Transition Words for Paragraphs in Essays

transition words

This article is dedicated to a very interesting topic that can spice up your writing if you do it well: transition words. Regardless of whether you’re a newbie to writing or simply want to get to know how to pick the best transitional words for essays, you can read this review and figure out whether you have to improve anything or not.

We will help you choose the best writing words, find a good transition word, and sound more persuasive when using transition sentences for essays. What’s more, at the end of the article you will find a transition words test to check your mastery with transitions. Ready? Let’s begin this short dive! 

What are Transition Words?

So, what are transitional words?

These are words that connect different sentences or even paragraphs together, linking them in a manner that seems natural and helps to clarify the intentions of the author. As Touro University writes, “Transitional words are like bridges between parts of your essay.”

Sounds quite poetic, doesn’t it? 

Why transition words are important

First of all, transitional words and phrases make your writing more organized and sound. Second, they break down long sentences into shorter phrases that can help the reader understand what part of the text they are reading. For example, this sentence started with a simple but effective linking phrase that immediately told you what you could expect. Third, transition words add some persuasiveness and academic style to your writing if you use them smartly. 

Bad transition can spoil your intentions

We can imagine several transition words examples in which a wrongly chosen word spoils everything.

Suppose a person is writing about failing an exam; if the student doesn’t know the meaning of the word, their statement can sound something like “Fortunately, I wrote everything badly.” “Fortunately” implies good luck, and here it seems as if a student is happy about failing the exam.

Another case could sound like this: “This essay intends to answer the question of what the key ideas of existentialism are. Contrastingly, it will provide a detailed explanation of existentialist beliefs.” The word “contrastingly” is used inappropriately here because it directly contradicts the meaning of the sentence. 

How transition words and phrases work

Now, we can offer several examples of how you can actually use transitions in writing. Here, the sentences will seem better-flowing: “Finding renewable energy sources can help humanity solve multiple environmental problems. Moreover, it can help people preserve wilderness and save many animal species from extinction. However, renewable energy is also useful for humanity’s survival.”

While we typically don’t use so many transitional words in one short piece, you can see how the first transition continues the author’s focus on the environment, while the second one shifts to the different beneficiary of renewable energy. 

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Common Mistakes Students Make with Transition Words

If you want to start using essay transition words already, great! But before doing so, consider some of the standard mistakes that students with little experience with transitions writing usually make. 

  • Overusing transition words. Strangely enough, there is such a thing as having too many transitional phrases. Some students add them too often by mistake, while others just use them to increase their essay’s word count. Try not to overuse them. How many words in a paragraph can you use? For instance, if every sentence has transition phrases, you’re probably overdoing it.
  • Not using proper transitions. Here, we’re focusing on academic writing. Some phrases are too informal, while others are good for college or uni. To illustrate, you’re better off using “therefore” instead of “so.” Alternatively, it’s a bad idea to start your sentence with “But,” and it’s better to add “However” instead.
  • Not understanding your transitions. Transitions aren’t simply smart words to use. You must understand the words that you’re adding, not simply hope that your audience won’t figure them out.

Here’s a list of good and bad link words for academic writing offered by a professional team of our essay service. Remember: they are not bad for informal texts, but we’re focusing on college transition words here.

Informal TransitionFormal Equivalent
ButHowever, Nonetheless
To sum upIn conclusion
In the endFinally
AlsoIn addition
BasicallyTo summarize
In the meantimeIn the interim

We hope you now have a better understanding of what are transition words and will be able to use them successfully in your essays. Feel free to use transition words in your academic papers and add clarity and weight to your writing. They will make it more convincing and coherent.

Transition Words in Essays: A Step by Step Guide

Transition words for the first body paragraph

If you’re looking for transition words for first body paragraph, keep in mind that they have to signal to your audience that you have started to explore your first main idea. Usually, first paragraph transition words are simple and begin in the topic sentence. Some examples of transition words for first paragraph are the following: 

  • To begin with
  • Primarily
  • Essentially
  • To commence

Transition words for first body paragraph set the tone of the article and invite the reader to dive into your text. Transition words for body paragraphs can play into your hands and make the reader interested in continuing reading. At the same time, choosing them incorrectly or spelling them incorrectly will distract them from your work.

Transition words for the second body paragraph

Unsurprisingly, transition words for second body paragraph are different because they demonstrate that your ideas are already unraveling. Usually, they indicate the second part of your research. If you’re thinking about second paragraph transition words, consider these ones: 

  • Moreover 
  • Aside from…
  • In addition
  • Furthermore

While transition words to start a paragraph set the reader up, transition words for second body paragraph give them the opportunity to understand your train of thought and trace the connection between the semantic parts of your work.

