Improve your English: transition words

chain - transitional words and phrases

transition (noun) passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

From Latin transire ‘go across’ or ‘pass over’.


What are transition words?


Whatever your goal or purpose for your writing – whether it’s to explain, inform, entertain or persuade – you need to express yourself fluently, and you need to present your readers with a cohesive text that carries them easily from idea to idea, and from beginning to end.

Transition words (or linking words) are the important words and phrases that will make your writing flow.

They link your sentences and paragraphs and connect your ideas, and they help you build logical and coherent arguments by pointing your reader towards each successive stage of your argument.

With transition words, your reader is guided smoothly through your text.

But without them, your writing is a series of unconnected sentences or statements.

Different transitions do different things.

For example, they can be used to add information, illustrate points and give examples, and also to give reasons, list ideas, and show similarity and contrast.

Examples of transitions


Adding information


  • and
  • also
  • equally important
  • furthermore
  • in addition (to)
  • moreover
  • not only….. but also…
  • similarly


Giving examples or illustrating a point


  • another
  • for example
  • for instance
  • in other words
  • in particular
  • specifically
  • such as


Listing ideas


  • firstly,
  • secondly,
  • finally,
  • the following
  • the first point
  • the second point


To show contrasting ideas

From a BBC News Magazine article July 2013

From a BBC News Magazine article July 2013


  • although
  • at the same time
  • but
  • conversely
  • even so
  • even though
  • however
  • in contrast (to)
  • instead
  • nevertheless
  • on one hand
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • or
  • unlike
  • while this maybe the case
  • while this may be true
  • whereas
  • yet (and yet)


Noam Cohen on Dr Who in the New York Observer 25/8/14

Noam Cohen on Dr Who in the New York Observer 25/8/14

To show similarity


  • by the same token
  • equally
  • in the same way
  • likewise
  • similarly


To show concession


  • admittedly
  • although
  • at any rate
  • but even so
  • despite the fact that
  • despite this
  • even so
  • even though
  • regardless of this
  • while it may be true


To show a result or to note consequences


  • so
  • accordingly
  • as a result
  • because
  • consequently
  • despite
  • due to
  • since
  • therefore


Summarising or concluding


  • as a final point
  • finally
  • in brief
  • in conclusion
  • in short
  • to conclude
  • to summarise




  1. This is a great list of transitional words and phrases Angela, thanks for sharing them :), in fact I have a special use for them ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sarah Arrows recently posted..21 steps to a killer sales letterMy Profile

  2. Brilliant post Angela! Transition words are often the weak link in people’s writing and I love the way you have categorized them for handy reference.
    Botany and English – interesting!
    Dave from recently posted..How Well Do You Think You Know Grammar?My Profile

    • Thank you, Dave ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, Botany and learning English isn’t perhaps the most obvious combination! ๐Ÿ™‚ but it all fits with the metaphor of growth, and I love that about it.

  3. Fantastic post Angela, thank you for sharing with us. Will share this as well for you.
    Sue Fleckenstein recently posted..Klout SuperHero PLR PackMy Profile

  4. I really like your list of transitional words, Angela!
    One issue I run into when writing is finding a wider range of like words to express the connection so I can avoid using the same ones over and over. This article gave me more word ideas to use for those transitions… thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
    Michel Snook recently posted..My Rapid Mailer Plugin ReviewMy Profile

  5. Gosh, where would we be without these transition words, we wouldn’t be able to think logically and in a flowing, structured way. Seeing the words in a list like this makes me realise how much I use them.
    Judy recently posted..What do you miss?My Profile

    • Hi, Judy

      Yes, they’re very useful expressions indeed. Most of the time we use them without thinking about it, but they’re so important for getting our meaning across that it’s worth using them more in a more planned or structured way when the need arises.

  6. Loving this list Angela, thanks so much for sharing. Really making me think how to improve my writing I can feel a few blog post adjustments coming on.

  7. This is a great collection of alternative ways to express oneself. It is so easy to use the same phrases. It is a great idea to wider the focus and mix it up a little with terms or phrases that don’t get used as often.

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Victoria Virgo recently posted..My 30 Day Blog Posting ChallengeMy Profile

  8. What a perfect timing Angela! Thank you so much, I just printed your list out as I’ve switched my blogging from French to English in May (both languages are not my mother tongue) – and this is sooo valuable as we’re publishing daily now :).

    You made my day – and I love flowers above all – the ‘Botanical Linguist’ very much resonates with me.

    Happy day! Patricia x
    Patricia Mauerhofer recently posted..Spread love, be bold, have fun รขย€ย“ take that first step (1/30)My Profile

    • Thank you, Patricia! I’m really glad to hear it’s useful. How great to be blogging in both French and English – especially as neither are your mother tongue – wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you very much for your kind words about Botanical Linguist, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thank you Angela – this is a really useful list. It’s so important to keep content fresh and to avoid repetition.

  10. I have bookmarked this! so very helpful. I struggle especially while using contrasting ideas, not any more. Thank you!
    Anupama recently posted..Drumstick RasamMy Profile

  11. These are “admittedly” really, really great. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for such a helpful list.
    kimberly recently posted..Importance of a Healthy BreakfastMy Profile

  12. Thank you Sarah,
    This is an awesome list and I am already finding them useful.

  13. Thank you Sarah this is really helpful stuff.

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