Transition Words in Essays

By: Henrique Bertulino

10 min



Transition Words in Essays

Academic and professional writing requires the use of clarity and conciseness. Part of this is conducted through the use of transition words and phrases reliably, and coherently that adds to, instead of detracts from, the text. Transition words and phrases are also beneficial because they help you sway the reader to your way of thinking. This may be done by providing logical arguments that are separated through the use of transitions. As a result, transitions are particularly helpful because they help you establish logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections. Transitions may be in the form of single words, short phrases, or full sentences. In some cases, you can provide transitions through headings, topic sentences, or concluding sentences. This means that transitions tell readers what to do with the information presented and provide signs regarding how readers should consider, organize, and react to the text written.

Signs That You Might Need To Work On Your Transitions

Now that you know the importance of transitions, how can you tell if you need to work on them? Here are some clues: Your professor has provided feedback on your papers, such as "choppy," "jumpy," "abrupt," "flow," or "need signposts." Another possibility is that your professor has asked, "How is this related?" to different parts of your papers.

Your readers state that they had problems in following how you organized your paper or understanding your train of thought. If you are like most people, you tend to write the way you think. Unfortunately, for some people, this is not good. This is because, for most of us, our brain jumps from one idea to another quickly. Writing this way results in disjointed work. You pasted several "chunks" of writing together to be one piece.

While working in a group, there are unique styles of writing, and the ensuing paper is based on "chunks" written by individual group members. If you have experienced these problems or received these comments, you may need help with transitions. Contact an expert writer today for assistance!

How To Make The Most Out Of Using Linking Words In Essays

Writing an essay can be a challenging task that might not always end with the best results. As deadlines approach, we find ourselves with more assignments every second and realize nobody has ever given us tips on how to make the most out of our writing skills.

Transition words and phrases are vital devices for essays, papers, or other literary compositions, given that they improve the connections between sentences and paragraphs, therefore making the piece smoother to read and more likely to impress. More specifically, using this resource (also commonly referred to as 'conjunctive adverbs') gives the text a logical organization and structure, improving the coherence of the essay as a whole.

How Do We Use Transition Words?

There is a small variety of specific formats in which we usually use transition words. While none of them present any difficulty, we will proceed to do a brief explanation of the most common ones.

Generically, when we aim to use one of these expressions, we will add a semicolon or a period after the first sentence, followed by a comma. This is done to set off the transition word from the next phrase. Let's try to understand this better with an example of this use:

Elephants can't jump because they don't have knees; however, they can run.

However, transition words can also be used at the beginning of a paragraph or sentence. The above-mentioned possibility serves two primary purposes: it can indicate a step forward in the reasoning and also relate the new paragraph to the previous ideas exposed in the text.

Keep in mind that semicolons should only be used if the first sentence has a subject and a verb on its own, meaning it does not need the following sentence in order to make sense.

Three Types Of Linking Words

At this point, you already know how to use transition words in different contexts and for a multiplicity of purposes, but did you know we can fit these words and phrases into many categories?

Conjunctive adverbs can be applicable to an infinite amount of circumstances and take several forms. They can range from single words (as seen above), to full-on sentences or even entire paragraphs; In any case, all of the transitions either summarize a previous sentence or paragraph or implies said section, making it easier for the reader to relate both pieces of information and understand the general idea the writer is trying to convey.

For understanding purposes, we will say there are three main types of transition or linking words:

  1. Between sections: When writing longer pieces, you might encounter the need to include transitional paragraphs in order to make a summary that helps the reader filter the most important information of the topic you just covered, and the one he or she will need to understand the next section.
  2. Between paragraphs: If we have a logically arranged essay, in which the order of the paragraphs make sense, adding a transition will smoothen an already easy-to-the-eye work. With this resource, you can strengthen an already existing relationship between sections and also bring new points of view to the table. It doesn't have to be fancy, keeping it simple (using just one or two words), is usually the most appealing to readers.
  3. Within paragraphs: Last but not least, transitions can be used within paragraphs, helping with anticipation and therefore keeping the eye's attention. In this case, the recommended link is usually a short word.

Knowing how to connect your ideas can be as crucial as having them in the first place, so when it comes to writing, minding these seemingly unimportant details can go a long way.

Best Transitions for a Compare and Contrast Essay

These essays do exactly what the name says: they show how two concepts are alike or different. Moving from one point to the next can be jarring. That's why it's important to smooth the shift between ideas. So use these transitions between sentences, between paragraphs, and when moving from comparing to contrasting.

