Transitions are the bridges between parts of your paper. They help to create both coherence and cohesion in a paper (aka “flow”), and they enable the reader to make the logical connections between the writer’s ideas in the way that the writer intends. Transitions help carry a thought from sentence to sentence, one idea to another, and one paragraph to the next.

There are several different types of transitional words and phrases, and each type helps create a different connection between ideas. Some transitions indicate that two ideas are similar; others show that two ideas are in contrast; others show a cause and effect relationship between ideas.. The repetition of key words or phrases can also help connect ideas from sentence to sentence as well as from paragraph to paragraph.

When choosing a transitional word or phrase, ask yourself:

  • How does this idea relate to the one that came before it? Is it supporting the same argument? Is it presenting another viewpoint? Are the two ideas dependent on one another?

  • What effect do you want to create for the reader? Do you want the same emphasis on two ideas, or do you want one to dominate the other? What key words do you want the reader to pay attention to

Now you can choose and position these transition words so they create coherence for your reader while also serving the purpose of your argument.

Transitions showing accumulation or similarity

also, in addition, again, once again, further, furthermore, moreover, then, besides, equally important, finally, next, lastly, what's more, similarly, likewise, not only....but also

Transitions showing contrast

however, by contrast, although, while, whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, except, by comparison, compared to, conversely, meanwhile

Transitions showing cause or effect

because, for, since, for the same reason, evidently, consequently, thus, therefore, hence, accordingly, as a result

Transitions signaling example or evidence

for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of ..., to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration

Transitions indicating exceptions

yet, still, nevertheless, nonetheless, in spite of, despite, in any case, of course, once in a while, sometimes, after all

Transitions showing sequence or order

first, second, third, previously, prior to this, simultaneously, concurrently, soon, at this time, now, at this point, next, then, following this, after, afterward, finally, consequently, subsequently

Transitions signaling a summary or conclusion

in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, thus