Transition words are used more frequently in the English language than we probably realize and even though their name suggests they may be a complex subject, in reality, transition words are quite easy to understand. In this article, we are going to find out exactly what transition words are and the various different types you are likely to see.
Transition Words and Phrases
What Is A Transition Word?
In simple terms, a transition word demonstrates the relationship between two portions of the text or spoken language. By using the imagery of a bridge, we can see how these words take us from one statement to another. By using these words we can better build a sentence and convey what we are trying to say in a more concise manner.
The Importance And Function Of Transition Words
Transition words are so important because they take the reader, or listener from one idea to another. Without them, sentences would be singular and would not connect and flow, which can create a more natural way of delivering information. The use of transition words also serves as a way to prevent having to mentally jump from one sentence or paragraph to another, giving the listener or reader greater ease.
The function of transition words is essential to put in place an easy to understand, logical connection between paragraphs and sentences.
Types Of Transition Words
There is more than one type of transition word and in this section, we are going to introduce you to some of the most commonly used ones, which will give you a greater understanding of the concept.
A reason transition word is one which shows the cause and effect of a situation. Some good examples of this type of transition word are; therefore, as a result of, because, consequently, for this reason, accordingly, hence so that and thus. You might see them used in a sentence such as; The dog had lost its leg, therefore it could not walk without assistance.
A result transition word is similar to a reason transition word and will link a sentence to the outcome of it. Some examples of result transition words are; therefore, thus, as a result. You are likely to see a result transition word in a sentence such as; I cannot attend the party tonight as a result of being so tired from having worked late all week.
An emphasis transition word is used to support a piece of information which has just been given, they can also be used to emphasise an idea. Let’s look at some examples of emphasis transition words; Indeed, above all, certainly, of course, obviously, in fact, in short and clearly. You might see one of these types of transition words used in a sentence such as; You can travel to Australia and of course, can visit Tasmania whilst you are there.
An Addition transition word will give additional information in a sentence, deepening the meaning that is taken from it. Some examples of addition transition words are; in addition, than, furthermore, besides, another, too, also, similarly and likewise. An example of a sentence containing one of these transition words would be; You cannot go into the theatre as you have not got tickets, furthermore you are not in the correct dress for this performance.
An illustration transition word is used to give an example of what the speaker is referring to. Some good examples of this type of transition word would be; for instance, in this case, namely, including, for example and such as. The following sentence shows the use of an illustration transition word; There are lots of things to do at the park, for instance feeding the ducks or playing on the slide.
A contrast transition word can be used to show a contrast between two ideas within a sentence. Some examples of contrast transition words are; but, notwithstanding, however, rather, at the same time, or and on the other hand. You might see one of these transitions being used in a sentence such as; I do not like that song, however the previous one on the album is very good.
A comparison transition word is used to compare two ideas or thoughts. Some examples of this type of transition word might be; in relation to, however, still, nevertheless and in contrast. An example of a sentence in which you might see a comparison transition word would be; The flowers have grown somewhat, still they haven’t grown as much as they did last summer.
An order transition word can be used to show a change in the order or timing of consecutive ideas and phrases. Here are a few examples of these types of transition words; equally important, again, finally, moreover, besides and secondly. You might see an order transition word being used in a sentence such as; I will go to the shop, then to the park and finally I will relax in the bar.
Conclusion transition words are used to conclude the ideas that have been previously mentioned. For example, you might use the following conclusion transitions; in short, in essence, all things considered, in brief and altogether. A good example of a sentence to demonstrate this would be; The acting was superb and the lighting was excellent, all things considered it made for an interesting play.
Condition transition words are used to establish the condition or to bring into consideration another view point. These words could be; considering, generally, admittedly, for the most part, often, occasionally and granted. A condition transition might be used in a sentence such as ; He does dress well but occasionally he will wear a terrible outfit.
A concession transition word is used to acknowledge an opposing view and might be used in the form of the following phrases; at least or at any rate. A good example of a sentence containing this type of transition would be; She comes to work late every day but at least she is good at her job.
A generalisation transition word can be used to give an example of an idea relating to the subject. These words may be things like; such as, for example, typically or to demonstrate. Here is a sentence which uses a generalisation transition; I like to go for walks typically in the woods or on the beach.
Restatement transition words are used to summarise an idea or restate something that has already been said. Some examples of this type of transition are; in summary, after all, in conclusion, ultimately, on the whole and definitely. Let’s look at an example of a sentence which uses a restatement transition; The event was a disaster, ultimately it was the fault of the organisers.
Reference transition words are used to literally make a reference to a continuing idea. Some examples of these might be; concerning, speaking about, considering, the fact that and with regards to. You might see a reference transition in a sentence like this one; I was explaining to John that the job he wanted was not available due to the fact that they had already hired someone.
Clarification transition words can be used to further explain an idea or thought, some of these words might be; that is to say, in other words, I mean or to put it in another way. A good example of a sentence that uses clarification transition is as follows; I won’t be going because I do not like her, in other words she will ruin the evening for me.