Transition words for the conclusion

It shouldn’t surprise you that conclusion transition words are different, since you place them to mark the end of your essay. The concluding transition words do not offer additional information, but simply aim to indicate the recollection of the previously stated ideas. Concluding transitions include these commonly used phrases: 

  • In conclusion
  • To conclude
  • Given these facts

Transition words for essays in the final part of your essay play the role of finishing line and summarizing, leading the reader to the conclusion.

Transition Phrases for Addition/Agreement

Now that you know about the different transition words for paragraphs, we can move on to a more specific transition words list. Connecting words that help you either agree with a particular idea or continue a previously stated notion are transition words for addition or agreement. 

It’s important to note that transition words in paragraphs that focus on your support for the previously mentioned ideas aren’t the same as “I agree that.” Most of the time, they show it in a more graceful manner that doesn’t require you to use personal pronouns: 

  • not only … but also
  • as a matter of fact
  • in like manner
  • coupled with
  • in the same fashion / way
  • not to mention
  • to say nothing of
  • equally important
  • by the same token

When you want to use transition words in essays that just continue the previous sentences, you can utilize these: 

  • moreover
  • as well as
  • together with
  • of course
  • likewise
  • similarly
  • furthermore
  • additionally

These are pretty good transition words for essays that you can safely use, but pay attention to their meanings! Transition words for paragraphs play an important role in conveying your message to the reader. Use them like spices: a little bit at a time for better flavor.

Transition Sentences for Conditions/Intentions

If you’re not entirely sure what is a transition for intentions, don’t worry. Even if you don’t know what they are, you already use such transitioning words all the time. They serve to indicate the vector of an idea or purpose. The best option here is to offer an example of such transition statements: “I wanted to prepare for my exam more effectively. With this intention, I went to the library to inquire about the new books on the topic.” See? It’s pretty easy to understand why such phrases are added. For another instance of transition words for an essay that show a condition, let’s read this one: “Because of the challenging situation in the community, the local director chose to apply for the sponsorship.” 

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with transitional phrases examples, we can continue with a list of transition words

  • in the event that
  • granted (that)
  • as / so long as
  • on (the) condition (that)
  • for the purpose of
  • with this intention
  • with this in mind
  • in order to
  • in view of
  • … then
  • whenever
  • while

Transition Words for Comparison and Contrast

The last topic for these connecting words is the contrast transition words and transitional phrases of contrast. Most often, transition words in essay for comparing and contrasting can help the reader navigate where the written ideas stand. Transition words for contrast include the following: 

  • although this may be true
  • of course …, but
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • at the same time
  • in spite of
  • after all

You may think that transition words in an essay indicating a comparison are similar, but it is not like that. Comparisons can help you find interesting words for aligning ideas:

  • like 
  • similar to 
  • also 
  • unlike 
  • similarly 
  • in the same way 
  • likewise 
  • again

Don’t forget that it’s only you who can determine what type of transition word to use! 

A Transition Words Test

Rather than ending transition words essay discussion without practice, we’ve compiled a short test for you to try out. Now that you can answer the question of “What is a transition word?”, you can start choosing the best transitions for every sentence. Just pick the right one from the two options presented. 

  1. My friend prepared well for her exam. Because of / Despite of this, she could not get a satisfactory grade. 
  2. You have invested in your sports activities with all your dedication. Likewise / On the contrary, your studies are going great. 
  3. To begin with / Moreover, it is vital to study the roots of this phenomenon first.
  4. Also / Furthermore, the following problem was widely covered in the research.
  5. In order to / Because of help the family with their income, the politician proposed a set of reforms. 
  6. Basically / To summarize, this novel is a detailed study of societal prejudice.
  7. Edna is a very smart child who reads more than all of her peers. But / Nonetheless, she suffers from stress when working in a group. 
  8. In spite of / Due to conflicts with her parents, Mike managed to move to a new apartment.
  9. I admire how you used the red paint to highlight the girl’s cheeks. Likewise / However, you’ve made an impressive landscape!
  10. I have never said that I disliked your essay. On the contrary / Essentially, I think that it is well-written! 

You Can Do It!

Even if you don’t know all the pieces in the transition word list, you definitely know more than you did when you began. If you still don’t know how to use some transition paragraph words, make sure to read transition examples that are plentiful out there online. You know about beginning transition words and what works well when you want to agree with a particular idea.

When you begin using strong transition words, just have a document with a list of all the words or phrases you need on hand and add them. After some time, you will do it automatically. Don’t worry; we’re sure you’re on the right track! 

PS. Answers to the Transition Words Test

  1. despite, 2. likewise, 3. to begin with, 4. furthermore, 5. in order to, 6. to summarize, 7. nonetheless, 8. in spite of, 9. likewise, 10. on the contrary


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Lauren Bradshaw
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Lauren started writing in 2003. Since then, she tried her hand in SEO and website copywriting, composing for blogs, and working as an academic writer. Her main interests lie in content marketing, developing communication skills, and blogging.