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Blog How to Use ProWritingAid All About ProWritingAid's Transition Report

All About ProWritingAid's Transition Report

Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Published Apr 25, 2019

Imagine a road with no street signs. How would you follow the right route if you didn’t have a sign showing you which way to go?

  1. How Transitions Work
  2. How to Use the ProWritingAid Transition Report

How Transitions Work

Transition words are the road signs in writing. And great transitions help your reader follow your train of thought without becoming bogged down trying to discern your meaning. Words and phrases like “similarly”, “nevertheless”, “in order to”, “likewise,” or “as a result” show the relationships between your ideas and can help illustrate agreement, contrast or show cause and effect:

  • Mark avoided the campus dining hall where his ex-friends hung out. He didn’t like its food.
  • Mark avoided the campus dining hall where his ex-friends hung out. Equally important, he didn’t like its food.

In the second example, you understand that the two thoughts are both important and related. Mark is not just avoiding the dining hall because he doesn’t like the food; he is also avoiding the people who used to be his friends.

  • Kate thought her mother was over-reacting to her announcement. She waited two days after the first phone call to visit.
  • Kate thought her mother was over-reacting to her announcement. Because of this, she waited two days after the first phone call to visit.

The use of “Because of this” in the second sentence makes clear to the reader that the gap in time between the call and the visit was a direct result of the over-reaction.

  • The boy kicked the ball into the street. A speeding car came around the corner.
  • The boy kicked the ball into the street. At the same moment, a speeding car came around the corner.

Now we see the action in a wider lens: the ball goes into the street just as a car comes careening around the corner. The first illustration is short and choppy. It doesn’t flow well. The second sentence with a transition leads you smoothly between two related, but different thoughts.

How to Use the ProWritingAid Transition Report

The ProWritingAid Transition Report will scan your writing and give you a “transitions score”, which is based on the percentage of sentences that contain a transition. We recommend that you aim for a score of 25% or higher, which means that you use at least one transition word or phrase every four sentences.

Transition report

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Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

