7.3 COMPOSITION: Transitions between Ideas

Transition words connect your ideas together. They help your readers to understand your writing by showing relationships among ideas. They show connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your writing. They help your reader understand how to put your separate details together to form a complete idea.

You are probably already familiar with the more common transition words used in academic writing. For example:

  • first, second, third …
  • first, next, then, finally …

However, writing in college requires you to show your reader more than just sequence. Now you need to show the connections between ideas and explain the reason why one idea comes after another.  Without transitions, your writing might seem “choppy” or “disconnected.” Your reader might feel that you are jumping from one idea to the next, and they don’t understand why or how you changed the topic. Transitions are especially important if you write your work in pieces and then try to assemble it later, which is what we do in this course.

Here are some common transitions:

Type of Relationship between Ideas Transition Words
Similarity also, in the same way, just as … so too, likewise, similarly
Contrast but, however, in spite of, on the one hand … on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, in contrast, on the contrary, still, yet
Order / Sequence first, second, third, … next, then, finally
Time after, afterward, at last, before, currently, during, earlier, immediately, later, meanwhile, now, recently, simultaneously, subsequently, then
Example for example, for instance, namely, specifically, to illustrate
Emphasis even, indeed, in fact, of course, truly
Place / Position above, adjacent, below, beyond, here, in front, in back, nearby, there
Cause and Effect accordingly, consequently, hence, so, therefore, thus
Additional Support or Evidence additionally, again, also, and, as well, besides, equally important, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then
Conclusion / Summary finally, in a word, in brief, briefly, in conclusion, in the end, in the final analysis, on the whole, thus, to conclude, to summarize, in sum, to sum up, in summary

Watch these videos to learn more about some specific transitions words you may not yet use:



Now practice with this exercise; it is not graded, and you may repeat it as many times as you wish:



Videos from: Benn, Adam. “Writing – Transitions – in Addition, Moreover, Furthermore, Another.” www.youtube.com, 29 Mar. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsDR3XEv50E. Accessed 30 Dec. 2021. “Writing – Transitions – Therefore, Thus, Consequently.” Www.youtube.com, 11 June 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL05g8eW10s. Accessed 30 Dec. 2021. “Writing – Advanced English Transitions: Thereby, Thereof, Hereby, Therein, Wherein, Whereby…” www.youtube.com, 20 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWQk67meYUA&t=1s. Accessed 30 Dec. 2021.


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