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Transition Words and Expressions | List

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Advanced Level

Writers use transition words to connect ideas and show how the ideas are related. For example, in the sentences below, Ideas A, B, and C are connected while the transition words or phrases show the relationships between them:

IDEA A: I was very tired.

IDEA B: I had a test the next day.

IDEA C: I stayed up until 4 a.m.

Sentence 1:

I was very tired; however, I had a test the next day. Therefore, I stay up until 4 a.m.

Sentence 2:

I had a test the next day, so I stayed up until 4 a.m. even though I was very tired.

Sentence 3:

Despite being very tired, I had a test the next day. Consequently, I stayed up until 4 a.m.

Types of Relatinships

Transition words and phrases show different types of logical relationships between ideas. It is important to know what the relationships are so that you can write coherent sentences. As a reader, your role is to interpret the writer’s intended meaning given the transitions the writer chose to use.

because (of)

in fact

in order to

in view of

for the purpose of

given that

so that

Examples

They had to shut down the restaurant because of the high number of health code violations.

They had to shut down the restaurant in view of the high number of health code violations.

We will continue this meeting at a later date given that we need to gather additional information before we can vote on a solution.

We need more time so that we can gather more information before voting on the issue.

accordingly

as a result

consequently

due to

for this reason

hence

then

therefore

Examples

As a result of the fire, they had to cancel the event.

None of his students passed the exam; as a result, he had to give them a makeup exam.

It had not rained 4 months; consequently, the governor ordered strict water conservation measures.

Due to the severe drought, the governor ordered strict water conservation measures.

The pilot test was a complete success; therefore, the managers decided to go ahead with the implementation of their plans.

above all

absolutely

chiefly

clearly

definitely

especially

indeed

in particular

it should be noted that

particularly

surprisingly/unsurprisingly

undoubtely

unquestionably

without a doubt

Examples

(emphasizing a recommendation among others)
... In particular, students should focus on the content of their essays.

(emphasizing an important item among others)
... Above all, attention to detail is very important for this job.

(emphasizing an interest among others)
... I am especially interested in history and geography.

These transition words or transitional phrases are used to add information.

also

as well as

besides

further

furthermore

in addition / an additional / additionally

moreover

first, ... second(ly), ... third(ly), ... finally

Examples

In addition to his lack of enthusiam for the subject, he dropped the course course because he had no time to study.

I do not have a dog because I do not have time to take care of it. Moreover, sometimes it is difficult to find an apartment that allows pets these days.

I enjoyed reading this book because the author is an excellent writer. Furthermore, I could relate to what the characters went through.

for example

for instance

namely

specifically

such as

to clarify

to demonstrate

to simplify

Examples

He had several difficulties adapting to the new job. For example, he felt that his coworkers did not understand his ideas. In addition, he thought they were unwilling to include him in decisions. Finally, his supervisor often asked him to meet unrealistic deadlines.

In the above example, note that finally can also be used for adding items to a list; in this case, however, it is adding a final example of difficulties.

alike

as with

both / both ... and

equally

just as ... / so too...

just as / just like

likewise

similarly

Examples

People waste a lot of food because they do not know how to use all parts of plants and animals. Similarly, they are unsure about how long leftover food is still good to eat, so they just throw it out.

Human beings’ need for daily routines is important for their mental health; so too is the need for socializaiton.

alternatively

contrary to

conversely

despite

however,

in contrast

in spite of

instead

nevertheless

nonetheless

notwithstanding

on the other hand

rather

though

unlike

whereas

yet

Examples

Professor Ecks spent several hours explaning the solution to the problem. Yet, students were still unable to understand it.

Unlike other animals, human beings have a keen ability to analyze and solve abstract problems.

People expected the legislation to pass easily. Nevertheless, Congress failed to come to an agreement.

The company offered great incentives for employees to work overtime ; nontheless, few employees were willing to do so.

You can just complain about how difficult and time-consuming the assignment was. On the other hand, you can use it as an opportunity to learn about your strengths and weaknesses.

after that

fist(ly)..., second(ly), ... third(ly), ... finally

in the first place

lastly

next

subsequently

alogether

as shown (above)

as you can see

in conclusion

in short

in sum

in summary

therefore

to sum up

Examples

(after presenting information) ... As you can see, the above information demonstrate that...

(at the end of an explanation) ... To conclude, it is clear that the process is very complex and...

even if

if

if... then

in the event that

lest

on the condition that

only if

provided that

since

unless

when / whenever

Examples

You can have extra time to complete an assignment provided that you can present a valid reason.

You can skip this step only if the previous result was less than zero. If so, go to step 4.

You must go to the office in person unless your manager authorized you to work from home.

The following examples of transition words or expressions are used to express concession, that is, an opposing or contrary view.

albeit

althouth / even though

despite / in spite of

yet

nevertheless

nonetheless

regardless

Examples

This may seem like the only logical choice in this situation. Nonetheless, there are other options.

Despite all the evidence in the scientific literature, our experiment yielded contradicting results.

The CDC recommends the use of face masks to protect yourself and others from viral transmission. Nonetheless, they do not specify which type of masks is most effective.

When expressing a generalization, the writer is showing that a statement is a broad, rather than specfic, inference from facts, statistics, or similar information.

as a rule

broadly speaking

commonly

in generall / generally

in many cases / in most cases

mainly

often

on the whole

predominantly

typically

usually

Examples

In general, Americans do not know how the congressional legislative process works. Many Americans do know how it works.)

Typically, it takes about an hour to complete this test. (Some students may need more time.)

People look forward to taking time off from work on Labor Day. In many cases, people use that time to work from home and catch up on late projects.

When describing a space or location, some transitions clarify spatial relatinships.

prepositions such as above, below, next to, beside, opposite, and so on

at right/ at left

nearby

surrounding

to the right (of) / to the left (of)

Where to place transitions

Transitions can be used betwee concepts, within sentences, or betwen sentences. They can also be used to connect two paragraphs so that the relationship is clear between the main idea of a paragraph and the next.

Related Lesson

See Transition Words for a list of transition words.
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