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Grammar and Punctuation: Transitional Words and Phrases

Transitional Words and Phrases

Transitional expressions can indicate the direction of your thought as you pass from one topic to another. They provide logical and coherent organization allowing the paper to flow from the first supporting point to the last. They also show that you are beginning a new idea or subtopic in your writing. 

Like signposts, they inform your reader that one part or stage of the discussion has ended, and they also give a hint of what connection the next section of thought has with the just-completed section.  In this way, a transition helps your reader follow the flow of your ideas and identify the relations between separate ideas. The following examples illustrate how a transition placed at the beginning of a new paragraph not only shows a step forward in the thought but also relates to the new material that preceded it.

 Example 1: On the other hand, going out tonight would reduce my stress level, and then I’d probably study better anyway.

  • The transition shows that the new paragraph is to present ideas that contrast with those the preceding paragraph or section of the essay.)

 Example 2: Consequently, I may need to re-take the course.

  • The transition shows that the new paragraph is to explain a result of statements previously made.)

Example 3: In addition to retaking the course, I need to pay back my parents for the tuition.

Example 4: Finally, the best thing about me is that I love to spend time with my friends.

Example 5: Furthermore, my study time suffered from the amount of time I dedicated to socializing throughout the year.

Transitional words and phrases may also help you achieve sentence variety, whether you place them at the beginning of a sentence or after the subject of the sentence.

 

--- Check out our transitional words quiz here! ---

 

Transition Words Chart (Bow Valley College, n.d.)

Time Transitions
soon
not long after
at length
at last
finally
some time ago
later
afterwards
presently
from this time on
from time to time
after
before
until
at present
all of a sudden
 
immediately
instantly
at this instant
suddenly
now
without delay
in the first place
forthwith
straightaway
quickly
at this point
a few minutes later
formerly
yesterday
later in the day
since then
 
when
whenever
next
as
once
since
occasionally
henceforward
then
meanwhile
thereupon
in the meantime
sometimes
in a moment
shortly
whereupon
Additions & Conclusions
and
moreover
too
next
in fact
likewise
as a result
further
also
therefore
accordingly
in other words
furthermore
besides
 
equally important
much more interesting
of even greater appeal
just as surely
at the outset
as mentioned
more specifically
undoubtedly
indeed it is certain
in truth
last
over and above
to conclude
finally
 
in the same way
then, too
consequently
thus
again
for
in as much as
so that
hence
for this reason
under these conditions
first/second/third/
in addition to
another
Contrast & Comparison
but
however
yet
whereas
on the contrary
on the other hand
still
notwithstanding
in contrast to
nevertheless
 
rather
on the other hand
although
though
as
as if
as though
in spite of
otherwise
similarly
 
either
or
neither
nor
quite as evident
equally important
much more interesting
of even greater appeal
just as surely
likewise
Place
 
from
where
beyond
over
in the middle
around
here
there
near
in front of
in the distance
farther
here and there
above
below
at the right
before
between
in the foreground
on this side
beside
wherever
opposite
Reason, Condition, Purpose, Result
 
inevitably
in as much as
in order that
under these conditions
as a result
because
for this purpose
in this way
since
hence
if
thus
provided that
so that
for this reason
therefore
granted that
on that account
admittedly
notwithstanding
in case
unless
consequently
Emphasis & Repetition
 
for
for example
in particular
for instance
in other words
in fact
in the same way
that is to say
certainly
indeed
undoubtedly
as mentioned
more specifically
of course
to be sure
on that account
thus
therefore
naturally
obviously
emphatically
most important
in truth

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