Transition sentences are an essential part of writing. They help the reader know what information is coming next and show how it relates to the previous sentence.
The best transitions will be clear, brief, and easy for the reader to understand. There are many different kinds of transition words and phrases writers use depending on the context.
Defining Transitional Words and Phrases
Transitional words and phrases are words and phrases that carry meaning from one sentence to the next. They can help express time, writing technique, or logic.
Writers use these words to make their sentences cohesive and help the reader quickly grasp the sentence’s meaning.
Some common transitional words are:
Transition phrases are also common. They can connect ideas or clauses within a sentence. Some common transitional phrases are:
|• As a result|
• In spite of
• On the other hand
Types of Transition Words and Phrases
Time transitions help the reader know whether a sentence is about the past, present, or future.
Here are some examples of common time transitions:
- Ever since
- Just recently
- Soon after
- Until then
- Up until now
Writers should also consider using time transitions to show cause and effect.
She got up, grabbed her phone, and left the room.
She got up and grabbed her phone. Afterward, she left the room.
The second sentence has a more coherent flow, as the cause and effect are clear.
Logical transitions show how one sentence relates logically to the next.
Here are some examples of logical transitions:
|• As a result|
• Due to
• In contrast to
• In other words
• As such
Walking to the park takes longer than driving. Therefore, people are less likely to walk.
In this sentence, ‘therefore’ is a logical transition because it shows the link between one action and its effect.
Logical transitions can show a cause-and-effect relationship as well.
The computer crashed since someone left it on overnight.
The computer crashed as a result of being on for a long period.
The second sentence is more cohesive and will make more sense to the reader.
Driving to the park takes less time. As such, people are more likely to drive.
Here, ‘as such’ is a logical transition because it shows what will come next. This sentence continues the same logic as the first sentence.
Cause and effect transitions
These transition words help show how two or more sentences are related. Typically, it is used to show the cause or effect of something. These include:
• As a result
• Due to
A higher price leads to fewer sales. As a result, the store is going out of business.
In this case, “A higher price” is the cause, and “fewer sales” is the effect.
John was very busy at work, and he didn’t have time for a party.
As a result, no one invited him to anything.
In this case, “John was very busy at work” is the cause, and “no one invited him to anything” is the effect.
Transition phrases can also be clarifying.
After the meeting was over, Susan left the office.
Susan left the office after the meeting was over.
The second sentence is more coherent and flows better than the first sentence.
These transitions bring clarifications to the sentence. By using clarifying transition words and phrases, the writer makes sure that the information is clear and cohesive. Some clarifying transitions are:
|• In other words|
• In brief
• In essence
The story of Cinderella is a new take on an old tale.
In other words, the writer rewrote an old story with a new plot and characters.
The second sentence is more coherent.
She got up and left the room.
Afterward, she grabbed her phone and left.
The first sentence doesn’t tell when she left the room, so it can sound confusing.
The clarifying transition in the second sentence makes sure that the reader knows when she left the room.
When writing formally, writers need to use formal words to create clear sentences. Some examples of formal transitional words and phrases are:
|• At any rate|
• In a sense
• In effect
• In other words
• In particular
• To illustrate
In effect, the rain stopped us from going outside.
It rained, and it stopped us from going outside.
The first sentence is more formal than the second sentence.
Compare and contrast transitions
These transitional words and phrases show how two or more things are alike or different. Compare, and contrast transitions include:
|• In comparison with|
• On the other hand
• Despite this
• In contrast to
A comparison example:
John is a fast runner. However, he can’t run a marathon.
In this case, “fast runner” and “can’t run a marathon” are compared.
An example of contrasting words:
John is a fast runner, but Bill is a slow runner.
In this case, “John is a fast runner” and “Bill is a slow runner” are contrasted. This example shows that John is fast while Bill is slow.
Sequence transitions show how two or more things are related in terms of time, logic, cause/effect, etc. Some sequence words and phrases are:
• Later on
• Prior to this/that/etc
First, John applied for a job at a cafe.
Then, he got an interview.
In this case, “First” is the transitional phrase, showing the sequence of events.
Addition transitions add more information to the sentence. They can be used before or after a sentence. Examples of such transitions are furthermore and moreover.
It was a very cold day. Moreover, it started to snow.
In this case, “Moreover” is the transitional word, adding more information to the cold day.
Concluding transitions signal the end of a sentence. These transitional phrases and words show that the writer’s idea has been fully expressed. Concluding transitions include:
|• To conclude|
• At the end of the day
• In short
• To summarize
• All in all
Having said that, it is worth noting that not everyone thinks the same way.
In this case, “Having said that” is the transitional phrase, and it signals that the writer’s idea has been fully expressed.
These transitions group similar ideas. Some grouping examples are:
|• On one hand|
• On the other hand
• Or else/or otherwise
• In other words
John likes to play tennis, but he also enjoys skiing.
In this case, playing tennis and enjoying skiing are similar ideas. The grouping transition “but also” groups them together.
A delaying transition delays the main idea in a sentence. These transitions are often used to create suspense and interest right before stating the main idea.
Although he lost three games, he won the first set.
In this case, the writer wants to start with “He lost three games” but instead delays it until later in the sentence.
