Transition Words for Essays: Learn These 7 Types

Transition words for essays connect your ideas smoothly for your reader. They can link two concepts together, allow you to compare and contrast, or otherwise lead your reader through your thoughts and your arguments.

When writing essays, it is vital to use transition words for essays in order to create a piece of work that flows well. These linking words can be used strategically throughout your academic writing to make it read more smoothly. They allow readers to move from one idea to another.

This is far from an exhaustive list of transition words; in fact, there are more than 200 transition words and phrases in English. We've grouped options into several types of transition words. The following options are among the most effective transition options for essay writing.

1. Agreement, Addition, and Similarity Words and Phrases

Transition words for essays

These transition words allow you to add new ideas to strengthen an argument. They express agreement with the preceding material, add new information, and reinforce ideas. The punctuation used around these phrases depends on the specific structure of your sentences.

In a list, these words come after commas. They can also be used with a semicolon when you are introducing two related thoughts that each are expressed in full clauses.

Common transitions in this category include:

  • in the first place, second place, etc.
  • in like manner
  • as a matter of fact
  • in addition, also, together with
  • equally, identically, uniquely
  • furthermore
  • like or as
  • moreover

Example: Susan B. Anthony argued for the rights of workers; furthermore, she championed the cause of equal pay for equal work.

2. Contradiction, Limitation, and Opposition Transition Phrases

In an argumentative essay, you may wish to show two sides of an argument. For instance, you may wish to list the pros of a course of action followed by the cons.

Transitional words and phrases like but, or, and rather can show contrary points of view. Often, when a contrasting thought is used, you will offer your ideas in a new paragraph. This can help readers understand that they are about to see a point of view that may contradict what they were previously told. 

Examples of transitional phrases in this category include:

  • in or by contrast
  • but, or, still
  • on the contrary
  • in spite of
  • at the same time
  • nevertheless, nonetheless, or regardless
  • despite
  • whereas
  • conversely
  • however
  • rather
  • even though

Example: The committee wanted to address all of their concerns at the meeting. However, there was not enough time to listen to everyone's complaints.

3. Cause, Intention, and Purpose Words

These are transitional words and phrases often used to demonstrate cause and effect. They serve as a logical connection between these two ideas.

Examples of cause and effect words you can use in your research paper or essay include:

  • in the event that
  • If/then phrases
  • provided that
  • so that or so as to
  • due to or owing to
  • in the hope that
  • for the purpose of
  • so long as
  • for fear that
  • because of

Example: They offered a reward in the hope that this would encourage more people to participate.

4. Example, Support, and Emphasis Transition Words

These words are used when presenting evidence or examples that support an idea. They can also indicate the importance for the reader. 

Examples of transition words in this category include:

  • notably
  • in fact
  • for example or for instance
  • to emphasize
  • to clarify
  • to repeat
  • in this case
  • for this reason
  • to put it differently or to put it another way
  • that is to say

Example: No other explorer arrived at the checkpoint. To put it another way, he is the first and only to make it.

5. Effects, Consequences, and Results

Often, an essay writer will want to show how one event caused another. These transition words typically indicate that one event happened after another. 

Examples of words and phrases in this category include:

  • in this case
  • as a result
  • for this reason
  • accordingly
  • consequently
  • because
  • under the circumstances

Example: The bears broke into the supply tent and ate everything. As a result, the explorers needed to go back for resupplies sooner than anticipated. 

6. Sequence, Chronology, or Time

Transition Words For Essays
They can also communicate that something is temporary and applies only for now

These transitional words help you establish an order of events. They can express which event happened after another. They can also communicate that something is temporary and applies only for now. These phrases have overlap with cause-and-effect words.

Examples of words in this category include:

  • for the time being
  • as soon as
  • last
  • since
  • until or till
  • after
  • later
  • eventually
  • meanwhile
  • at the same time
  • prior to or before

Example: For the time being, they are adhering to the provisional process. 

7. Summaries, Conclusions, and Restatements of Arguments

At the end of an essay, you will need to bring all of your ideas together in a logical manner. Transition words here introduce your restatement, summarization, or conclusion.

Many consequence-and-effect words and phrases will work here, as well. These are the words that help you tie together everything you've written before. 

Examples in this category include:

  • in the final analysis
  • as demonstrated above
  • in summary or in conclusion
  • generally speaking
  • as can be seen
  • in a word
  • overall
  • by and large
  • to sum up
  • ultimately or obviously
  • in the long run

Example: As can be seen, these events contributed to the situation today. 

The Final Word On Transition Words For Essays

There are a number of words and phrases that can be used to make your writing smoother and easier to follow. When writing, do not overuse any one type of transition.

Instead, choose different ones from the different categories above each time. These will allow you to make good transitions from one section to another. 

FAQ About Transition Words For Essays

What are transitions for essays?

Transitions allow you to smoothly move from one idea to another. They connect each idea in a way that is clear and logical.

How do you transition to a new paragraph? 

Think of new paragraphs as being similar to new sentences. Ensure that you have offered a completed thought, but also that the new paragraph can be linked to the one before.

What are the best transition words?

The best word will depend on your writing style, your topic, and the purpose of your essay. Experiment with different words and phrases to see which fit your goals. There are well over 200 transition words and phrases in the English language.

How can I incorporate transition words?

Often, these words will appear naturally in your writing. If you feel that a transition from one idea to another is too abrupt, a transition word can help. Determine which type of transition you are using, then choose the appropriate word. 

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  • Lara is a freelance writer currently located in the Florida Keys. She frequently covers health, wellness and how-to topics.

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