Example: "The orange is similar to the tangerine in color, shape, and tangy taste. Additionally, they both grow on trees."

Here are a few helpful transitions for comparing:

  • In the same way
  • In like manner
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • By the same token

And some useful transitions for contrasting:

  • In contrast
  • Conversely
  • At the other end of the spectrum

Best Transitions for Persuasive Essays

Persuasive essays aim to persuade the reader to agree with you. In order to do this, you need to present a clear, compelling message. Bold transition words with authority will help grab the reader's attention and keep them nodding along, agreeing with your main points.

Example: "Teachers create lessons thinking that students will be interested in the topic. Although, at times, this may be true, generally, the students find the assignments do not connect to their career goals."

The following transitions will help persuade:

  • To illustrate
  • Specifically
  • Namely
  • Given that
  • In view of
  • Although
  • Furthermore

Best Transitions for Argumentative Essays

Argumentative essays are similar to persuasive essays. The goal is to present a compelling side of an argument and show that your position is the most logical and best-supported argument. Transitions support points that follow them, so they can help introduce your strong points. They can also help readers compare statements, ideas, or concepts so that they see your point of view.

Example: "The mayor's conduct is despicable. Furthermore, it reflects poorly on the entire town. Therefore, we must elect a new mayor."

The following transitions will support an argument:

  • Moreover
  • Furthermore
  • In other words
  • In view of this/ With this in mind
  • Especially
  • Particularly
  • To look at this another way

Best Transitions for Essay Beginnings

No matter what style of essay you write, you won't use transition words to start the essay. However, you do need to hook your reader's attention right away. Here are some "hooks" you might try: a story, a quotation, an opinion, a surprising fact, a question, a problem, an analogy (comparison). Then, you'll use transitions to introduce the supporting sentences that follow your hook.

These transition words can follow the hook in an introductory paragraph:

  • admittedly
  • certainly
  • granted
  • no doubt
  • nobody denies
  • obviously
  • of course
  • to be sure
  • generally speaking

Transition Words List for Ending Essays

The audience and readers of your college students routinely use transition words to identify where they are in their essays or papers. There is a set of linking words that are best saved for the conclusion or end of academic essays.

Here is a list of concluding transition words and transitional phrases:

  • Ultimately
  • Finally
  • In conclusion
  • In essence
  • All things considered
  • In short
  • Altogether
  • In the final analysis
  • All in all
  • In summary
  • To sum up
  • To conclude
  • To summarize

Sentence Examples

Your students will appreciate some good examples of sentences with concluding transitional words. Try to use examples that everyone will recognize and will not require additional research.

To conclude, gift-giving is a very effective way to build and nurture a relationship.

In conclusion, children should get plenty of exercises and should not be glued to their smartphones or TVs.

In brief, planning out your day and week is a great way to keep your life organized.

To sum up, some victories are only achieved when you leave nothing left and give it everything you have.

In summary, learning one or more languages increases your intelligence and gives you new perspectives on life.

Do's and Don'ts of Using Transition Words for College Essays

Now that you have a collection of linking words for your students' college essays, you may be wondering when you should and should not use them. Your students might also wonder how to use them appropriately. The following is a list of do's and don'ts for using transition words at the ending of a student's essay.


Comprehend clearly that concluding linking words are very important for the flow of any college essay.

Evaluate the linking words that your students select and determine if they fit with the final point of the paper. The linking word "finally" has a different meaning and usage than the transitional phase "to sum up." "Finally" indicates that a final point is about to be made. "To sum up" suggests that a general point that summarizes the paper or thesis statement is about to follow.

Instruct the students to read over their papers and double-check their transition words. Proofreading is an effective way to ensure that the students are using linking words that make sense with the rest of the paper.


Overuse transitions. If your students use too many concluding transitions, it will be difficult for the reader to understand which idea or point is genuinely the concluding point of the paper.

Use concluding linking words at the beginning and the middle of papers. This will inevitably confuse the reader and interrupt the flow of the student's paper. The reader may also feel that the student does not know the current or order of their paper, which hurts their credibility as the writer or presenter.

Presume that any transition word or phrase will be sufficient to conclude your student's paper properly. The right transition words certainly add value to papers. However, the wrong transition words can severely hamper the message of your students' papers or the reader's sense of where they are located within these papers.

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Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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