Transition Words & Phrases – Definition, Use & Examples

16.04.20 Academic writing Time to read: 11min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


Effective communication is crucial in academic writing. To guide a reader effortlessly through a text, a writer should employ transition words. They act as the glue that binds together different sections of your essay, ensuring a seamless flow from one idea to the next. Therefore, in this article, we’ll talk about how to use them, why they’re important, and answer common questions about them.

Transition words in a nutshell

Transition words are like bridges in writing. They link thoughts, making reading smooth and clear. These words guide readers, connecting one idea to the next, ensuring clarity and a natural flow throughout the text.

Definition: Transition words

Transition words, also known as linking or transitional words, are words or phrases used to link ideas together and create a smooth flow in writing or speech. They help to guide readers or listeners through a text by connecting one idea to the next, indicating relationships (such as cause and effect, contrast, or addition) between different sections or complete sentences. These words improve the coherence of the writing when used appropriately. However, different transitions serve different purposes.

Ensure your final paper is free from plagiarism
Failure to correctly credit original sources most likely leads to mark deductions. Don’t risk it and utilise our online plagiarism checker, which allows you to detect potential plagiarism that you may have committed. Get confident in just 10 minutes!

Transition words for paragraphs

Transition words in English are crucial as they bridge ideas and can indicate shifts, contrasts, emphases, agreements, intentions, outcomes, and more within an argument. Smooth transitions between sentences are essential for maintaining coherence in a written piece, as common transitions help establish a clear and logical relationship between sentences. They’re essential for clarity and understanding, making them indispensable in any paper. Transition words are essential for clear and concise writing. Overuse slows down the text and makes it feel repetitive, so you should be careful not to overuse them. While these transition terms have been placed into specific categories for clarity, it’s worth noting that some types of transition words can fit into multiple categories. Below, you’ll find a list of transition words used across different fields.

Further readings about expressions for linking different paragraphs can be found in our respective paragraph transitions article.

Transition words like “especially” or “such as” are used to present examples to support, illustrate, or indicate the importance of an idea or previous arguments. Here are some examples.

  • As an illustration
  • By all means
  • Certainly
  • Especially
  • For example
  • For instance
  • For one thing
  • For this reason
  • Frequently
  • In detail
  • In fact
  • In general
  • In other words
  • In particular
  • In this case
  • Including
  • Like
  • Notably
  • Particularly
  • Specifically
  • Such as
  • To be sure
  • To clarify
  • To demonstrate
  • To emphasize
  • To enumerate
  • To explain
  • To put it differently
  • To repeat
  • Truly
  • With attention to

As you can see, you can use a plethora of words to transition to examples in your text. For better understanding, we will provide a few sentences below.


  • Many foods are rich in vitamins; for instance, oranges and carrots.
  • There are many strategies to reduce stress, such as practicing yoga.
  • To illustrate the importance of exercise, consider the benefits for mental health.

Some transition words, like “thus,” “then,” “accordingly,” “consequently,” “therefore,” and “henceforth,” are used to tell us what happened after a certain time and what resulted from it.

  • Accordingly
  • As a result
  • Because the
  • Consequently
  • For
  • For this reason
  • Forthwith
  • Hence
  • Henceforth
  • In effect
  • In that case
  • Then
  • Therefore
  • Thereupon
  • Thus

Note: Linking words such as “for” and “because” come before the reason something happened, while the other words come before what happened as a result.

Transition words and phrases are essential in writing to connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs smoothly, helping to improve the flow and coherence of your writing. Here are some examples of how they can be used.


  • He didn’t study for the exam; therefore, the low score did not surprise him.
  • The company failed to invest. As a result, it fell behind its competitors.
  • The road was icy, and consequently, the school closed for the day.

These transition words are frequently employed within adverbial expressions and serve to restrict, confine, or qualify spatial relationships and aspects. Many of them can also be located in the Time category and are adaptable for describing spatial arrangements or references.

  • Across
  • Alongside
  • Amid
  • Among
  • Around
  • Behind
  • Beneath
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • From
  • Further
  • Here
  • Here and there
  • In front of
  • In the background
  • In the center of
  • In the distance
  • In the foreground
  • In the middle
  • Nearby
  • Next
  • On this side
  • Over
  • There
  • To the left/right
  • Where
  • Wherever

Learn how to use these words correctly by studying the following sentences:


  • Hang the painting above the sofa to create a focal point in the living room.
  • The small alley between the buildings leads to a quaint courtyard.
  • There’s a lovely park near the apartment complex where residents can relax.


Transition words serve as bridges between ideas in your writing, guiding readers through your thought process and enhancing the flow of your text. These words can be categorized based on the function they perform in a sentence. Here are the main types of transition words.

These additive transition words can help you to add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement.

