Good transition words for starting a paragraph include addition phrases like ‘furthermore’, cause and effect words like ‘consequently’, and contradiction words like ‘however’. Scroll down for a full table of transition words.
Using transition words in your writing can help you improve the readability and flow of your paragraph to the next.
These words help your text flow seamlessly into the next idea, which shows your readers the relationship between paragraphs and phrases.
What are Transition Words?
Transition words for beginning paragraphs help writers to introduce a shift, opposition, contrast, agreement, emphasis, purpose, result, or conclusion from what was previously written. They are essential in argumentative essays.
Transition words are like bridges between the different paragraphs in your pieces. They serve as the cues that help your reader understand your ideas. They carry your ideas from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next.
Transitional words and phrases link an idea from a sentence to the following paragraph, so your work is read smoothly without abrupt jumps or sudden breaks between concepts.
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Types of Transition Words for Starting a Paragraph
Transition words can fall into more than one category based on what type of transition in your paragraph you’re planning to make.
For example, you’d want a different transition word if your second paragraph contradicts your first than if it supports it. Take the following examples:
|Second body paragraph supports statement in the first body paragraph||Furthermore, What’s more, Similarly, Supporting evidence finds, Likewise.|
|Second body paragraph contradicts statement in the first body paragraph||However, Nevertheless, Contradictory evidence finds, Despite the above points.|
Here is a list of transition words and what category they fall under.
- Addition – A transition that combines two or more ideas and shows their relationship. Examples include, what’s more, equally important, again, also, and, furthermore, moreover, besides.
- Cause and Effect – When one idea triggers another. This lets the reader know that they are directly connected. Examples include, consequently, hence, therefore, thus, next, as a result.
- Clarification – This is to rephrase what was said to clarify a statement and provide emphasis. Examples include, in other words, that is to say, to clarify.
- Compare and Contrast – This shows a relationship between two ideas that are compared based on differences or similarities. Examples are, after all, although this may be true, in contrast, likewise, on the contrary, similarly, whereas, yet.
- Emphasis (Boosting) – This shows certainty. Examples include, emphatically, in fact, surprisingly, undeniably, in any case, indeed, never, without a doubt.
- Providing examples: For example, for instance, as illustrated by, take the following case in point.
- Exception or Contradiction – This happens when an action with a pre-conceived notion ends with a different action. Examples are, however, nevertheless, in spite of, of course, once in a while, despite.
- Summarize or conclude – This signals the reader that they are at the end of the paragraph. Examples are, as this essay has shown, as a result, In conclusion, therefore, thus, hence, in short, in brief.
- Sequential– This expresses a numerical sequence, conclusion, continuation, resumption, or summation. Examples are to change the topic, to conclude with, afterward, incidentally, by the way, initially.
List of Transition Words for New Paragraphs
|Type of Transition Word||Transition Word for Paragraphs Examples|
|Emphasis Boosting||Emphatically, In fact, Surprisingly, Undeniably, Without a doubt, Indeed, Of course, Surely, Undoubtedly, Without a doubt.|
|Addition||Furthermore, Moreover, Supporting the above points, Similar research has found, In fact (See more transition words for addition here).|
|Providing Evidence||To demonstrate, Evidence of this fact can be seen in, Proof of this point is found in, For instance, Compelling evidence shows, For a case in point, In fact, Notably, One study found, Supporting evidence shows. (See more transition words for evidence here).|
|Cause and Effect||Consequently, Hence, Therefore, Thus, As a result, accordingly, The consequence is.|
|Clarification||In other words, That is to say, To clarify, For example, More evidence can be found, Furthermore.|
|Compare and Contrast||However, However, Conversely, Despite this, In spite of the above statements, Nonetheless, Nevertheless, A contradictory argument, Regardless.|
|Summarize or Conclude||As this essay has shown, In conclusion, To summarize, The balance of evidence finds, The research compellingly indicates|
|Sequence and Order||Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Subsequently, Next, Afterwards, Later, Consequently.|
Transition Words to Avoid
I recommend avoiding the following transition words:
|As mentioned before||Your teacher may write: “If you mentioned this before, why are you saying it again?”|
|In conclusion,||This is a cliché transition word for beginning conclusion paragraphs. Instead, try using the callback method discussed in my 5 C Conclusion Formula.|
|In a nutshell, With that said||Too colloquial. Try using more formal language such as: “The weight of evidence finds…”|
|In my opinion, I feel like, In my experience||Many teachers don’t like first person language in essays. Use third person language and back claims up with academic research rather than personal opinion (except if it’s a reflective piece).|
|Generally, In general, As a general rule, By and large||Teachers like to pick at you if you talk in generalizations. Instead, hedge your statements by saying “Sometimes”, “Often”, or “The majority of” and back this up with references.|
Examples in Sentences
The best way to understand transition words is to provide examples. Let’s look at this sentence:
“Amy did not study for her test. Therefore, she did not get a good result.”
When you see the word ‘therefore,’ the reader knows that this is a cause and effect. What happened in the first sentence caused a resulting action.
The transition word provided a seamless flow into the next sentence that describes this effect.
Using the transitional word, ‘therefore,’ shows that the two sentences are part of one idea/process. Even with skimming, the reader can guess what’s the resulting action. This is how transition words hold your ideas together. Without them, it’s like your piece is just a jumble of coherent words.
Transition words don’t have to be placed at the start of a sentence. Let’s look at this sentence:
“Many people came to the event. Cristine, Emily, and David, for instance.”
In this sentence, ‘for instance’ is at the end of the sentence. However, it still gives the reader the necessary information to see how the two sentences are linked.
Why use Transition Words
Proper communication of your ideas through paragraphs is important in writing. In order for your reader to read your piece with a thorough understanding of each idea and point conveyed in the piece, you have to use transition words and phrases.
With the examples provided, you would see that transitions string together your ideas by establishing a clear connection between the sentences and paragraphs.
Without transition words, your work may seem daunting and stressful to read, and the reader will not understand the idea you’re trying to convey.
Transitional phrases are especially important when writing an essay or thesis statement, as each paragraph has to connect ideas effortlessly.
Therefore, when a paragraph ends, the next idea must have some link to the previous one, which is why transition words play an important role.
Where Else to use Transition Words in an Essay
Transition words are important English devices for essays and papers. They enhance the transitions and connections between the sentences and paragraphs, giving your essay a flowing structure and logical thought.
Transition terms may seem easy to remember; however, placing them in the incorrect manner can cause your essay to fall flat.
Here are some places where essays transition words may fit:
- To show a connection between evidence and the ending
- To flow into the next paragraph, use your closing statement at the conclusion of each one
- At the start of the first body paragraph
- At the start of the second body paragraph
- In some of the starting sections of your summary or introductory paragraphs
- In an overview of your opinions/solutions in the conclusion
When adding your transition words and phrases in your essay, make sure not to accidentally form an incomplete or fragmented sentence. This is common with transitions, such as, if, although, and since.
While transition words are important in any writing piece, you have to make sure that the word or phrase you choose matches the logic of the paragraph or point you’re making. Use these words and phrases in moderation, as too much of them can also heavily bring the quality of your work down.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]