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Transition words and phrases create links between ideas. Adding transitions to your work can help your reader better understand connections in your writing. Examples of transition words include however, certainly, in conclusion, similarly, and more.
Your transition usage score tells whether or not you've used transitions effectively in your academic writing. We calculate your transition usage score by dividing the number of detected transitions in your writing by the number of sentences in your writing.
To make your writing most effective, you should have transition words or phases at the beginning of at least 25% of your sentences.
What is a Transition?
A transition is a word or group of words that signifies a shift in meaning.
When well-placed, transition words can help maintain word flow across a shift in meaning or tone from one sentence or paragraph to another. Transitions often make clear to the reader the relationship between what was just said and what is about to be said.
- Sales numbers have been lower than expected this year. In order to get on track, we’ll be hiring a sales consultant.
- Poncho is a very gentle horse. However, he’s liable to bite your fingers off if you’re not careful while feeding him carrots.
It’s important to consider the literal meaning of a transition word or phrase as you use it. “However,” for example, should introduce a caveat or counterpoint that draws a contrast with the preceding text in some way, while “Likewise” introduces similarities. “Specifically” ought to introduce greater detail to the preceding text, while “More generally” segues the text into a broader view of the topic.
Types of Transitions
Transition words and phrases fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Cause & Effect
- Addition & Enumeration
Here are some examples of different types of transitions:
Cause & Effect
Causal transitions show the relationship between cause and effect, where the previous sentence or paragraph illustrated cause, and the text that follows will show the related outcome.
Examples: Accordingly, Consequently, For this reason, Hence, Therefore, Thus
Purpose transitions introduce the speaker’s intent—what they plan to do—in light of the previous statements.
Examples: For this purpose, In order to do this, To this end, With this in mind
Concession transition words can be used to introduce text that admits a truth, or acknowledges a counterpoint to previous text.
Examples: At any rate, At least
These transitions are used to stress the importance of forthcoming text and strengthen the speaker’s point. Many of these words achieve this by declaring a truth to be self-evident.
Examples: Above all, Certainly, Clearly, Indeed, In fact, In short, Obviously, Of course
These transitions introduce a final point, or a succinct summary of relevant information.
Examples: In conclusion, In sum, On the whole, To summarize
Similarity transitions links concepts that share something in common, in order to establish said commonality.
Examples: Likewise, Similarly
Time transitions are like the strictly temporal version of location transitions. While some location transitions may indicate time (which is often treated as a physical place in English grammar), time transitions just deal with chronology or frequency.
Examples: Afterward, At the same time, Before, Earlier, Eventually, In the meantime, Sometimes, Later, Next, Preceding this, Simultaneously, Soon
Addition & Enumeration
Addition & Enumeration transitions serve to reiterate, break down, or provide further support to an idea. They also might introduce specificity—a closer look at the material just discussed.
Examples: Again, Also, Apparently, Besides, Equally important, Finally, First, Second, Further, In addition, Moreover, Especially, In particular, In regard to, Namely, Specifically, To enumerate
These transitions are used to introduce text that stands in contrast with the preceding text (for positive comparison, see “Similarity” transitions above).
Examples: However, In contrast, In relation to, Nevertheless, On the other hand, Still
Include more transitions in your writing to create links in your writing.