A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices.
Contributors:Ryan Weber, Karl Stolley
Last Edited: 2011-02-02 04:32:35
Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.
There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.
Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way.
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)
whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true
because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To Show Exception:
yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes
To Show Time:
immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then
in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted
definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation
To Show Sequence:
first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon
To Give an Example:
for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate
To Summarize or Conclude:
in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently
Anyone who has ever received criticism about a written assignment has quite possibly been told to use more transition words, which is where this list of transition words come in handy.
List of Transition Words
While you do not want your paper or other written piece to sound like a long string of transition words, consider adding some of these suggestions when appropriate in order to spice up your work and to make the sections flow more smoothly from one to another.
What follows is a list of transition words which you might want to use in your writing from time to time. Note that some of them are phrases and not singular words.
- In addition to
- As a result
- So then
- For the most part
- As a rule
- In particular
- For instance
- Such as
- For example
- As an example
- In this case
- Above all
- Coupled with
- Compared to
- In comparison to
- Together with
- In brief
- In short
- In conclusion
- In the meantime
- In the meanwhile
- In summary
- To summarize
- By the way
- As a result of
- Over there
- In the distance
- To the left
- To the right
Purpose of Transition Words
Transition words help a written piece to flow more smoothly. Without these types of words, your writing will become choppy. However, sometimes, when a writer is advised to use a new type of device in his or her writing, that person will tend to start sprinkling it in everywhere. Transition words should really fall very naturally throughout a composition.
Let's take a look at examples of sentences without a transition words, and then add a transition word in. You will be able to see how they work with the written word. The first example in each set is lacking a transition word, and the second example in each set has one added.
- Carla spent a long day working at school and then cooked dinner for her family. She needed a large cup of coffee.
Carla spent a long day working at school and then cooked dinner for her family. Therefore, she needed a large cup of coffee.
- Jeffrey will be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. Fill up the car with gas please.
Jeffrey will be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. In the meanwhile, fill up the car with gas please.
- The trip through the desert was extremely tiring for the crew. Then they saw civilization.
The trip through the desert was extremely tiring for the crew. Then, in the distance, they saw civilization.
- Paul did not run for the ice cream truck with the other children. He doesn't like ice cream.
Paul did not run for the ice cream truck with the other children, because he doesn't like ice cream.
After you read these senetences over a few times, you will see how adding in a transition makes the written word flow better.