Have you ever gotten a paper back and found it covered in red ink? A common critique you may see is that your work lacks transition words at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. Or you may get stuck in a rut using the same transition words over and over. It can be difficult to think of different words in the moment, so we’ve compiled a handy list to help you pick the perfect transition words to help you make the grade.
Transition words are the glue that holds your writing together and makes it more comprehensive and easy to read. Sometimes transition words are single words, and other times they are whole phrases, such as “for example” or “as well as.”
as a matter of fact
as a result (of)
as well as
at the same time
by all means
for the most part
for this reason
in other words
in relation to
in the meantime
in this case
not to mention
on the contrary
on the other hand
Some transition words are more formal or specific and are therefore used less often. However, they are a perfect way to make your writing stand out from the crowd.
all the more
as a rule
as an example
in the first place
in the same manner
in which case
put another way
this is why
to be sure
to begin with
to that end
to the left/right
to the point
what is more
Transition words are the threads that tie the rest of your work together. Instead of having disjointed and clunky sentences, you can smooth out rough edges with cohesive transition words. When and where to use transition words and phrases will depend on what you are writing and what works in different types of sentences. For example, if you are writing a paper for school you should use a more formal voice than you would in everyday conversation. This also depends on the type of essay.
It's important to make sure transitional words flow naturally. To determine whether or not you need a transition word at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph, look at the sentence with and without the transition word or phrase and compare the results.
Without Transition Words
With Transition Words
Carla couldn’t sleep the night before her big presentation. She needed an extra large cup of coffee before work.
Carla couldn’t sleep the night before her presentation. Therefore, she needed an extra large cup of coffee before work.
Jeffrey, we’ll be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. Fill up the car with gas, please.
Jeffrey, we’ll be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. In the meantime, fill up the car with gas, please.
The trip through the desert was long and tiring for the crew. They all agreed it was worth it.
The trip through the desert was long and tiring for the crew. Afterward, they all agreed it was worth it.
Denise decided to stop doing her homework. She failed freshman English.
Denise decided to stop doing her homework. Consequently, she failed freshman English.
Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was living in Paris. I went online and booked a trip.
Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was living in Paris. As a result, I went online and booked a trip.
The purpose of transition words is to weave your points together and guide the reader through your work. You can use them in all forms of writing, but they are particularly handy when writing an essay. Read more about how and when to use transitions in essay writing.