How to Use Transition Words in Academic Writings

What Are Transition Words?

Transition words refer to words or phrases that join sentences and paragraphs together smoothly without causing abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas. They are either words or phrases that connect one idea to the other.

In the English Language they are vital because they connect ideas, introduce a certain shift, contrast or opposition, emphasis or agreement, purpose, result or conclusion and so on. Interestingly, all transition words and phrases perform different functions.

List of Transition Words with Examples

Listed above are few of the transition words to use in an essay or essays. There are numerous transition words and they all could be confusing if not categorized. See below them organized by categories based on purpose:

  1. Additive Category

Additive category compared to others is the largest of all four categories and subdivided into six groups as explained below:

  • Addition transition words add value to sentences. Examples include indeed, also, in addition, as a matter of fact, alternatively, in fact, and, too, nor, furthermore, moreover, actually, etc.

Example: I hate snakes; as a matter of fact, I hate all reptiles.

  • Introduction transition words are transition words to use at the beginning of a paragraph to introduce thoughts perfectly e.g. for instance, particularly, by way of example, including, to illustrate, especially, such as, for example, notably, like, as, in particular,

Example: For example, reptiles include snakes, lizards, iguanas, crocodiles, alligators etc.

  • Reference transition words attract the attention of readers to the object of discourse. Examples include speaking about, as for (this), concerning (this), the fact that, etc.

Example: The fact that human beings evolve from chimpanzees according to Darwin has been proven wrong.

  • Similarity transition words link two objects with similar characteristics or features. Importantly, they add stylistic perfection to write-ups e.g. similarly, in the same way, equally, likewise, by the same token and in a like manner.

Example: The rich man has 24 hours a day, so in like manner the poor man has the same number of hours each day.

  • Identification transition words highlight the meaning of the writer’s thoughts e.g. namely, specifically, thus and that it.

Example: There are four categories of transition words namely additive, adversative, casual and sequential sets.

  • Clarification transition words explain clearly the thoughts of a writer e.g. I mean, put it another way, in other words,and that it.

Example: Sophia is royalty. I mean she is the crowned princess of Fantasia.

  1. Adversative Category

The adversative category show contradictions between phrases:

  • Conflict transition words clearly add meaning to comparisons in sentences. They are responsible forthe logical flow of sentences e.g. but, by way of contrast, however, in contrast, conversely, still, etc.

Example: Snakes are reptiles without leg; however, iguanas have four legs.

  • Emphasis transition words add more meaning to reasoning e.g. even more, indeed, more importantly, above all and besides.

Example: I hate snakes; as a matter of fact, I hate all reptiles.

  • Concession transition words enhance writing,and when used correctly will make your work look classy and professional e.g. however, nevertheless, on the other hand, admittedly, notwithstanding, albeit, regardless, although, yet, nonetheless etc.

Example: A Comprehensive Motor Insurance policy covers numerous insured risks, nevertheless some risks are specifically excluded.

  • Dismissal transition words dismiss the You can use them to signal conflicts, contradictions, concessions and so on. Examples include either way, whichever happens, in either case, in any case, all the same, at any rate,etc.

Example: In any case, the value of gravity on earth will always be 10 m/s2.

  • Replacement transition words define the connection between objects in a sentence. For effect, you can use them smartly when writing academic articles or papers. Examples of these include (or) at least, instead, (or) rather etc.

Example: For lunch, I would have cake or at least doughnuts.

  1. Causal Category

The causal category addresses cause-reason relationships:

  • Cause/Reason transition words show how writers analyze facts (explain why). They remain a vital part of academic writing e.g. for the (simple) reason that, being that, for, in view of (the fact), because (of the fact), foras much as, owing to (the fact), since, as, for etc.

Example: Owing to the fact that Hurricane Florence will hit soon, the beach trip is off!

  • Effect/Result transition words describe the result of actions, events, problems and so on e.g. as a result (of this), consequently, hence, therefore, so, in consequence, because (of this), accordingly etc.

Example: There is an economic crisis rocking the country presently, and because of this, the President suspended his traveling.

  • Purpose transition words show reasons ofthe events, thoughts, characters’ actions and deeds. Examples include for the purpose of, in order that, so that, lest, to the end that, with this in mind, etc.

Example: I heard a creepy sound in my basement last night; so, with this in mind, I armed myself with a torchlight and a baseball bat ready for action.

  • Consequence transition words explain results of actions e.g. under those circumstances,then, in that case, if not, otherwise etc.

Example: With the sparkplug dead and the radiator out, under those circumstances, it would be a miracle for that car to run.

  • Condition transition words help readers to understand the logical flow of academic works or research papers e.g. provided that, in the event that, as/so long as, unless, even if, only if, given that, etc.

Example: As long as the President remains in power, protests will continue.

  1. Sequential Category

The sequential elements illustrate the sequence of events and can divide words thus:

  • Numerical transition words underline the strength of thoughts in sentences (logically. Examples include in the (first, second, etc.) place, initially, first of all, to start with etc.

Example: First, I would like you to state your mission here, and second, explain why so early.

  • Continuation transition words draw the continuity between objects, thoughts, actions and so on for logically connection and better understanding. Examples include subsequently, previously, next, before (this), afterwards, then, and so on.

Example: Previously, we discussed evolution and now we proceed with its theories.

  • Conclusion transition words are used to derive conclusions. You can use them in articles, research work etc. They add forcefulness to the conclusions. Examples include to conclude (with), finally, at last, lastly, eventually, as a final point etc.

Example: To conclude, I would like to draw a connection between apes and humans.

  • Digression transition words change the topic of the sentence or discussion to other essential information. Examplesinclude incidentally, by the way, to change the topic, and so on.

Example: To change the topic, let us talk about you for a second.

  • Resumption transition words add stylistic accent to sentences or statements. However, do not overuse them becauseyour writing will be watery. They include to get back to the point, to resume, anyway, anyhow, at any rate, to return to the subject etc fall under this category.

Example: Anyway, with that out of the way, let us continue with the discussion.

  • Summation transition words are used to summarize information in a writing. Examples include as we previously stated, so, consequently, in summary, thus, as has been noted, to put it briefly, hence, in conclusion, altogether, therefore and so on.

Example: As we previously stated, transition sets puts professional touch in your writing.

How to Use Transition Words

Transition words and phrases form imperative parts of articles, papers, presentations etc. They, of course, give logical organization and structure to literary works. Besides the importance of transition sets or phrases, their usage is more important.

The wrong usage would render your article useless, hence its importance. All English transition words and phrases are sometimes also called conjunctive adverbs. Since they link two words, phrases or clauses, they have the same function as coordinating conjunctions.

To use transition words effectively, you must adhere to the special rules of usage – punctuation. Insert a semicolon or full stop after the initial sentence. Then almost always add a comma to separate the transition word from the second sentence.

Example 1:

Children spent most of their free time playing; however, they are forced to be productive when adults are around.

At other times, transition phrases can begin a sentence and, in that case, add a comma (if needed) after it.

Example 2:

In conclusion, transition words add color and life to essays.

Note also that when using a semicolon to connect sentences, ensure that the group of words on either side of the semicolon can stand alone i.e. they must be complete sentences with a subject and a verb.

Wrapping up

Transition sets enriches writings, therefore select good transition words to use in essays or academic papers. In conclusion, avoid over-use, wrong usage and know when to use transition words.

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