Use Transition Words for Seamless Writing

2 min read

Transition words are the glue that holds sentences together. They not only organize the structure of a sentence or paragraph, but also prevent writing from sounding jumpy or choppy.

For example:

Miguel woke up. He got ready for work. He took a hot shower. He got dressed in his new suit. He ate a balanced breakfast. Miguel had an excellent morning.

Now, read over the same paragraph using transition words:

Miguel woke up and got ready for work. First, he took a hot shower. Then, he got dressed in his new suit. Finally, he ate a balanced breakfast. All in all, Miguel had an excellent morning.

While there’s nothing technically wrong with the first paragraph, the second has more variety and interest. Using transition words helps each sentence flow more easily into the next. They allow the audience to understand the action better. A transitional phrase also wraps up the paragraph neatly at the end.

Most Common Types of Transition Words

Addition

This type of transitional phrase helps to increase ideas. Simple words such as “also,” “again,” and “too” and phrases like “in addition,” and “as well as” are perfect for connecting two or more sentences to make a larger point.

I’m going to the store for milk. Also, I’m buying bananas.

Niko will stay home. Moreover, he will do all the housework.

Residents enjoy the park trails as well as the pool.

Cause and Effect

Need to show the consequences of an action? Try transitional words such as “since,” “because,” “thus,” “hence,” or a phrase like “as a result.” These convey causation between two steps.

Since you’re such a hard worker, you’ll get a raise.

Felicity was married this morning. As a result, she’s very happy.

I’m sick. Therefore, I’m taking medicine.

Conclusion

All’s well that ends well. Phrases such as “in summary,” “ultimately,” and “after all” can help restate ideas and sum up the section of writing.

In summary, more people should exercise.

Given this information, we must act.

Ultimately, the company will benefit.

Contrast

Sometimes differences need to be pointed out. Words such as “but,” “however,” “unlike,” and “while” are easy ways to shine a light on contrasting ideas, as well as phrases like “on the contrary” and “then again.”

Joelle liked candy; however, she was allergic to licorice.

On the contrary, I enjoy rock music.

The story is about family. Then again, it also deals with individual choices.

Example

To support an idea, try using transitional words to add examples. Phrases including “such as,” especially,” or “for example” are all good ways to add emphasis or introduce evidence in the text.

I enjoy fruit, especially strawberries and bananas.

To demonstrate his love, Riley bought Taylor flowers.

Voters like the mayor. In fact, 70% approve of her job performance.

Space

Sometimes prepositions and prepositional phrases can be used as transitions to pin down an exact location or place. Some of the most basic directions of “here,” “there,” “above,” and “below,” as well as phrases like “in the middle” and “in the distance,” can help the reader know where in the world they’re supposed to be.

The dog is in the middle.

Navin’s bike is alongside the fence.

In the distance, you can see the trees.

Time

These transitional words and phrases can be related to space, but are slightly different in that they refer to when an event happens. Phrases including “before,” “once,” or “next” help define the time an event occurs in a sequence.

Before you go out, put the clothes in the dryer.

Once you finish dinner you can watch TV.

Ravi was able to work straight away.

Featured image credit: Oleksii Didok/ iStock

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