Transition Words List with Examples
Learn an extensive list of 120+ transition words and phrases in English with example sentences, video and ESL printable worksheets.
Transitional words and transitional phrases can be used at the start of new paragraphs in your essays.
Reason Transition Words
Usage: To provide reasons for what has been stated or has occurred.
Common Transition Words to Show Cause and Effect in English
Reason transitional words list with examples:
- We were unable to go by train because of the rail strike.
With this in mind
- With this in mind, we must ensure more job security.
- In fact, the fighting became even more brutal on Sunday.
In order to
- In order to achieve this, we need a budget.
- The event is off due to a scheduling error.
Result Transition Words
Usage: Transitional words and transitional phrases to provide the result of what has been stated or has occurred.
Result transition words list with examples:
As a result
- His wife left him. As a result, he became very depressed.
As a consequence (of)
- She has lived in France, and as a consequence speaks French fluently.
- We do not have enough money. Therefore we cannot afford to buy the new car.
- We do not own the building. Thus, it would be impossible for us to make any major changes to it.
- There has been a great deal of rain and consequently the reservoirs are full.
- The customer was displeased with her meal, hence the chef prepared a replacement.
For this reason
- For this reason, they are not a good choice for exterior use.
- Due to a broken wing, this bird can’t fly.
Emphasis Transition Words
Function: Transition words and phrases to put forward a point or idea more forcefully
Emphasis transitional words & transitional phrases examples:
- Undoubtedly, the story itself is one of the main attractions.
- I don’t mind at all. Indeed, I would be delighted to help.
- Obviously, we don’t want to spend too much money.
Particularly / in particular
- I love silver earrings, in particular ones from Mexico.
- The car is quite small, especially if you have children.
- Clearly, this will cost a lot more than we realized.
- More importantly, can he be trusted?
- He’s an absolutely brilliant cook.
- I definitely remember sending the letter.
Without a doubt
- We still believe we can win this series without a doubt.
- I’m never surprised at what I do.
It should be noted
- It should be noted that if you have something to note, then note it.
- Unquestionably, teaching has been a paramount part of his career.
- Above all, this forest is designed for wear and tear.
- This is positively the worst thing that I can even imagine.
Emphasis – Addition – Contrast – Order Transition Words & Phrases
Addition Transition Words
Function: Transitional words and transitional phrases to add to what has been previously stated
Addition transitional words list with examples:
Additionally / an additional
- Additionally, the bus service will run on Sundays, every two hours.
- He said he had not discussed the matter with her. Furthermore, he had not even contacted her.
- We are unable to repair this watch. Also, this is the fourth time this has happened.
- I love wearing earrings. I design and make them too.
As well as that
- We went to the park today. As well as that, we did some shopping.
- Along with parties and parliaments, elections have lost their charm.
- I can’t afford to go to the concert. Besides, I don’t really like classical music.
- You haven’t paid the rent yet. In addition, you owe me money.
- The report is badly presented. Moreover, it contains inaccuracies.
Not only…but also
- If the project fails this will have terrible consequences not only on our department, but also on the whole organization.
In addition to this
- John’s grades are terrible because he has been so lazy these days. In addition to this, his relationship to his parents got worse.
Apart from this
- Apart from this paragraph, the report contains a number of sensible initiatives.
Illustration Transition Words
Function: Transitional words and phrases to provide examples.
Illustration transition words list with examples:
For example/ For instance
- There are many interesting places to visit in the city, for example/ for instance, the botanical garden or the art museum.
- I prefer to wear casual clothes, such as jeans and a sweatshirt.
- Including Christmas Day and Boxing Day, I’ve got a week off work.
- We need to concentrate on our target audience, namely women aged between 20 and 30.
In this case
- I think I would have made a difference in this case.
Proof of this
- This building are a living proof of this existence, so we must preserve it.
- I also make other jewellery like rings and bracelets.
To demonstrate/ To clarify
- Regarding my previous email, I would like to clarify one of my sentences which was not that clear.
Result – Illustration – Comparison – Summary Transition Words and Phrases
Contrast Transition Words
Function: Transition words and phrases to show how things are different
Contrast transition words list with examples:
- Unlike most systems, this one is very easy to install.
- There is little chance that we will succeed in changing the law. Nevertheless, it is important that we try.
On the other hand
- Laptops are convenient; on the other hand, they can be expensive.
- The problems are not serious. Nonetheless, we shall need to tackle them soon.
Despite/ in spite of
- Despite/ In spite of the rain, I went for a walk.
In contrast (to)
- In contrast to the diligent bee, the butterfly flies hither and yon with no apparent purpose.
- While London is exciting, it is much too busy.
- Life in the city is fast, whereas life in the countryside is slow.
- The agency will make travel arrangements for you. Alternatively, you can organize your own transport.
- Northern European countries had a great summer. On the contrary/conversely, southern Europe had poor weather.
- Even so, many old friends were shocked at the announcement.
