The Use of Transition Words

One of the most effective ways for improving the flow of an essay is the use of transitions. For example, they ensure that key points and important ideas flow smoothly from one to the next. Indeed, it is the use of transitions that creates an essay. Otherwise, your paper would just be a collection of random words and facts. If you did not use transition words for essays, written text would lack cohesion and appear disjointed.

So, how can you tell if you need more or better essay transitions? If it is the case that your essay seems to lack flow, appears disjointed or seems generally disorganized, it could be because there are not enough transitions. The length of a paper and the number of points the writer makes also determines the need for transitions and the number that should be used to link all the main ideas together.

  • There are several junctures in an essay where transitions should be placed. Generally, they are used to join body paragraphs and they should be used to create unity between sentences within the body paragraphs.
  • Quite often, one-word transitions are used between sentences e.g. words such as ‘therefore’ and ‘however.’ However, a short collection of words can also be used. Using effective transitions for essays, the reader is able to move smoothly from one sentence to the following one and such words show how all sentences connect to one another.
  • Using transition words between paragraphs is a little more complicated because these take the reader from one key point or idea to another. However, transitions are especially important where essays are quite long and where they contain a lot of information.

You may notice how some paragraphs have valuable information to convey, but they can appear disjointed. They can read as though the writer took several good ideas and just threw them together. Listed below is a selection of transitional words for essays you can use, depending on what type of transition you want to make:

If you want to add more information, you can use: in addition, additionally, again, as well as, besides, equally importantly, also importantly, firstly (secondly, thirdly and so on), finally, further (or further to), furthermore, lastly, moreover, next, what is more.

If information needs repeating, you can say: as stated earlier (or before), as mentioned previously (or before), as noted before (or previously).

If or when you want to indicate exception, you can use: despite, however, in spite of, nevertheless, nonetheless, of course, once in a while, sometimes, still, unfortunately, yet.

If you want to make a comparison, here are some good transition words for essays you can use: after all, although, balanced against, by comparison, but, compared to, conversely, however, in contrast, meanwhile, meantime, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, up against, while this might be so.

If you need to emphasize something, you can use: absolutely, always, certainly, definitely, emphatically, extremely, indeed, in fact, in any case, naturally, never, obviously, positively, surprisingly, undeniably, undoubtedly, unquestionably, without doubt, without reservation.

If you want to prove something, you can use: because, besides, evidently, for example, for this reason, for this same reason, furthermore, in addition, in any case, in fact, indeed, obviously, moreover, since.

If you need to provide an example, you can use: as a way of illustrating, for instance, for example, in another situation (or case), in this instance, in this situation, on this occasion, take the example (or case) of, to demonstrate, to illustrate.

When you want to demonstrate sequence, you can use these transition words for essays: afterward, as a result, at this point, because of, concurrently, consequently, firstly (secondly, thirdly and so on), following, hence, now, simultaneously, subsequently, therefore, thus.

When you want to indicate time, you can use: and then (or and next) finally, firstly (secondly, thirdly and so on), formerly, immediately, later, next, previously, soon after, then, thereafter.

When you want to conclude or summarize a point or an entire paper, you can use: accordingly, as a result, as shown (or as demonstrated), consequently, hence, in brief, in summary, on balance, on the whole, therefore, to conclude, to sum up.