Or, how to get your reader to follow along
• Transitions work like bridges or a well worn
path through a park; they show the reader
where your essay is going and makes it easier
to follow along.
• Since transitions can help tie paragraphs
together, sometimes it’s effective to repeat a
key word or phrase.
• Original:
Overall, Management
Systems International has
logged increased sales in
every sector, leading to a
significant rise in thirdquarter profits.
Another important
thing to note is that the
corporation had
expanded its
international influence.
• Revision:
Overall, Management
Systems International has
logged increased sales in
every sector, leading to a
significant rise in thirdquarter profits.
These impressive
profits are largely due to
the corporation's
expanded international
• Different transitional phrases have different
meanings or contexts
• Each context leads the reader to a certain
• Be cautious in your use so that you don’t
mislead your reader.
• When you are going to be adding a new idea
to a previous one.
– And, again, and then, besides, equally important,
finally, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what’s
more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc)
• When you are going to be examining the
similarities/differences between a previously
presented idea and a new idea
– whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however,
nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison,
where, compared to, up against, balanced against,
vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile,
after all, in contrast, although this may be true
• When you are going to prove a point, usually
by providing a solid example:
– because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously,
evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides,
indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
• Use these words when showing how
something is a unique case, different from the
– yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of,
despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes
• These words are particularly effective when
writing narratives:
– immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours,
finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first
(second, etc.), next, and then
• When you want to emphasize an idea through
– in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been
• To add particular strain or stress on an idea:
– definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in
any case, absolutely, positively, naturally,
surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally,
never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a
doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation
• Useful for showing Process, or the order/steps
necessary to complete a task:
– first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so
forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now,
at this point, after, afterward, subsequently,
finally, consequently, previously, before this,
simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore,
hence, next, and then, soon
• Self explanatory, yes?
– for example, for instance, in this case, in another
case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the
case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an
illustration, to illustrate
• To wrap up an argument or idea:
– in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude,
in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said,
hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result,
– Be careful using these to set off your conclusion
paragraph. It can go from a useful transition to a
(Thus/For example/ Besides), if you install low-flow showerheads and watersaving toilets, your household can save dozens of gallons of water a day.
We want For Example, because
that’s what this sentence is
doing: giving an example that
would relate to the previous
• Many people resist such measures because
they think that these inventions do not work
as well as the old models. (Consequently/
Therefore/ On the contrary), because of
technological advances, today’s waterconserving showers and toilets work
surprisingly well.
We want “On the
contrary” because it
shows the contrast
• You want your reader to have an easy time
reading your writing and not to have to
struggle through to make the connections.
• I sometimes tell students who struggle with
transitions to assume your reader is slightly
stupid and you have to walk them through
your essay.
• This is what transitions accomplish.