- Differing from his white colleagues, he preferred instructing his scholars to the ambition of acquiring personal renown.
- The situation in Ireland is quite contrary to this principle.
Comparison Transition Words
Function: Transitional words and transitional phrases to show how things are similar
Comparison transitional words and transitional phrases examples:
- Similarly, the basketball and hockey games draw nearly full attendance.
- Equally, not all customers are honest.
- Her second marriage was likewise unhappy.
- She’s just as smart as her sister.
- Working with housecats is just like working with lions or tigers.
- Some people say I have a running style similar to him.
- Having a power is not the same as using the power.
Compare / compare(d) to (with)
- He gets the ball off quickly compared to two years ago.
By the same token
- Teenagers should be more respectful; by the same token, parents should be more understanding.
In the same way
- Alex enjoys telling jokes; in the same way/similarly, his son adores funny stories.
- Correspondingly, the roles each of them played were soon different.
Common Additive Transition Words & Phrases in English
Order Transition Words
1. Function: To indicate the order of what is being said
- Firstly, I prefer the train because I can see the landscape
- Secondly, I have control over my luggage.
- Thirdly, it is better for the environment.
- Finally, I got an A in Math.
At this time
- At this time, the young man leapt into the air and flew off towards sunset.
- They arrived on Monday evening and we got there the following day.
- I had visited them three days previously.
- Your name is before mine on the list.
- Subsequently, new guidelines were issued to all employees.
2. Function: Transition words and phrases to mark the end of an ascending order
- Above all, keep in touch.
Lastly and most importantly
- Lastly, and most importantly, you should be optimistic.
Last but not least
- Last but not least, I find I seriously cannot relate to women.
3. Function: To mark the beginning of a descending order
First and foremost…
- We will continue to focus on our players first and foremost.
Conclusion Transition Words
Function: Transition words and phrases to sum up what has been previously stated.
Summary transition words list with examples:
- In conclusion, walking is a cheap, safe, enjoyable and readily available form of exercise.
- To summarise, this is a clever approach to a common problem.
- The food was good and we loved the music. Altogether it was a great evening.
- His novels belong to a great but vanished age. They are, in short, old-fashioned.
To sum up
- To sum up, there are three main ways of tackling the problem…
- In summary, this was a disappointing performance.
- Briefly, our team is now one of the best in the world.
- To conclude, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season.
Condition Transitional Words
Function: To provide a condition to what has been stated
Condition transitional words and transitional phrases examples:
- If anyone calls, tell them I’m not at home.
In that case
- I’ve made up my mind.’ ‘In that case, there’s no point discussing it.
- Take an umbrella in case it rains.
- Unless I’m mistaken, she was back at work yesterday.
Concession Transition Words
Function: Transitional words and transitional phrases to accept a point or idea with reservation
Concession transition words list with examples:
- Admittedly, it is rather expensive but you don’t need to use much.
All the same
- My parents treated us all the same when we were kids.
Up to a point
- Their plan worked up to a point.
- Even so, many old friends were shocked at the announcement.
In spite of
- In spite of the fact that he is rich, he lives in a small house.
- Although/ Even though he is rich, he lives in a small house.
- He is poor and has no house, but even if he had money, he wouldn’t buy a house.
- She has the window open, however cold it is outside.
Reason – Condition – Concession – Generalization Transition Words and Phrases
Generalization Transition Words
Function: Transition words and phrases to make a general statement
As a rule
- As a general rule vegetable oils are better for you than animal fats.
For the most part
- For the most part, there are two types of lyric generators.
In general/ Generally
- In general, Japanese cars are very reliable and breakdowns are rare.
On the whole
- On the whole, I think it is a good idea but I would still like to study it further.
- Overall, this is a very useful book.
In most cases
- In most cases they escape the attention of the wider public.
Restatement Transition Words
Function: Transitional words and transitional phrases to express an alternative to what has been previously stated
In other words
- In other words, the elephant is already dancing with the dragon.
To put it differently
- To put it differently, we use one ear to listen to one another, the other ear to listen to the water.
Reference Transition Words
- Speaking of your mother, we’d better go in so she doesn’t worry.
As for (this)
- I can’t teach that class today, I’m sick. As for the rest of the teachers, they are still on leave.
- You managed the project well, considering your inexperience.
- We’re exploring a variety of options regarding this issue.
The fact that
- There are exceptions, but the fact that information is held in confidence is not as such a sufficient reason for exemption.
With regards to (this)
- With regard to the bomb, I think we should only deploy it preemptively once we know the enemy intends to bomb us, as well.
Clarification Transition Words
That is (to say),
- Our friends, that is to say our son’s friends, will meet us at the airport.
- I mean, he’s a good teacher, but I just don’t like him.
In other words
- He was economical with the truth – in other words, he lied.
Transition Words and Phrases Chart
All transitional words and transitional phrases in one table.
Learn the quick list of linking words and phrases in English with picture.
Transition Words and Phrases | Video
Learn English transition words and phrases with pronunciation video lesson.
(Useful transition words and phrases in English).