Grammar 11 min read

Transition Words: Examples, List, and How to Use Them Effectively

Main Transition Words Takeaways:

  • Transitional words are important because they help improve the flow between words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.
  • They are important for SEO because they help make text easier to read and understand. Search engines and readers love content that is readable.
  • Transition words help link ideas and statements.
  • Using transitional words at the beginning or end of a paragraph can help the reader understand when you introduce a new topic.
  • The four types of transition words are additive, adversative, causal, and sequential.
  • Transition words and phrases don’t affect the grammatical structure of sentences and paragraphs.

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What Are Transition Words?

As a writer, your primary goal is to present information and ideas to your target audience in a clear and understandable manner. The best way to do that is to use transition words. Transition words or transitional words are terms and phrases that help connect words, phrases, and even sentences together. They build connections between ideas in your content.

Transition words and phrases ensure that your written work will not look choppy and disjointed. They help your audience progress from one idea to the next. Think of them as a way to tell your readers how they should process and understand the information you are giving them. Transition words function like GPS, guiding your readers where they are going and how to get there.

Transition words are used to ensure that ideas flow seamlessly within a piece of content.
The primary purpose of transition words is to ensure that your ideas flow seamlessly within your content.

What Are Some Examples Of Transition Words and Phrases?

Here are some of the most common examples of transition words and phrases:

Not to mention
Equally important
As a matter of fact
Not only/But Also
In addition
In fact
For example
What is more

In particular
On the other hand
When in fact
But even so
Whatever happens
In any case
Because of
Due to

In the event that
With this in mind
To conclude
By the way
To return to the subject
As has been mentioned
Given these points

Transition words are categorized based on their purpose. For instance, transition phrases like as a result of, due to, and as long as are used to emphasize cause and effect. Below are more examples of transition expressions that have been categorized based on their functions:

Cause and Effect

granted that
as long as
for the purpose of
in order to
in view of
as a result of
due to
because
therefore
consequently
so
accordingly
thus
hence
Since
for
owing to
as a consequence of
leads to
contributes of
stems from
comes from
results from

Evidence

as well as
and
too
also
in addition to
or
not only… but also
further
furthermore
besides
in addition
moreover
then
again
finally
by the same token
identically
uniquely
certainly
truly
including
to be sure
namely
chiefly

Contrast

however
on the other hand
otherwise
but
unlike
conversely
in spite of
at the same time
nevertheless
alternatively
on the contrary
yet
whereas
apart from
even so
although
while

Comparison

as
as if
similarly
equally
like
in the same way
comparable
as with
of contrast
despite this
in comparison
in contrast
even though
likewise
in like manner

Opinion

I feel
I believe
in my opinion
as fast as I know
in my experience
as for me, I think
if I’m not mistaken
I think
in my view
it seems likely
it seems to me
what I mean is
i’d say that

Similarity

moreover
as well as
together
of course
likewise
comparatively
correspondingly
similarly
furthermore
additionally

Clarification

that is to say
in other words
to clarify
that is
to explain
to put it another way
to rephrase it
in this case
I mean
up to a point
under certain circumstance

Sequence/ Order

first
second
next
finally
at this time
following
previously
before
prior to
before

Time

later
after
before
soon
meanwhile
during
subsequently
after that
at the present time
sooner or later
in due time
as long as
in the meantime
in a moment
at this instant
from time to time

Condition / Purpose

provided that
given that
in case
even if
only if
so as to
in as much as
when
whenever
if… then
unless
because of
as
while
lest
since

Emphasis

also
especially
furthermore
indeed
in addition
in particular
certainly
of course
significantly
notably
in fact
actually
in reality
as it happens

Conclusion

in conclusion
to conclude
finally
summarizing
overall
on the whole
to sum up
evidently
briefly
in short
altogether
in summary
to summarize

Place

here
there
over there
under
beyond
to the left
opposite
in the distance

Illustration

such as
in this case
for one thing
for example
in the case of
illustrated by
as an example
for instance
in other words
as revealed by
an instance
to show that

Reservation

admittedly
even so
as a matter of fact
indeed
nevertheless
even though
despite this
notwithstanding
regardless

Transition words ensure the seamless flow of ideas in your content.
Transition words ensure the seamless flow of ideas in your content.

