Here’s how to understand and use transition words in English
by Adriana Stein
September 01, 2020

What are transition words in English and why do they matter? As a former English teacher, I can confirm that they matter a whole lot! Plus, using them correctly is a clear indication of a higher level of English. So to give you a bit of help on how transition words work, take a look below!

The purpose of transition words

Transition words are commonly used when speaking and writing in English for transitioning from one point to another. They help break up longer texts when writing, and help clarify the flow of a story when speaking. During the process of learning English, getting familiar with using both written and spoken transition words brings you closer to becoming fluent.

One a quick note about grammar, when we use transition words there is always a comma after them at the beginning of the sentence, or both before and afterwards when used in the middle of a sentence as in:

Therefore, I decided not to buy that dress.

I decided, therefore, not to buy that dress.

Types of transition words and when to use them

There are different types of transitions words you can use in various contexts. Here is an overview of some of the most common transition words and phrases, as well as examples for how to use them.

1. Additions and similarities

Transition word or phrase Example
in addition I love many types of vegetables. In addition, I also like bananas and strawberries.
furthermore You can use scissors for cutting and snipping. Furthermore, scissors are a common arts and crafts object.
moreover Texting while driving is illegal. Moreover, it’s quite dangerous.
correspondingly It was raining today. Correspondingly, I decided not to go for a picnic.
additionally He needs to vacuum, do the dishes, and do his laundry. Additionally, he has a lot of homework to finish.
as a matter of fact As a matter of fact, I do like apples, even though I didn’t like that apple pie.
in light of + noun In light of the previous results, we decided to cancel the experiment.
of course Of course, going outside in winter means you need a good coat.
similarly to + noun All my siblings love to read. Similarly, we are writers.
comparatively Comparatively, I used to love reading much more when I was a child.

 

2. Oppositions and contradictions

Transition word or phrase Example
in contrast to + noun In contrast to my mother, I love animals.
on the one hand/on the other hand On the one hand, I love animals. On the other hand, I don’t like snakes.
be that as it may It’s not that cold outside. Be that as it may, I won’t go outside in the winter without a coat.
even so I love dogs. Even so, sometimes I am afraid of them.
however They need to do their homework. However, they need to wash the dishes first.
at the same time I love my cat. At the same time, sometimes he annoys me, because he chews on my shoes.
although We should go home. Although, we could stay another hour.
conversely He needed to go home. Conversely, he stayed and missed his curfew.
nevertheless You love the summer. Nevertheless, you still get too hot without air conditioning.

 

3. Causes and purposes

Transition word or phrase Example
with this in mind The ocean is full of sharks. With this in mind, I will never go diving.
unless + cause Unless you wear a coat, you shouldn’t go outside.
provided that + cause Provided that you wear a coat, you can go outside.
in view of + noun In view of the cold weather, I decided to stay inside.
in the event that + noun In the event that something bad happens, please call me.
to that end He had a bad experience with swimming. To that end, he never went swimming again.
if (conditional tenses) If you don’t go shopping, you can’t cook dinner.
whenever + cause Whenever I eat too much chocolate, I feel sick.

 

4. Examples and support

Transition word or phrase Example
for example I love to cook. For example, my favorite thing to make is soup.
for this reason It was too hot outside. For this reason, I decided to sit by the fan instead.
indeed Indeed, wearing a coat when you go outside in the winter is a good idea.
certainly Certainly, those who learn to cook will eat better food.
to emphasise To emphasise, I love cooking more than anyone!
in fact He went to school from 1994-2000. In fact, he even graduated at the top of his class.
in general In general, going to bed early is a good idea if you also need to wake up early.
to clarify To clarify, what I meant by my statement earlier is that I actually have the opposite opinion.

 

5. Consequences and results

Transition word or phrase Example
as a result + noun As a result of the volcano eruption, Pompeii was destroyed.
in that case It’s a sunny day today. In that case, I’ll go to the park.
therefore I have already mentioned that before. Therefore, I won’t repeat myself.
thus The money conversion rate was good today. Thus, she exchanged a lot of money.
in effect In effect, that was a good idea, even though my friend had warned me otherwise.
due to + noun Due to the rain, the event was cancelled.

 

6. Conclusions and summaries

Transition word or phrase Example
generally speaking Generally speaking, it’s good to rest when you have a cold.
in conclusion In conclusion, my essay discusses the different viewpoints on the current political situation.
given these points Given these points, I will need to reconsider my opinion.
in brief Today, she went shopping, worked, and prepared dinner. In brief, it was a very busy day.
as can be seen from + place As can be seen from the presentation, my opinion on the election is clear.
all things considered It rained a lot today. All things considered, it was still a good day.

 

Once you start using some of these English transition words and phrases, you’ll take your speaking level to advanced in no time!

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