  • Additionally
  • Again
  • Also
  • And
  • As a matter of fact
  • As well as
  • As, likewise
  • By the same token
  • Correspondingly
  • Coupled with
  • Equally
  • Equally important
  • First, second, third,..
  • Furthermore
  • Identically
  • In addition
  • In the first place
  • In the light of
  • Likewise
  • Moreover
  • Not only … but also
  • Not to mention
  • Of course
  • Similarly
  • Then
  • To say nothing of
  • Together with
  • Too


  • She bought apples and oranges from the market.
  • He is a talented artist; furthermore, he plays several musical instruments.
  • In addition to the salad, they ordered a soup.

Adversative transition words, such as “but,” “rather,” and “or,” signify the presence of contrasting evidence or present alternative viewpoints, thereby signaling a shift in the logical flow of a text (contrast). They usually refer to the previous statement.

  • (And) still
  • (Even) though
  • After all
  • Albeit
  • Although
  • As much as
  • At the same time
  • Besides
  • But
  • Despite
  • Different from
  • Even so
  • However
  • In contrast
  • In reality
  • In spite of
  • Instead
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Of course …, but
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • Otherwise
  • Regardless
  • Then again
  • Unlike
  • Whereas
  • While


  • She studied hard; however, she didn’t pass the exam.
  • The job pays well, but it’s very stressful.
  • He’s very outgoing; on the other hand, his sister is quite shy.

Causal transition words like “due to” or “because of” represent specific intentions or conditions.

  • As
  • As/so long as
  • Because (of)
  • Due to
  • Given that
  • If
  • In case
  • In order to
  • In view of
  • Inasmuch as
  • Only/even if
  • Provided that
  • Seeing/being that
  • Since
  • Then
  • Unless
  • When
  • While
  • With this in mind
  • With this intention


  • They won because they worked hard.
  • She was the top candidate; given that, she got the job.
  • Due to system failure, the data was lost.

Sequential transition words such as “finally” serve to specify and define the meaning of time, either independently or as part of adverbial expressions, by setting limits and constraints.

  • After
  • All of a sudden
  • As soon as
  • At the present time
  • At the same time
  • Before
  • By the time
  • Eventually
  • Finally
  • First, second, …
  • Formerly
  • From time to time
  • Further
  • Hence
  • Henceforth
  • Immediately
  • In a moment
  • In the first place
  • In the meantime
  • Instantly
  • Later
  • Meanwhile
  • Now that
  • Occasionally
  • Presently
  • Quickly
  • Shortly
  • Simultaneously
  • Since
  • Sooner or later
  • Suddenly
  • Then
  • Until
  • Until now
  • When
  • Whenever


  • First, we will discuss the budget.
  • We met at the café; meanwhile, my friend went to the bathroom.
  • Then, after hours of discussion, they reached a decision.

These are used for highlighting similarities or comparisons between two ideas or pieces of information.

  • Accordingly
  • Additionally
  • Also
  • As well as
  • Comparably
  • Equally
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Likewise
  • Moreover
  • Similarly
  • As well
  • Just as
  • Just like
  • As
  • Like


  • He is passionate about painting; similarly, his sister loves drawing.
  • She enjoys classical music; likewise, her brother often attends opera performances.
  • The course covers basic as well as advanced topics.

These are used to highlight differences between two ideas or pieces of information.

  • Although
  • But
  • Conversely
  • Despite
  • Even though
  • However
  • In contrast
  • Instead
  • Nevertheless
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • Rather
  • Still
  • Though
  • Whereas
  • While


  • Despite the rain, the event was well-attended.
  • He loves to travel; however, he can’t afford it right now.
  • She’s very outgoing; in contrast, they prefer quiet evenings at home.

These transitions help clarify or explain an idea more clearly:

  • Especially
  • For example
  • For instance
  • In other words
  • In particular
  • Including
  • Namely
  • Particularly
  • Specifically
  • Such as
  • That is to say
  • To clarify
  • To enumerate
  • To explain further
  • To illustrate
  • To put it another way


  • The event is exclusive; that is to say, not everyone can attend.
  • To clarify, only members of the committee need to attend the briefing.
  • She’s a vegan; in other words, she doesn’t eat any animal products.

They indicate a conclusion or summary of the points made, these transitions help to wrap up a discussion or argument. Furthermore, they help to reiterate ideas or make a final general statement.

  • After all
  • All in all
  • All things considered
  • Altogether
  • As can be seen
  • As has been noted
  • As shown above
  • Briefly
  • Eventually
  • Generally speaking
  • Given these points
  • In a word
  • In any event
  • In brief
  • In conclusion
  • In either case
  • In essence
  • In fact
  • In short
  • In summary
  • In the final analysis
  • In the long run
  • Obviously
  • On the whole
  • Ordinarily
  • To sum up
  • To summarize
  • Usually


  • In summary, the report outlines three key strategies for improving team productivity.
  • Overall, the project was a success, meeting most of our initial objectives.
  • To conclude, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the theory.