What Are Some Examples of Transition Sentences?

The best way to understand how transitional words work is to see them in action. Remember, as important as these grammatical tools are, it’s not a good idea to overuse them. Too many transitional phrases can make your text seem complicated and wordy. It could also make you seem like a chronic overexplainer, and nobody wins when that happens.

You can use transitions to go from sentence to sentence:

I fell off my bike. As a result, I have a terrible bruise.
I hate chocolate ice cream. Furthermore, I don’t think strawberry is very good either.
Mary didn’t want to go to prom. Instead, she threw a house party and invited all her friends.

You can also use transition words and phrases to go from paragraph to paragraph:

A career in e-commerce can be exciting and lucrative. With the right foundation and planning, you can make lots of money selling online. At the same time, investing in e-commerce can be risky. The key to success is plenty of preparation and research.

What Are the Four Types of Transition Words?

There are a lot of different ways to categorize transition words. In this post, we will discuss the four main types of transition words: Additive, Adversative, Causal, and Sequential.

1. What are Additive Transitions?

These transition words add or introduce another idea. They may also reference a previously mentioned concept, identify a similarity, or clarify an idea. Additive transitional words include:

Also, And, Furthermore, Regarding, Similarly, Namely, Thus

2. What are Adversative Transitions?

Adversative transitions may be used to signal opposing ideas or dismiss a previously discussed idea altogether. Some adversative transition words include:

But, However, Conversely, Still, Besides, Although, Albeit, Admittedly, Instead, Rather

3. What are Causal Transitions?

As for causal transitions, they’re most commonly used to denote cause and effect. They may also indicate the reason an idea or action is happening or has happened. Causal transition words include:

For, Since, If, Unless, Hence, So, Then
Transition words give your work direction
Transition words give your work direction

4. What are Sequential Transitions?

As the name suggests, sequential transitions are used to put a sequence of ideas in order (usually chronological). This helps the reader understand where ideas fall in a list or when you’re wrapping up your text. Sequential transitions include:

Initially, Secondly, Thirdly, Subsequently, Previously, Eventually, Finally, Incidentally, Briefly, Overall, Hence, Altogether

Are Conjunctions Considered Transition Words?

While conjunctions and transitions share the same purpose — to connect ideas between or within sentences — they are not used the same way. You must not confuse conjunctions with transitional words or expressions. Conjunctions connect phrases and clauses, whereas transitions indicate the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. Check the following examples:

Subordinating conjunctions connecting dependent clauses with independent clauses:

The school is far, and Joe needs to walk for hours.
She couldn’t stay, for the area was dangerous.
I like green tea, but I am not too fond of black tea.

Read More: The Easiest Way To Get Subordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connecting two independent clauses:

John is working here, for he loves the people and the environment.
Katie wakes up early, and she will never be late.
I was not feeling well, so I didn’t report to work.

Transition words connecting sentences and paragraphs:

Linda’s car got stuck in heavy traffic. As a result, her son has to take the bus to get home.
It was a long and tiring journey; but, once we got there, we were able to get some much-needed rest.
“When you see the word “was,” we’re most likely talking about something that previously occurred.

Specifically, “was” indicates that the first and third singular person points of view acted in the past. For this reason, we use “was” with the indicative mood.”

Another significant difference between transitions and conjunctions is their grammatical functions. Since conjunctions join clauses, they become part of the sentence and affect it grammatically. On the other hand, transition words have no impact on the grammatical structure of a sentence or paragraph. In short, you can remove a transition word, and it won’t have any impact on the sentence at all. Check the examples below:

Jake used to play basketball, but was injured last year.
Jake used to play basketball was injured last year.
My mom was supposed to go to my aunt’s house last night. However, she decided to postpone her travel plans because of the bad weather.
My mom was supposed to go to my aunt’s house last night. She decided to postpone her travel plans because of the bad weather.
Transition words help you switch smoothly between ideas. Seamlessly like the changing of seasons
Transition words help you switch smoothly between ideas. Seamlessly like the changing of seasons.

