A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices.
Contributors:Ryan Weber, Karl Stolley
Last Edited: 2011-02-02 04:32:35
Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.
There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.
Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way.
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)
whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true
because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To Show Exception:
yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes
To Show Time:
immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then
in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted
definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation
To Show Sequence:
first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon
To Give an Example:
for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate
To Summarize or Conclude:
in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently
What are Transition Words? Transition words and phrases help make your essay flow smoothly from paragraph to paragraph. You can use them at the ends and beginnings of paragraphs, as well as in your introduction and conclusion. Transition words and phrases can be used in every type of essay, but they are most appropriate in expository or argumentative essays in which it’s important to present your ideas in a clear, logical flow. Read on for more insight into transition words for essays, including lists, examples and descriptions of how to use them in your writing.
Transition Words that Compare and Contrast
Comparison and contrast transition words are obviously helpful when writing a compare/contrast essay, but you can also use them to compare two different pieces of information in an expository or argumentative essay. You may also use comparison and contrast transition words to contrast two different experiences in a narrative essay or to compare two different people, places or objects in a descriptive essay.
Here are some of the most common comparison words, followed by examples:
- in the same way
Comparison Transition Words sentence examples:
- In the same way, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech inspired a generation.
- Similarly, my vacation to the beach was also peaceful and fun, just like my week at summer camp.
Here are some of the most common contrast words, followed by examples:
- in spite of
- on the one hand/on the other hand
- in contrast
- on the contrary
Contrast Transition Words sentence examples:
- However, this delicious breakfast was not as memorable as the dinner my family shared that evening.
- In contrast, my grandmother is always cracking jokes while my grandfather stays serious.
Sequence/Order Transition Words
Sequence words are especially important in narrative essays, where you must guide your reader through the events of your story. Sequence words can be used at the start of each paragraph to clearly mark out what happened first, next and so on. In addition, you can also use sequence words in informational essays that communicate historical events. They are also helpful in essays where you are writing about a book or movie and need to briefly summarize the plot. Here are some sequence/ordering words, followed by examples:
- First, my mom dropped me off at school that fateful morning.
- Then, I saw an unbelievable sight!
- Finally, the zookeepers showed up and led the baby elephant into the back of a hay-filled truck.
Transition Word Examples
Example transition words can help you provide evidence in argumentative essays and add interesting detail in descriptive and narrative essays. There are many different kinds of example words and phrases you can use to keep your writing interesting and avoid repetition in a longer essay. Here are some of the most common example words:
- for example
- for instance
- to illustrate
Here are some additional example transition words you may use in your writing, followed by examples:
- as well
- equally important
- in addition
- For example, one study explained that students who participate in extracurricular activities have a higher overall homework completion rate.
- Furthermore, engagement in nonacademic activities has been shown to increase confidence in children between the ages of 11 and 14.
Conclusion Transition Words
Conclusion words help signal to the reader that you are coming to the end of your essay. A strong conclusion paragraph will begin with a clear conclusion word or phrase that will help to sum up your overall points. Here are some of the most common conclusion words and phrases, followed by examples:
- in conclusion
- in the end
- on the whole
- to conclude
- to summarize
- in sum
- to sum up
- in summary
- In conclusion, school uniforms can help improve students’ focus in the middle school classroom.
- In sum, voting is an important part of our democracy and something we shouldn’t take for granted.