Transitions are words and phrases that provide a connection between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. Transitions help to make a piece of writing flow better. They can turn disconnected pieces of ideas into a unified whole, and prevent a reader from getting lost in the storyline.

Since the goal of a writer is to convey information concisely and clearly, transitions help achieve that aim by providing a logical connection between one or more sections of a piece of writing. Transitions generally work best when used to link one paragraph to the next, and are usually found at the beginning of the paragraph, although they can be used anywhere when needed.

A transition is a change from one thing to the next, either in action or state of being—as in a job transition or as in the much more dramatic example of a caterpillar making a transition into a butterfly. A transition is a word or a phrase that connects information and ideas in a previous sentence or paragraph to the information that is coming up in the writing.

Transitions help the reader to move through a text easily, signalling the reader when the writer is continuing a thought or shifting gears slightly. It is necessary for writers to use transitions to help a text flow and make sense for a reader.

Some examples of transition words or phrases include:
    • another key point
    • indeed
    • in fact
    • first thing to remember
    • on the negative side
    • on the positive side

Transitional Words

Agreement / Addition / Similarity

The transition words like also, in addition, and, likewise, add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.

 in the first place 
 again   moreover 
 not only ... but also   to  as well as 
 as a matter of fact  and  together with 
 in like manner  also  of course
 in addition  then  likewise
 coupled with  equally   comparatively 
       in the same fashion / way               identically               correspondingly       
 first, second, third  uniquely  similarly
 in the light of  like  furthermore
 not to mention  as  additionally
 to say nothing of  too  
 equally important    
 by the same token    

Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction

Transition phrases like but, rather and or, express that there is evidence to the contrary or point out alternatives, and thus introduce a change the line of reasoning (contrast).

 in contrast   but   although 
 different from   (and) still   instead
 of course ..., but   or   whereas 
 on the contrary  unlike  despite
         on the other hand         (and) yet         notwithstanding        
 at the same time  while  nonetheless 
 in spite of  besides  otherwise
 even so / though  as much as   conversely
 be that as it may          even though           nevertheless
 then again    however
 above all    rather
 in reality    regardless
 after all    

Cause / Condition / Purpose

These transitional phrases present specific conditions or intentions.

 in the event that   If   in case 
 granted (that)  ... then           provided that         
 as / so long as  unless  given that 
 for the purpose of   when  only / even if
 with this in mind  whenever   so that
 in the hope that  while  so as to
 to the end that          because of           owing to
 in order to  as  due to
        seeing / being that           since  lest
 in view of  while  

Effect / Consequence / Result

Some of these transition words (thus, then, accordingly, consequently, therefore, henceforth) are time words that are used to show that after a particular time there was a consequence or an effect.

Note that for and because are placed before the cause/reason. The other devices are placed before the consequences or effects.

 as a result   for         consequently      
       under those circumstances         thus   therefore
 in that case        because the         thereupon
 for this reason  then  forthwith
 in effect  hence  accordingly

Common Locations of Transitions

Common Locations of Transitions:

Between Sections
In extensive writing, transitional paragraphs summarize the information for readers, and specify the relevance of the information in the sections to come.

Between Paragraphs
Transitions form a relationship between paragraphs by connecting them with phrases, words, or sentences that can be placed at the end of the first paragraph, the start of the second paragraph, or in both places.

Within Paragraphs
These help the reader anticipate what is to come by serving as cues. Within paragraphs, transitions are usually short phrases or single words.

A transition can be a word, a phrase, or even an entire paragraph. The function of a transition is to summarize the content of the preceding paragraph or section, and it helps the reader anticipate what’s to come in the next paragraph. However, the major function is not just to embellish one’s writing by making it read or sound better; these are words which serve the function of presenting the ideas in such a way that help readers react in particular ways to the ideas presented. They play a very important part in helping readers see the logical sequence of the idea.