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This seems like this feature would be more useful for nonfiction than for fiction since the transition examples listed above would most likely pull readers out of the story.
I agree. Fiction uses other techniques for transitions that aren't assessed by this report.
I third!
Absolutely agree. I have 5 in 52 sentences and came here to learn more about 'transitions'.
Hey there! Thank you for the feedback! We have now removed this feature from the creative reports.
This feature is helpful writing my dissertation. This feature is making writing the dissertation a little bit easier.
In your very first example above you suggest a transition with an adverb. Your own software flags such words. I've tried removing my adverbs and used the verb form. But that creates a flag for PWA and also creates glue words. PWA hates phrases like "in order to" and "as a result." Which rule should I break and which is most important given my above problems. (Oh, and sorry for the word "very." :-) )
Adverbs aren't evil :) You decide what suits YOUR meaning best, and if the suggestion doesn't do the best job, just click the x. I can very much relate to your frustration though. Helps me to think of Prowritingaid as a tool for me to use, or an advisor and not my boss.
Thank you for your comments! Yes - this is the way ProWritingAid is intended to be used. Our app is meant to be an aid and not a strict rule-book. :)
It would be helpful if you referenced the reception studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the 25% transition word protocol.
When it's not used to announce that a list follows, the colon is a transition marker and spares us a plethora of becauses. A simple regex can identify the role of a colon. I suggest you include all non-listing colons in your transition count, and give the ratio of becauses to non-listing colons.
Is it possible to have too much transition? I was looking at 167% transition. Didn't know if that is overdosing, therefore, I'm here.
can you list all the n-word phrases you classify as transitions? and can the user disable such phrases that she/he considers untransitional?
I also think a list, or a more comprehensive guide for transitional phrases, is important for learning. A guide on how to balance the need for transitions with the reduction of glue words could also be a useful resource.
How can I have over 100% transitions?
The report would be more effective if the report included the transitions as a list. The feature would be useful for writing short stories where transitions are crucial to moving the reading through time and between locations.
I went through my document and changed the transitions to your recommendations. I scored lower on the revision than I did before hand. Can you suggest a complete list of transition phrases to either fool the AI or give me a higher transition score?
Hi there! Thanks for writing in about this! Would you mind reaching out to us at our support inbox so that we can take a closer look at this issue? Please send an email with a sample of your text to along with an explanation of what happened so that we can replicate the issue and offer a fix or advice! Thanks! :)
Using Transitions as you suggest (25%) would take the readability out of my SF novel. According to PWA, I scored 100% on my summary, yet, the transmissions in the two chapters I tested is (merely) 1.82%. I counted the transitions. There are more than the three (that) you indicated. Please look at this issue, as I believe transitions are important, but they do not have to be overdone. I haven't used PWA for several months, as I found it hard to get my head around. I was thinking of dumping the software. However, since you have updated/improved the program, I will gladly purchase a lifetime subscription when my one-year subscription is due. Hey, I sure would appreciate another 40% discount opportunity.
Hi there! Thanks for the feedback. We are always working to improve our software - we're glad you like the updates! Sign up for our newsletter to get info about discount opportunities - there are a lot of sales throughout the year!! :)
Do I try to get 25% transitions in my writing OR do I try to stay within the start of sentence structure % for published writers. It seems you can’t do both with PWA. Why aren’t’t transitions in the middle of sentences counted in the 25% score. Why are some transitions at the start of a sentence not recognised by PWA? E.g the next morning, after. I’m very confused by the software.
Hi there! It's really a personal choice between the two - I'm surprised that it's not possible to achieve both at once. As for your observation, our software is powerful but not infallible. If you find specific mistakes, we can fix them on our end, but if it's a general misunderstanding due to unusual context, you may just want to opt to ignore that suggestion and move on. If you have some specific examples that you'd like to share with us regarding transitions, please email us at Thanks again for leaving your comment! Your feedback is much appreciated. :)
The transition report doesn't seem to pickup on some common phrases. Is there something I'm missing to make this work?
Hi there! Thanks for mentioning this. Have you emailed our support team at From there, we'll be able to take a look at the specific phrases you are concerned about and can help you get the most out of the report! Looking forward to hearing from you. :)
Shouldn't you change the transition report when you specify creative writing? The number needs to be lower, not higher.
That is an interesting idea! Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are always looking to improve our program.
Yes, definitely, I got hit with the 10% - suggested 25% too, and I write creatively. Is this a setting elsewhere, and not in this particular check? I think I may pass for now on unless I find the setting outside of the real time.
ProWritingAid doesn't recognize the A to B, B to C, handoff as a transition, and I wonder if it should, depending on the editing algorithm chosen. For example, ProWritingAid attributes a zero transition score to the following: Often times, less is more for the number of instruments present in a recording. As in the Discovery part of the process, choose the few that define the core group of tracks as the basis for your song. Among the core, locate the rhythm and base chord/melody instruments that drive it. These become the backbone, the skeletal structure on which you paint the rest of the song. There are two specific sentences that give an example: "As in the Discovery part of the process, choose the few that define the core group of tracks as the basis for your song. Among the core, locate the rhythm and base chord/melody instruments that drive it." The phrase in the first is defining concept A: "choose the few that define the core ..." The first phrase in the second sentence becomes the handoff of the concept to begin the new concept, B: "Among the core ..." I'm curious as to why the ProWritingAid algorithm doesn't see this as a good transition. I might add, I could have written the second sentence so it wasn't a good handoff to Idea B. If I had chosen to move the subordinate clause behind ("Among the core" behind "locate the rhythm ..."), it might be viewed as a weaker handoff. Curious to your thoughts. And I could email this to but wanted your thoughts first if I should.
I think that the answer to your question is dependent on the context. We’re working to improve the software all the time. At the moment, the report is only programmed to recognize specific words and phrases as transitions. If you would like more information about this, then please drop an email to our support team and they will be happy to help you.
We're so glad this article was of help to you! :)
Not sure this is accurately assessing transitions, as it says I've used 0%. I know for certain I have used at least a few in my 80,000 word novel. In fact, I was worried that I might have too many, as I do aim to avoid overusing filter words or "glue words." In other words, I think this feature could use some work.
Hey there! Thank you for your comment. It's possible you've unknowingly disabled the transition report. If you send an email to, our team should be able to help you re-enable the report.
I started having issues recently with the transition report. I'm getting very low numbers (< 5%). This only started recently and I didn't have this issue before.
Hey there! Have you sent in an email to our support team at yet? We will be glad to help troubleshoot this for you!
Something is wrong with your Transition. And, I can't figure what I'm doing wrong.
Hey there! Thank you for your comment! Could you please send our support team an email at Please provide our team with as much information as possible in the email you send in. They should be able to help!
How to get the suggested rephrasing of sentence
Thank you for your comment! We are working on a Paraphrase report right now. While the Beta version of this has not yet been released to the entirety of ProWritingAid users just yet, we hope to release the final version in the near future. For help with paraphrasing in the meantime, you can check out our helpful article here:

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