Transition words and sentences

Your priority as a writer should be presenting your ideas as clearly as possible. It is essential to create a grammatical flow so that your readers can grasp your different ideas without getting lost in various arguments.

Transition words and phrases (see transition sentences), also known as linking words, are used for this purpose; they serve as connections between your sentences.

Using transition words at the right time

Most often, linking words are used at the beginning of new sentences to connect your new thought from the previous sentence and are followed by a comma.

Transition words example

Nonetheless, Transition word Marcus believes that tentative initiation story doesn’t leave a permanent mark… However, Transition word the maturation process fits perfectly into Marcus’s tentative category…

You may also use them in the middle of your sentence. Just place them correctly to give the intended meaning.

Transition word in the middle example

The work is nonetheless Transition word finished before the due date.

A text with and without transition words

Text without transition

The company was founded in 1939. It financially struggled during world war II. They had to merge with a bigger company. They did not want to merge. The company was saved after the merger.

Now, let’s see how transition words will add smoothness to this rough text and make it much more clear:

Text with transition

The company was founded in 1939. However, Transition word it financially struggled during World War II. Although Transition word they did not want, they had to merge with a bigger company. In conclusion, Transition word the company was saved after the merger.

Using too many transition words

You might overuse transition words, which could make your essay or research paper hard to follow and repetitive, rather than making it clear and smooth.

Bad example

The doctor prescribed an antibiotic to her first patient. However, Transition word she prescribed a non-antibiotic drug to the second one. Nevertheless, Transition word she prescribed the same medicine to her third patient while Transition word she prescribed another non-antibiotic drug to the last patient of the day.

In such cases, try to shorten the sentence so that the reader doesn’t get lost in transition words.

Good example

The doctor prescribed antibiotics to her first and third patient, whereas Transition word she prescribed non-antibiotic drugs to her second and last patient.

Find a balance in using transition words during your writing process. While too little may prevent your reader from reading it smoothly, too many may have the same impact.

Types of transition words

Transition words are bridges between your ideas and thoughts. Even though there are many types of transition words, let’s look at them closer under four different types: 

Some transition words may have similar meanings, but it doesn’t mean you can use them interchangeably. Know the exact meaning of your transition word; look at a dictionary if you need.

Addition words

These transition words can be used to add an example or extra information. You can elaborate on or clarify your previous sentence using them.

Function Example Transition words
To add
The athletes have been practicing for months. Furthermore, they’ve been on a special diet as a team.
moreover, indeed, additionally, furthermore, both x and y, also, and, not only…but also, in fact, besides
To introduce
There were many studies on the topic. For example, Johnson (2021) claimed that…
for instance, such as, including, in particular, like, especially, to illustrate, notably
To refer
The biography shows how she struggled throughout her life. Considering the work, the reasons behind her suicide become clear.
in regard to x, as for x, the fact that x, on the subject of x, considering x, regarding x
To resemble
The result of the previous study had proved the allegations. Similarly, this study also proved…
likewise, similarly, in the same way, equally
To clarify
These animals are highly territorial. In other words, outsiders are strictly forbidden in the territories they marked.
specifically, more precisely, in other words, to explain, to put it another way, that is to say

Contrast words

You can introduce a contrasting idea or a disagreement through these transition words.

Function Example Transition words
To conflict
He was ready for his speech. However, he didn’t expect to see his ex-girlfriend there.
but, in fact, however, though, although, on the other hand, yet, whereas, while, in contrast
To concede
Dwayne’s dreams are crushed because of his sight. Nevertheless, they keep on going for Olive’s dream to come true.
nevertheless, nonetheless, regardless of, despite, yet, even though, even so, still, admittedly
To dismiss
There wasn’t enough evidence for the prosecutor to create a case. Regardless, the trial began in…
either way, all the same, in any event / case, at any rate, regardless
To emphasize
The expected strike still scared the capital. Indeed, the huge turnout created a panic among the politicians.
more importantly, indeed, above all
To replace
The reviews were highly negative, if not completely terrible.
instead, if not, at least, rather

Cause-and-effect words

These transition words connect two sentences that have a cause-and-effect relationship to make your writing easier to follow.

