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Transition Words: What are they and how to use them

Transition Words: What are they and how to use them

Just as nails keep the walls and roof connected, transition words link your sentences and paragraphs, making your writing organised and easy to follow. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what transition words are and how you can use them to give your writing a smooth flow.

What are transition words

Transition words are like the glue that holds a piece of writing together. They're words or phrases that help connect ideas and make your writing flow.

Think of them as road signs for your readers, guiding them through your writing. Whether it’s an essay, a story, or even just a paragraph, transition words help you move from one thought to the next, showing relationships like cause and effect, contrast, or sequence.

Some common examples include ‘however’, ‘therefore’, ‘in addition’, and ‘for example’. 

Along with transition sentences, transition words can make your writing clearer and more coherent, ensuring that your readers can follow your ideas effortlessly.

Types of transition words and how to use them

Just as a carpenter uses different tools for different tasks, writers need different transition words to connect ideas.

Imagine you're building a piece of furniture. You wouldn't use a hammer to sew pieces together or a needle to drive in a nail. By using the right type of transition words, you’re saving your readers some headache by making your sentences clear and understandable.

Let’s take a closer look.

Additive transition words

Additive transitions are the most common type of transition word. They’re used to expand on previous ideas, introduce new information, or to emphasise a point. Additive transition words are generally categorised into the following:

Function Additive Transition Words Examples
Addition Furthermore Furthermore, we have exciting news to share.
Introduction For instance

I have a passion for photography and enjoy capturing various subjects in my photos. For instance, I recently photographed a breathtaking sunset over the ocean.

Reference Considering I had a busy day with classes and errands, but considering my upcoming vacation, I managed to stay motivated and get everything done.
Similarity Similarly Cars must stop at red lights. Similarly, motorcycles have to stop too.
Clarification Namely When it comes to pizza toppings, I have a few favorites, namely pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra cheese.

Common Additive Transition words


  • Indeed
  • Furthermore
  • Moreover
  • Additionally


  • Particularly
  • Especially
  • Significantly
  • Notably


  • Considering
  • Regarding
  • Concerning


  • Similarly
  • Equally
  • Likewise
  • In the same way


  • Namely
  • Specifically
  • In other words

Adversative transition words

Adversative transition words are used to indicate contrast, opposition, or conflict between ideas. They help highlight differences, contradictions, or unexpected shifts in your writing, allowing readers to understand the relationship between opposing or contrasting ideas. 

Adversative transition words are useful for showing the complexity of a topic or for presenting counterarguments. Adversative transition words are generally categorised into the following:

Conflict However I was looking forward to the beach day; however, the unexpected thunderstorm forced us to change our plans and stay indoors.
Concession Although Although he studied diligently for the exam, he didn't perform as well as he had hoped
Dismissal Regardless He decided to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, regardless of the challenges and uncertainties that lay ahead.
Emphasis Indeed Doctors said that reducing sugar intake would be good for her. Indeed, she's never been healthier.
Replacement Instead Instead of going to the party, she decided to spend a quiet evening at home.

Common Adversative Transition words


  • But
  • However
  • While
  • On the other hand


  • Nevertheless
  • Even though
  • Despite
  • Regardless (of x)


  • Either way
  • In any case
  • Regardless
  • Whatever the case


  • Above all
  • Indeed
  • More importantly
  • Most importantly


  • Rather
  • Instead
  • Even
  • If not

Causal Transition words

Causal transition words, also known as cause-and-effect transition words, are used to indicate relationships between actions, events, or ideas that demonstrate cause and effect. 

These words help connect the reasons (causes) behind certain outcomes (effects) in their writing, making it easier for readers to understand how one thing leads to another. Causal Transition words are generally categorised into the following:

Function Casual Transition Words Examples
Consequence Because She didn't study for the exam, because she was feeling unwell
  As a result The heavy rain caused flooding in the city, as a result, schools were closed.

He missed his flight, consequently, he had to reschedule his business meeting.

Condition Since

Since it was raining heavily, they decided to stay indoors.

  Given that Given that he had little experience, he performed remarkably well in the competition.
Purpose So that She worked hard so that she could save money for her vacation.
  In order to

He exercised regularly in order to improve his health.

  For the purpose of They conducted the survey for the purpose of gathering customer feedback.

Common Causal Transition words


  • Therefore
  • Because
  • Accordingly
  • Thus


  • Unless
  • Otherwise
  • Given that
  • As long as


  • In order to
  • So as to
  • To ensure (that)
  • So that

Sequential Transition words

Sequential transition words are used to indicate a sequence or order of events, ideas, or steps in writing. You can use them to guide readers through a series of related points or actions.

Sequential transition words are useful for creating a logical and coherent structure in narratives, instructions, process descriptions, or any writing where the order of events is essential. Sequential transition words are generally catergorised into the following:

Function Sequential Transition Words Examples
Enumeration First, second, third

First, we gathered the materials. Second, we started assembling. Third, we tested the prototype.

Initiation Initially

Initially, I had no idea how to use the instrument. 

Continuation Then, next, afterwards We planted the seeds, then we watered them. Next, we waited for them to sprout. Afterwards, we transplanted them into the garden.
Conclusion Eventually We tried various recipes, but eventually, we settled on the one Mark suggested.
Resumption Meanwhile

He stepped out for a quick break. Meanwhile, his colleagues continued the meeting.

Summation In summary

In summary, our road trip included visits to five different cities.

Common Sequential Transition words


  • First, second, third


  • In the first place
  • Initially
  • First of all
  • To begin with


  • Previously
  • Subsequently
  • Afterwards
  • Eventually


  • Last but not least
  • At last
  • Finally
  • Lastly
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