How to Use Paragraph Transitions
A Guide to Transitional Words and Expressions
Transitional words and phrases connect sentences and paragraphs to each other. Paragraph transitions suggest a particular relationship between one idea and the next. Within a paragraph, transitions provide coherence: a sense that the paragraph contains one main argument or idea. Between paragraphs, paragraph transitions help with the flow of writing from beginning to end, as well as the sense of the coherence of the whole essay. Transitional words and phrases often occur at the beginning of a sentence and, for more formal writing, transitional expressions are set off with a comma. Some transition words (for example, "too" or "as well") more often occur at the end or even in the middle of a sentence, however.
To help you practice transitional words, here is a transition word list that shows the relationship the transitional words or phrases indicate. As a transition word exercise, revise a paragraph adding the appropriate transition word or phrase.
English Transition Words and Phrases
|Adding information||also, and, as well, besides, equally important, finally, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then, too|
|Comparing ideas||in like manner, in the same way, likewise, similarly|
|Conceding a point||agreed, certainly, granted, obviously, of course, to be sure|
|Contrasting ideas||at the same time, but, conversely, even so, even though, however, in contrast, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the one hand, on the other hand, still, yet|
|Providing an example||as an illustration, as can be seen by, for example, for instance, in other words, namely, specifically, to illustrate|
|Relating time and order of ideas||afterward, before, currently, eventually, finally, first, (second, third, fourth, fifth?), immediately, in the future, in the past, later, less important, meanwhile, most important, next, often, sometimes, soon, subsequently, then, today, when|
|Resulting from the previous idea||accordingly, as a result, consequently, so, thereby, therefore, thus|
|Showing relative location||adjacent, at the side, between, here, in the back, in the background, in the distance, in the foreground, in the front, nearby, there, to the side|
|Summarizing ideas||finally, hence, in brief, in conclusion, in short, in summary, that is, that is to say, to sum up|
In summary, use a variety of good transition words within your paragraphs to create coherent paragraphs. Use good paragraph transition words in essays to help your ideas flow throughout the essay, as well. In these ways, transition words serve as a sort of writing glue. Yet, don't use the same transition repeatedly, unless you are doing so for a specific effect. Remember, you can always check grammar, spelling, and writing style with WhiteSmoke's free online grammar checker.