Common mistakes with transition words

Even the most experienced writers can occasionally trip when using transition words and phrases due to not knowing the exact meaning of the word they’re using, especially, when English is not the primary language. It’s crucial to put them appropriately. “Even if” and “even though” are examples of transitions that are commonly misused. The former explains a present or past conditional, whereas the latter pertains to a future conditional.

Another common problem arises from the improper use of transitional phrases within sentences. For instance, although certain words like “and,” “but,” “also,” and “so” are commonly used as transitions, they should not be used at the beginning of a sentence in formal academic writing. Instead, consider using alternatives such as “in addition,” “although,” “therefore,” and so forth to initiate your sentences.

Below, you’ll find a list of common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Transition word Example Explanation
Either We could get sushi, pizza, or ice cream. In either case, it's fine for me. ”Either” implies that there are only two choices. In the example, there are three. Instead, you should opt for “in any case.”
As well as I really need to finish this post, as well as optimize already existing content. ”As well as” suggests that the subsequent information is of lower significance compared to the prior one. If both aspects are equally important, you should use “and.”
Moreover Moreover, I don't like vanilla ice cream. ”Moreover” adds information that supports/extends the previous statement. Here, the statement does not provide additional/relevant information.
However However, she was not feeling hungry, she decided to order japanese food. ”However” is used to contrast two ideas. In this case, it's incorrectly used to connect two unrelated statements.
Irregardless Irregardless of the weather, we're going shopping. ”Irregardless” is considered non-standard and incorrect in formal writing and speech. Instead, you should go for “regardless” or “irrespective.”
And/but/so/also Also, you can print and bind your thesis here. ”Also” is considered informal in writing and shouldn't be at the start of a sentence. The same applies to “and,” “but,” and “so.” To replace them, use “in addition,” “although,” or “therefore.”
Therefore I just picked up new shoes, got my nails done, and therefore, I'm ready to go out tonight. ”Therefore” is typically used to indicate a logical consequence or conclusion. Instead, you should go with “so.”
Additionally Additionally, she studied all night for the exam. Unfortunately, she still failed. ”Additionally” is used to add extra information or details to the previous statement. In this case, the second statement contradicts the first.

Transition words for essays

In academic writing, your primary objective is to convey information concisely. Transitional devices help you achieve your objective by establishing sensible connectives between words, sentences and entire paragraphs. Apart from improving the flow of your writing, and making it sound better, transition words guide readers through complex ideas and information.

These words carry specific meanings that cue the reader to think or react a certain way. Whether words or phrases, transitions act as a guide. They convert the reader’s thoughts to your way of thinking, enabling smooth delivery of information. Using transition phrases and words can affect your grades, so you must be careful not to misuse them. Students who use transition words correctly earn higher grades compared to those who misuse or do not use these words, as incorrect usage gives the impression of disorganization and a lack of flow of ideas.

Transition words are:

  • Commonly at the start of a new sentence or clause
  • Used to express how this clause relates to the previous
  • Followed by a comma
Ready to print your thesis?
Students in Australia can now also benefit from our printing services at BachelorPrint! Get top-notch quality for printing and binding your thesis at affordable prices from just AU$ 11.90. Add our FREE express delivery and you're good to go.


Words such as “and,” “as a result,” “in fact,” “however,” and “although” are good examples of common transition words in academic writing. They help to improve the coherence and cohesion of your writing. Without transition words, it would be difficult to recognize the different ideas and thought processes in your work.

Transitions can be divided into transition words, transitions between sentences, and transitions between paragraphs. These all help with the flow of sentences and paragraphs in academic writing. Without them, your writing will be difficult to read, and your essay or thesis formatting will confuse the reader.

When deciding which transition words to use, test which ones will lay out your ideas most clearly and concisely. Be sure that you haven’t recently used the transition word to avoid awkward repetition and redundancy. You need to make an explicit connection between the ideas in your academic writing.

By using a reverse hook, you can tie the first sentence of the paragraph with the last sentence of the previous paragraph. This works especially well for the first body paragraph following the introduction. Ideally, the end of a paragraph should always connect with the next paragraph in some manner. Using transition words or starting a paragraph with a topic sentence are examples of connectors used to transition to the next paragraph.

Using linking words or phrases is a great way to introduce a new paragraph. These words relate the ideas of the previous paragraph to those of the new paragraph. This also means they typically do not begin abstracts, which are usually at the very beginning of your academic work.

Transition words are important for connecting ideas in a sentence. They ensure a smooth flow when reading and also help prevent jarring mental leaps between sentences and paragraphs. In essence, they help give flow to the numerous paragraphs in your thesis, essay, or research paper.