRATE:
    • As a case in point, as an illustration, for example, for instance, in particular, one such, yet another
  • To PLACE IN SPACE:
    • Above, next to, beside, below, beyond, further, here, inside, nearby, next to, on the far side, outside, to the east (north, south, west)
  • To PLACE IN TIME:
    • After a while, afterward, at last, at present, briefly, currently, during, eventually, finally, first (second, third, last), gradually, immediately, in the future, later, meanwhile, now, recently, soon, suddenly, today, yesterday
  • To QUALIFY:
    • Perhaps
  • To GIVE REASON TO:
    • As, because, for, since
  • To SHOW A RESULT:
    • And so, as a consequence, as a result, because of this, consequently, for this reason, hence, so, therefore, thus
  • To SUMMARIZE:
    • All in all, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, lastly, on the whole, to sum up

Now, how do we use these transitional words? Let’s walk through a few different examples:

  • You have to write an argument essay. You need to include three or four supporting points in favor of your argument, and you want to make sure to transition carefully between each supporting point so that your reader seamlessly follows your argument. After introducing your argument in your introduction (complete with a concrete thesis statement), you could introduce your different body paragraphs with a transitional word, like “First”, “Second”, “Third” and so on.
  • You have to write a report detailing the steps that you performed to achieve a desired outcome. In order to make sure that your reader is able to follow along with your discussion of the steps that you performed, you can use transitional words to move from one body paragraph to another. You could use words like “First”, “Second”, “Third” and so on, but you could also use words like “Afterward”, “Briefly”, etc., to illustrate the process.
  • You have to write a final essay for class where you illustrate and summarize what you have learned this semster. You would want to begin with a strong introduction, of course, and then progress into your illustration in your body paragraphs. At this point, you would likely reflect on a concept that you learned, and include an example to illustrate it. To transition into that example, you could use “For example,” “For instance”, and so on. Then, when you reach your conclusion, you would likely want to summarize your overall experience. Here, you could use transitional words to help you, including “All in all,” “Finally,” “Lastly”, etc.  
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2 Responses to “Transitional Words & How to Use Them”

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  1. Paragraph Construction & Development | The Christ College Writing Center - June 12, 2015

    […] forget your transitions! You can use transitional words to help you move from one body paragraph to the […]

  2. Resources for Getting Started | The Christ College Writing Center - March 1, 2016

    […] Transitional Words and How to Use Them […]

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