Transition Words- an Overview

In writing a composition, your primary objective should be to communicate your message or information to the readers, in a clear manner. For you to accomplish this, you must make sure that you are creating successful links between the sentences and paragraphs in your write-up.

One of the most effective ways to build these connections is through the use of transition words and phrases. Basically, transition words help you shift smoothly from one sentence to another and avoid sudden gaps between ideas. You can also think of them as road signs that guide your readers throughout the development of your whole composition.

In the next sections of this article, you will learn more about the different kinds of transitions, as well as some examples of transition words that you can use to convey various kinds of relationships.


Kinds of Transitions

Now that you already know the importance of using transition words when writing, let’s discuss the different types. Different types of transition words are used in different parts of your writing. So, these are the different categories, based on where they can be found in a piece of writing.

1.) Within Paragraphs- this kind of transitions is mainly used to move from one idea or sentence to another in a single paragraph. They tend to be short phrases or words located at the beginning of a new sentence, or within the sentences of the paragraph.

Transition example

2.) Between Paragraphs- the function of this kind of transitions is to organize the paragraphs of a write-up in a logical manner. Transition words, phrases, or sentences located at the end of the paragraph or at the beginning of the new paragraph (sometimes both) can be used, in order to show the relationship of the two.

paragraph transition

3.) Between Sections- this type of transitions is common in longer texts. Transition words, phrases, or even paragraphs can be used to introduce the next section by summarizing and showing the relevance of the previous one.

section transition

Examples of Common Transition Words

In this section, some examples of transition words that are grouped together based on their functions will be provided.

1. Transition Words Used to Show Similarity


  • just as
  • likewise
  • in the same way
  • similarly
  • also

2. Transition Words Used to Show Contrast


  • however
  • despite
  • and yet
  • contrary to
  • on the other hand

3. Transition Words Used to Show Comparison


  • compared to
  • comparatively
  • meanwhile
  • whereas
  • as compared with

4. Transition Words Used in Adding Information


  • in addition
  • moreover
  • in fact
  • furthermore
  • and then

5. Transition Words Used to Show Cause and Effect


  • it follows
  • subsequently
  • accordingly
  • thus
  • hence

6. Transition Words Used to Show Time Order


  • prior to
  • presently
  • later on
  • until now
  • afterward

7. Transition Words Used in Giving Examples


  • namely
  • for instance
  • suppose that
  • for example
  • such as

8. Transition Words Used to Show Sequence


  • at first
  • after that
  • lastly
  • secondly
  • finally

9. Transition Words Used in Emphasizing an Idea


  • above all
  • indeed
  • primarily
  • most of all
  • especially

10. Transition Words Used to Show Concession (Acceptance of an Idea)


  • naturally
  • admittedly
  • certainly
  • although this may be true
  • of course

11. Transition Words Used in Indicating an Exception


  • yet
  • in spite of
  • nevertheless
  • though
  • still

12. Transition Words Used in Summarizing or Concluding


  • as I have said
  • as a result
  • to sum up
  • in short
  • therefore

The transition words that you use suggest HOW one idea is related to another, which is why it is extremely important for you to know the different functions of each transitional word. Just imagine if you want to convey contrasting ideas and then you made use of the transitional word “similarly,” wouldn’t your reader miss the point?
Final Thoughts
Transition words are essential components of writing. Not only do they make your written piece sound great, but they should be used to help readers make sense of what you’re trying to say or what you’re getting at. These transition words should guide your readers as they follow through your train of thought. The words should help them piece together all the ideas you are offering, into a single logical argument. It doesn’t really matter whether you use transition words or transition phrases, as long as they serve their purpose.

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