8 Types of Transition Words and How to Use Them

Updated March 20, 2023
Definition of transition words with examples from the article.
    List of transition words
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Transition words help you move from one topic to the next. Some transition words connect two ideas, while others emphasize the importance of what you’re about to write. 

However (there’s a transition word right there!), using transition words too often or improperly can make your writing less convincing to a reader. So how do you best use transition words in essays or other types of writing?

8 Different Transition Word Lists

Transition words are also known as conjunctive adverbs because they modify the meaning of a sentence while connecting it to other ideas.

They can connect similar concepts, examples of your thesis (main idea), or even opposing arguments in the same essay.

Fast Fact

We call them transition words, but they don’t have to be just one word like however— they can also be longer phrases, such as for the most part or for example.

Transition Words for Similar Ideas

Use these transition words when you want to add additional information to your first idea, or when your second idea is very similar to the first one.

  • additionally
  • also
  • and
  • another key point
  • as for
  • as well as
  • besides
  • by the same token
  • even more
  • equally
  • further
  • furthermore
  • in a similar way
  • in addition
  • in like manner
  • in relation to
  • in the same manner
  • just like
  • let alone
  • like
  • likewise
  • moreover
  • not to mention
  • similarly
  • what is more
  • with this in mind
transition words in a sentence

Transition Words: Examples In Sentences, Paragraphs & Essays

Transition Words for Opposing Ideas

When you’re about to introduce an opposing idea or a contrasting argument, use one of these transition words to prepare your audience for a new perspective.

  • admittedly
  • alternatively
  • at the same time
  • although
  • but
  • by contrast
  • comparatively
  • compared to
  • conversely
  • even so
  • even though
  • granted
  • however
  • in contrast
  • in spite of this
  • instead
  • notwithstanding
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand
  • otherwise
  • regardless
  • still
  • that said
  • though
  • with this in mind
  • while
  • whereas
  • yet

Transition Words for Chronology

Chronological transition words can show a reader how your ideas are related in time.

  • after
  • afterward
  • back then
  • before
  • beforehand
  • earlier
  • first
  • in the first place
  • in the meantime
  • meanwhile
  • next
  • nowadays
  • once
  • over time
  • presently
  • previously
  • second
  • secondly
  • then
  • third
  • thirdly
  • sometimes
  • soon
  • today

Transition Words for Clarification

If you just made a complicated point, use one of these transition words to put the idea in simpler terms.

  • actually
  • by all means
  • in other words
  • in this case
  • namely
  • put another way
  • simply
  • that is
  • that is to say
  • to clarify
  • to enumerate
  • to explain
  • to put it differently
  • to rephrase

Transition Words for Examples

Introduce your evidence or examples in an essay with transition words like these before your quoted material.

  • according to
  • as an example
  • demonstrably
  • for example
  • for instance
  • in the article
  • in the book
  • including
  • such as
  • the text says
  • to demonstrate
  • to illustrate
Prove it thought while reading evidence essay

Types of Evidence to Use in Writing and Essays

Transition Words To Show Cause and Effect

You can use these transition words to show what happened to cause the event in question — or what happened as a result of it.

  • accordingly 
  • as
  • as a result
  • because
  • consequently
  • due to
  • hence (or henceforth)
  • in which case
  • since
  • so
  • so then
  • subsequently
  • thereby
  • therefore
  • thus
  • under these circumstances

Transition Words To Emphasize a Point

Don’t let your reader overlook your main point. Highlight your most important idea with transition words.

  • above all
  • as a matter of fact
  • certainly
  • chiefly
  • especially
  • even
  • expressly
  • explicitly
  • in fact
  • in particular
  • in this case
  • including
  • indeed
  • inexplicably
  • importantly
  • for this reason
  • markedly
  • needless to say
  • notably
  • of course
  • most importantly
  • particularly
  • significantly
  • singularly
  • specifically
  • surely
  • surprisingly
  • to be sure
  • to emphasize
  • to repeat
  • truly
  • undeniably

Transition Words for Conclusions

Now that you’ve stated your thesis and proven it with textual evidence, it’s time to finish that essay up. Summarize your points with these transition words.

  • after all
  • altogether
  • by and large
  • finally
  • for the most part
  • for this reason
  • in a nutshell
  • in any event
  • in conclusion
  • in either case
  • in essence
  • in closing
  • in general
  • in short
  • in sum
  • given these points
  • lastly
  • on the whole
  • overall
  • to put it briefly
  • to summarize
  • ultimately
Some alternatives for "in conclusion" in a list from the article.

57 Synonyms for "In Conclusion" To Use in Your Writing

How To Use Transition Words in An Essay

To determine whether or not you need a transition word at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph, look at the sentence with and without the transition word or phrase and compare the results.

Without Transition Words

With Transition Words

Carla couldn’t sleep the night before her big presentation. She needed an extra large cup of coffee before work.

Carla couldn’t sleep the night before her presentation. Therefore, she needed an extra large cup of coffee before work.

Jeffrey, we’ll be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. Fill up the car with gas, please.

Jeffrey, we’ll be ready to leave for the trip in 20 minutes. In the meantime, fill up the car with gas, please.

The trip through the desert was long and tiring for the crew. They all agreed it was worth it.

The trip through the desert was long and tiring for the crew. Afterward, they all agreed it was worth it.

Denise decided to stop doing her homework. She failed freshman English.

Denise decided to stop doing her homework. Consequently, she failed freshman English.

Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was living in Paris. I went online and booked a trip.

Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was living in Paris. As a result, I went online and booked a trip.


Quick Tip

Try not to use too many transition words in an essay — readers may think you’re leaning on a writing “crutch.” Limit your transition words to 1 or 2 per paragraph.