Do Commas Go Before Or After Transition Words?

The placement of commas when using transition words will depend on where the latter appears in your text.

If your transition phrase appears at the beginning of the sentence, it is always set off with a comma.
However, the doctor came just in time for the operation.
To clarify, transition words and conjunctions are the same.
If the transition word or phrase appears within an independent clause, it should be preceded by and set off with a comma.
Many of the attendees, on the other hand, have paid months in advance to watch the show today.
His initial findings, for example, are not conclusive.
If the transitional word appears between two independent clauses in a compound sentence, it should be preceded by a semicolon and set off with a comma.
The performers were excellent and entertaining; still, the entire concert was disappointing.
I wanted to go to work yesterday; but, I was not feeling well.

How Are Transition Words Used in SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process that involves optimizing your content for search engines to help improve ranking. The higher you are in search results, the more visibility your content will have. The more visible your content, the more people will see and learn about your brand.

Unlike keywords or meta tags, transitions between sentences or paragraphs don’t directly help boost your search ranking. Instead, it’s all about readability and structure.

See, Google runs on algorithms and those algorithms are big fans of order and ease of use. In other words, clarity is everything.

In the olden days (you know, like the 2010s), Google was like a heat-seeking missile for keywords. Basically, the more keywords you could stuff in your copy, the better you’d rank. That led to a lot of web pages that said something like, “buckets buckets buy some buckets buckets for sale the best buckets.”

What are they selling? You guessed it: buckets!

Google (and the rest of the world) soon realized the keyword stuffing wasn’t really good for anyone. Instead, search engines began focusing on how web pages could best serve the reader. Now, algorithms analyze web content for readability, and transition words play a huge role in that determination.

Still confused about transition words? Here's an INK visual guide to help you remember.
Still confused about transition words? Here’s an INK visual guide to help you remember.

Transition Words Give Direction

Transition words also help you structure your content. Remember our road map? Transitional words can act as street signs, pointing readers left or right, directing them to take a U-turn, or propelling them onward.

Bottom line: Transition words make your content easier to read and understand. For this reason, it’s vital to rely not only on helpful tools but also on your own mind. If it reads well to you, it’ll likely read well to your audience.

Transition To a Closing

Finally, you can use transitions to introduce a new section or conclude your previous one—or wrap up the entire text. You may even use a transition to reinforce the general idea of your content before ending your piece:

Lastly, put the cake in the oven to cook.
Overall, the majority of people agree that the sky is blue, grass is green, and pineapple on pizza is delicious.
In conclusion, transitional phrases are an important part of mastering proper grammar and making your text easy to read.

Quick Transition Words Grammar Quiz

Transition Words Question #1

Which type of transition signals opposing ideas?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The correct answer is letter C. Adversative transition words may be used to signal opposing ideas or dismiss a previously discussed idea altogether. (E.g., but, however, conversely, still, and besides)

Causal Transition Question #2

What's an example of a causal transition word?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The correct answer is letter B. Consequently along with words like for, since, unless, as a result, and hence are all causal transition words. (E.g., "Flexible workers often find themselves in great demand, and consequently, earn high wages.")

Transition Words in SEO Question #3

Why are transition words important to SEO?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The correct answer is letter B. Transition words help improve the flow of ideas within a piece of content, making it more readable and easy to understand. Content with a high readability score can boost your SEO.

Transition Words Quiz Result
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Read More: How to use a question mark (?)

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Pam Weber

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, Writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

Comments (3)
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    Rahim Serat November 21 at 5:48 am GMT

    Thank you Krista for you hard work. This is tremendously helpful.

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    Rebecca Ross February 13 at 4:52 pm GMT

    Fantastic list and help! thank you!

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      Rechelle Ann Fuertes March 16 at 12:18 pm GMT

      Hello Rebecca!
      Thank you for the positive feedback. Did you try the quiz? How was it? Again, thank you for stopping by and reading!

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