Unit 8: Academic Writing Resources

51 Transition Words for Cohesion and Coherence

Transition Words and Phrases

Transition words and phrases are used to connect ideas together. They are used within paragraphs and between paragraphs to enhance the flow of ideas.

Below are some common expressions. Some are useful for connecting paragraphs while others are more appropriate for joining ideas within a sentence. The best way to learn which transition words can be used for which purposes is to pay attention to the way they are used in the texts you read.

Transition words in any given category are NOT synonyms, and often require different grammatical structures. Choose exactly the best word for your purposes (don’t just substitute). Use the Skell Corpus to check how these expressions are used in example sentences.

Additive Transitions

Function: to connect two ideas together by adding additional information

  • furthermore, moreover, in addition, also

  • admittedly, certainly, typically

  • in fact, indeed

  • first, second, third

Order of Importance Transitions

Function: to signal the importance of events

  • above all, first and foremost, more/most

  • importantly, significantly, primarily

  • a more important, the most important, the primary / main, the second most significant

Contrastive Transitions

Function: to signal a contradiction or difference

  • however, nevertheless, in contrast, on the other hand

  • but, yet

  • although, even though, whereas, while

  • despite, in spite of, compared to/with

Comparative Transitions

Function: to emphasize similarity

  • likewise, similarly, at the same time

  • by comparison, in much the same way, once again

Cause and Effect Transitions

Function: to signal that one event happens as a result of another

  • as a result / consequence, consequently, therefore / thus, for this reason

  • because, since

  • so

  • due to, be the result of, given that

Giving Examples

Function: to introduce an illustration or example

  • for example, for instance, to illustrate

  • specifically, in particular, that is

  • such as, an example of

Conclusion Transitions

Function: to signal a final summary of ideas

  • to summarize, in summary, in short, in sum

  • in conclusion, to conclude

  • accordingly, ultimately

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