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Online Writing Lab


One of the best ways to improve any essay is by incorporating transitions. Effective transitions are what enable the main idea(s) and important points in an essay to flow together. In a sense, it is transitions that make a paper become an actual essay as opposed to just a random assortment of various facts. Without them, an essay will often seem to be lacking in unity. 

How do you know that you need better and/or more transitions? If your paper seems choppy, lacking in flow, or generally unorganized, these are all signs that your paper is lacking transitions. Also, the longer an essay is and the more points that are presented, the greater the need for transitions to connect all of the important ideas. 

The following examples provide a paragraph without transitions, followed by a revised paragraph that contains them:

Notice how the paragraph above contains valuable information about the use of transitions, but the sentences seem disconnected. It reads as if there are several ideas that are simply thrown together. Now read the paragraph below and see how using a few minor transitions allows the sentences and the information in them to be more connected (the transitions that have been added are in bold):

The following is a categorized list of transitional words that can be used, depending on the type of transition that is needed:

To Add: additionally, in addition, again, besides, moreover, what’s more, equally important (also important), finally, further, furthermore, first (second, third, etc.) next, lastly

To Repeat: as mentioned, as has been noted, in brief

To Show Exception: however, nevertheless, in spite of, yet, still, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes, unfortunately

To Compare: however, on the other hand, on the contrary, in contrast, whereas, but, yet, nevertheless, by comparison, compared to, conversely, up against, balanced against, but, although, meanwhile, after all, while this may be true

To Emphasize: indeed, certainly, in any case, without a doubt, obviously, definitely, extremely, in fact, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, emphatically, unquestionably , undeniably, without reservation, always, never

To Prove: furthermore, moreover, in example, in fact, indeed, because, for, since, for the same reason, for this reason, obviously, evidently, besides, in addition, in any case

To Give an Example: for example, for instance, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, in another case, take the case of, on this occasion, in this situation

To Show Sequence: as a result, subsequently, consequently, concurrently, following this, now, at this point, afterward, simultaneously, thus, hence, therefore, first (second, third, etc.)

To Show Time: immediately, thereafter, then, soon after, next, and then, finally, later, previously, formerly, first (second, third, etc.)

To Summarize or Conclude: In conclusion, as demonstrated, to conclude, summing up, in brief, as a result, therefore, accordingly, consequently, hence, on the whole