Transition Words and Phrases

Transitional Words and Phrases

Transitional words and phrases are used to guide the reader through the text.

You’ve probably seen a lot of these common transitional words and phrases before, but you may not have thought about what their operation is—what their purpose is in the paper. So let’s look at different ways the transitions can be used.

Indicating Time

You can have transitions that show time information. For instance, after, before, during, and in the middle of all tell you when in time something is happening.

Indicating Examples

You can also have transitions that indicate an example that is about to be given: for example, in fact, and for instance. If you say something, if you state your main idea, and then you want to give a supporting example, you can say “in fact let me tell you this thing.” “For example, dogs make good pets because they are very loyal.” These phrases let you know that an example is coming.

Comparing and Contrasting

Transitions can be used for comparing (also, likewise). You’re saying how two things are alike. “This is also like this.” “Likewise, we can look at how dogs are good companions.” You can also use them for contrasting, saying how two things are different (however, but, yet). You would like a dog for a pet because they are so companionable, but a cat is not going to be as affectionate. They won’t make as good of a companion as the dog.

Indicating Additional Information

Transitions can be used to suggest additions to let you know that more is coming (and, also, furthermore).

Reflecting Logical Relationships

You can have transitions that reflect logical relationships: if, then, therefore, as a result, and since. If I go to bed late, I might be tired in the morning. “I went to bed late, therefore, I was tired in the morning.”

Steps in a Process

And our last example for transitional words and phrases are steps in a process. “First, you’ll gather up all your ingredients. Second, you’ll mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Last, you’ll take the cake out of the oven.” So these steps are telling you exactly what’s happening. They may throw in next or after that—they may not want to just put numbered all the time. Last isn’t telling you the tenth step, it just uses the transitional word, but it still is giving you an idea of what step that is in the process.

So, make sure you use your transitional words and phrases where they will orient your reader and illuminate the structure of your composition. You want to let your readers know where they are in your paper.

If you’re writing a contrast and comparison essay, the comparing and contrast transitional words are going to help highlight that that’s what type of essay you’re writing. If you’re writing a persuasive essay, you might see a lot of examples. If you’re writing an instructional essay, you might see a lot of steps in a process. If you’re writing an informational essay, you may have some logical relationships.

So using these transitional words and phrases you can help your reader know what the purpose of your writing was. So, please always use transitional words and phrases in your writing because you want to guide your reader through the text and let them know what your purpose is.


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: August 2, 2023