Have you ever received comments from your instructor in middle school, high school or college like ‘jumpy’, ‘choppy’, ‘abrupt’, ‘how is this related’ on your papers? Have your readers (friends, classmates or instructors) told you that they had great difficulties with the flow or your writing? Do you tend to write the way you think – when your brain jumps from one idea to another pretty quickly? This all means you need to start working on transition words. Transition, though seems challenging at first, gets easier as soon as you realize many possible ways to use for different types of sentences. If you have troubles connecting your paragraphs, consider some of the top transitions given below as an example for inspiration.

What Is the Purpose of Transition Words for College Essays?

Whether it is synthesis essays or a cover letter to your resume, the aim of every paper is to convey information concisely and clearly. Transition words will help you to do this by creating logical connections between paragraphs and sentences. Single words, short phrases or even sentences, they tell the readers what to think about the information you present to them, how to organize it and react to the ideas. For example, they function like signs such as ‘Here is another statement – stay alert’ or ‘I know, this idea seems false, but here’s the real story’ or ‘A few quotes proving the previous statement coming up’. Generally, transition words provide guidance to the reader on how to puzzle your separate ideas into legit logically coherent arguments. They are not just for verbal decorations to make your paper read or sound better. They have a particular meaning that direct the reader what to think and how to react to your writing. Remember: if you provide these important clues in your paper, the readers will understand better how your ideas and statements fit together.

Handy Transition Words List for Essays

Transition words are often classified into several categories depending on the transition level you wish to make: for introduction, conclusion, example, clarification, etc. Usually, there are several words that can be used for one transition. Some mean just the same, others slightly differ in meaning. In case you are not a native English speaker, or you struggle with the English language in general, you will need to learn and practice these transitions. This is the only way to understand which one suits the best in this particular situation.

Type of transition


Cause and effectAs a result, therefore, consequently, so
ClarificationIn other words, that is to say, to clarify
ContrastOn the other hand, but, however, although
ExampleFor instance, for example
EmphasisAbove all, certainly, most importantly
EnumerationAnd, firstly/secondly, moreover, further, in addition
TimeAfter that, during, subsequently, meanwhile
SimilarityIn the same vein, likewise, similarly
Conclusion/summaryIn short, in conclusion, to sum up

What Are Transition Paragraph Words for Essays?

It goes without saying that every paragraph should have a logical relationship with the previous one. Using keywords or phrases from the ending of the previous paragraph at the beginning of the next one will make a natural transition. Such expressions also help readers to realize not only how particular paragraphs connect with each other, but also how they connect with the main point of the paper. Below we provide some examples of different types of paragraph transitions:

  • To express an addition: again, and, besides, finally, furthermore, equally important, first (second, third, etc.), lastly, in addition, moreover, in addition, first (second, third, etc.).
  • To express a comparison: however, yet, whereas, on the other hand, nevertheless, by comparison, on the contrary, although, in contrast, meanwhile.
  • To express an exception: yet, however, still, despite, of course, in spite of, once in a while.
  • To express time or a sequence: thereafter, immediately, later, finally, formerly, previously, next, first (second, third, etc.), and so forth, subsequently, consequently, hence, thus, therefore.
  • To express repetition: as has been noted, in brief, in essence, namely, in other words, that is to say, that is.
  • To express emphasis: indeed, in fact, undeniably, without a doubt, without reservation.
  • To give an example: for instance, for example, in another case, in this situation, on this occasion, to illustrate, to demonstrate.
  • To make a conclusion: to conclude, in brief, in conclusion, therefore, hence, thus, accordingly, consequently, as a result.
  • To provide cause or effect: as a result, accordingly, consequently, therefore, because, otherwise, thus.

What Are Good Transition Words for Essays?

Use transitional words strategically and make sure that the words or phrases you are choosing fit the logic of the connection you are emphasizing or the relationship you are making. All of these expressions have different connotations, meanings, and other nuances, so prior to using some transitional word for your writing, be sure you comprehend its usage and meaning completely, and be sure it is the best match for the logic of your paper.

Use transitional expressions sparingly as if you add too many of them, the readers may feel like you’re overexplaining things that are already entirely clear.