Writing Technique Transitions
These transitional phrases and words help writers to focus on specific points. They can be used whenever a writer wants to increase the importance of a sentence. Some examples of such transitions are:
|• First and foremost|
• In addition
• At the same time
First and foremost, it is important to note that the company was established in 2007.
In this case, “First and foremost” is the transitional phrase, increasing the importance of the sentence.
Transitional sentences are a great way to show how sentences relate to one another. A transitional sentence will help a writer with their flow and allow the reader to comprehend what they are reading more easily.
Here is an example:
Her phone rang, so she picked it up.
She put down her book and answered the phone. As a result, she found out that her date was going to be a half-hour late.
In the first sentence, the phone rings, and she answers it. The second sentence explains how she found out her date was going to be late.
How are Transitional Sentences Placed in a Text?
These sentences can be used to bring three different effects in a text:
|• Transition within a paragraph|
• Transition to the next paragraph
• Transition to another section
Transition within a paragraph
A transition within a paragraph is used to show the reader how each idea is related. This will help them understand the logic of what you are saying.
His friends took him out to celebrate his upcoming birthday.
First, they went to a local sports bar where he had pizza and wings. Afterward, they went to a local nightclub where they danced the night away.
The first sentence explains that his friends are taking him out to celebrate his birthday. The second sentence explains what they did during the celebration.
Transition to the next paragraph
A transition to the next idea is used for longer texts. It can be used in essays, articles, novels, textbooks, and many other places. This transition shows the reader how to move from one idea to the next.
When transiting to the next paragraph, it is important to show the reader where the transition is. This will help them start on the right foot in your next argument or idea.
That day, he went to class and talked about the assignment. Meanwhile, his friends were talking about where they were going for their next vacation.
In the first sentence, he is talking about his assignment in class. In the second sentence, he is talking about where his friends are going on vacation.
Transition at another section
These transitions will help the reader understand how each new section is different from the one before it. They can be used in many different types of writing and are helpful for all audiences.
When moving from one section to the next, it’s easy to lose the reader. Using transitional words will help them understand what is changing and how each section is different from the last.
When she got home, she sat down and turned on the television.
However, after watching two hours’ worth of reality TV shows, she decided to go to bed.
In the first sentence, she is watching TV at home. In the second sentence, she decides that it is time for bed.
The Importance of Transitions
- Transitions show how a writer organizes ideas and helps the reader understand what they are saying. Without them, a writing project could be messy and hard to follow.
- Transitions connect sentences and paragraphs, helping the reader to follow through.
- Transitional words and phrases guide readers from one thought to the next.
- Good transitional words and phrases will show readers how ideas relate to each other.
Tips for Writing an Effective Transition Sentence
- Follow the rules of grammar. Transitional words and phrases must be used correctly with proper grammar.
- Use transitional words or phrases to connect ideas. Write only one transitional word or phrase per sentence to avoid being repetitive.
- Place the connecting words correctly so that your entire paragraph and text make sense to the reader.
- Plan what you are going to write beforehand. Planning helps you to know what should come before or after another. This way, you can apply the transitions correctly to achieve clear writing.
- Make your transitions smooth. Transitional words and phrases should make your writing flow.
- Spare some time to go through your work after writing. Proofreading helps you identify any incoherence and make the necessary corrections.
- When your essay is too long, try having a transition paragraph instead of a word or a phrase. This will make your work more coherent.
How do Transitions Work?
Transitions make writing more cohesive and easier to understand. Transitional words and phrases connect ideas while showing the direction in which you are going. This makes transition sentences easy for readers to follow and gives your work a sense of organization that will help them get the information they need quickly.
Your essay takes shape following these two elements: The order and the relationships of ideas.
Order: The way you arrange your ideas and concepts is essential when dealing with essays transition words. There should be order as you move from one paragraph to the other.
As you transit to the new paragraph, you’re also establishing new relationships. Transitions should mirror the order you want to establish between your ideas and concepts.
Your readers will understand the order in your essays if you do these two things:
- Identify the order of your ideas in previous paragraphs and start with supporting sentences.
- Build on each other until you reach your concluding sentence.
In a travel essay, you might begin in one paragraph by describing the sights of a faraway country. The second paragraph should address your stay in the place. In a third, you would conclude by describing the culture shock of returning home. Each paragraph builds on what came before it and leads to the next.
Relationships: Because transitions establish relationships between ideas, they can be used to combine or contrast them. This transitional element allows you to show the different ways it is possible to consider a subject.
As you transit from one section to the other, remember the previous paragraph is equally important as the next. This consideration makes it easier to determine relationships.
Readers can only see the relationships in your ideas if you do these three things:
- Establish the relationships between your paragraphs. You do this by choosing transition words or phrases that reflect what you want to show.
- Use transitional words and phrases correctly to make the relationships you want clear. The use of correct transitions makes reading easier for your readers.
- Plan your writing before you begin. Planning helps you see the relationships between your ideas and use appropriate transitions. This way, you ensure that each sentence makes sense.
Transition sentences are very helpful. They can help the reader understand what you are saying and how your ideas relate to one another. There are many different types of transition words/sentences to use.
Making sure that your texts have a logical flow will make the reader more interested in what you are saying.
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