Function Example Transition words
To follow
As a result of the budget cut down, the mayor couldn’t fulfill his promises.
accordingly, as a consequence, since, due to, consequently, therefore, because of, as a result of, so much so that, thus, owing to, hence, for this reason, as, under such circumstances
To condition
The two finalists could share the gold medal as long as they both agreed to share.
otherwise, provided that, in the case that, even if, only when, granted that, in the event that, as long as, in that case, being / given that, inasmuch as, if so / not
To show purpose
The dating app uses a complex algorithm so that people can create genuine connections.
in order to, so that, with this in mind, to, so as to, lest, so that, for the purpose / sake of

Consecutive words

Function Example Transition words
To show sequence
The research was in two parts. First, they prepared the subjects…
first, firstly, second, secondly, third, thirdly…
To initiate
First of all, I’d like to thank my mentors who have been there for me.
initially, to begin with, at first, first of all
To continue
A mistake was made in calculations. Eventually, the scientists had to repeat the trial.
eventually, afterwards, then, subsequently, previously, next
To conclude
Last but not least, we also have to consider these variables…
to conclude, at last, finally, last but not least, lastly
To resume
Returning to my point, I believe that…
to resume, to return to, at any rate
To summarize
In conclusion, the two works have both similarities and differences.
in summary, to summarize, overall, in conclusion, as previously mentioned, in sum, in short, altogether, briefly

These transition words are used to present a sequence and can give an order to your thoughts and ideas. You can also use them for signposting on some types of paper.

Common mistakes to avoid

Transition words create the backbone of your writing, and it is critical that you use them correctly. So, make sure you know the exact meaning and the usage of the transition word you use.

There are some common mistakes you should avoid to not make your writing unclear and grammatically wrong.

Don’t start your sentence with and, also, and as

There is nothing wrong with using these words in your academic paper. However, avoid starting a sentence with them as it is considered informal.

We can fix this issue in two ways. First, by changing the place of your transition word in the sentence:

Second, by using a more formal transition word:

Don’t misuse and & as well as

You might think it is correct to use these two interchangeably. However, their meanings are not identical. While using “and” suggests that you will present something equally important, writing “as well as” means you are presenting new information that is less important and is considered an addition.

The thesis is more important than the summary, so “as well as” seems illogical in this sentence. There are two ways we can fix this issue. First, by changing the order of the sentence:

Second, by replacing “as well as” with “and:”

Don’t misuse therefore

Some cause-and-effect words like “therefore” can be misused. Make sure you use them to state a result of a logical follow-up to a previous statement and avoid logical fallacy.

Here we see an illogical use of the word “therefore.” There is no absolute estimation of the results; there are many other possible outcomes to the study, and no cause-and-effect relationship exists. So, let’s fix this fallacy by not using “therefore.”

Don’t create fragmented sentences

Words that connect two clauses are known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, like “because” and “although,” help introduce a new clause that couldn’t stand on its own otherwise. If you are using subordinating conjunction, make sure it follows or be followed by a different clause.

Here is an incorrect sentence, as “even though” is the only clause of the two sentences, which makes the second sentence a fragment:

There are two ways we can fix the issue. First, by creating one complete sentence by using a comma:

Second, by using another transition word, which is not subordinating conjunction, and so, does not create a fragmented sentence:

Don’t use and/or

Usage of “and/or” is informal in academic writing, as it takes away from clarity. In order to avoid using it, question why you can’t simply just use “and” or “or” instead of a combination of both. Suppose it is one-hundred percent clear that you need to use it, still separate it to add clarity to your paper.

Don’t choose archaic transition words

Certain old transition words have no use in modern language. Mostly, words created with “here,” “where,” and “there” fall into this category. Avoid using words like “hereby” and “therewith” not to make your writing seem old-fashioned.

Let’s fix this issue by replacing the disused transition word with a modern one:

Picture of Dogukan Duman
Dogukan Duman
Holds a Master Degree in Linguistics & Localization, has a keen eye for detail, a full stack language master working for national TV localization