13 Transition Words & Phrases ~ Useful Lists
As you work on your drafts, try to use some new transition words and phrases from the lists below.
Here is a useful reference list of transition words and phrases for connections within and between paragraphs:
TRANSITION WORDS by Gregory M. Campbell, from Michael Buckhoff, adapted by John A. Dowell, is available under Creative Commons 3.0 license CC BY: Attribution.
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Below is a useful handout about Transitions (ESL) that show contrast, addition, or causes and effects from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center:
What this handout is about
Logical connectors are often listed in categories like “contrast” with no further explanation; however, there are important, though subtle differences in how they signal relationships between ideas. This handout will help you choose the appropriate connector by explaining how some of the more common expressions function to connect ideas.
|In contrast||Shows contrast between two comparable thingsSynonymous with “but”
Not synonymous with “despite this”
|Northern regions experienced record snowfall last year. In contrast, southern regions had one of the mildest winters on record.NOT: I’ve had breakfast; in contrast, I’m still hungry.|
|However||Shows contrast between comparable things or between expectation and realitySynonymous with “but” and “despite this”||Northern regions experienced record snowfall last year. However, southern regions had one of the mildest winters on record. (contrasting two similar things)The research clearly shows the risks. However, incidence of smoking is increasing rapidly in developing countries. (contrasting expectation and reality)
I’ve had breakfast; however, I’m still hungry.
|On the contrary||Opposition (not x but y).Follows a negative statement and elaborates||The island was nothing like the tropical paradise we had expected. On the contrary, it was noisy, dirty, and completely unrelaxing!(In academic writing, the phrase “contrary to” is far more common: Contrary to the tropical paradise we had expected, the island was noisy, dirty, and completely unrelaxing.)|
|On the other hand||Comparison of two choices or two sides of an issue||Buying lottery tickets is probably a waste of money. On the other hand, it might be the best investment you could ever make!|
|Nevertheless, Nonetheless||Shows contrast between expectation and realitySynonymous with “but” and “despite this”||The research clearly shows the risks. Nevertheless, incidence of smoking is increasing rapidly in developing countries.I’ve had breakfast; nevertheless, I’m still hungry.|
|Also||Almost interchangeable with “and.” Prefers identical subjects and usually appears after the subject.||The community is working to meet the needs of its citizens. The Town Council has just authorized a new senior center for the elderly. It has also implemented new social programs for teens and will be discussing a pre-school program at the next meeting.|
|Besides||Used as a transitional adverb, “besides” adds information emphatically. It implies that previous information can be disregarded because the new information is so powerful.||I’m not planning to accept the job at Harvard. It doesn’t offer enough research funding, and Boston is too cold for me. Besides, I’ve already accepted a position at UNC.|
|Besides that||Adds information emphatically, but does not imply that previous information can be disregarded. (Compare to “besides” above.)||I’m not planning to accept the job at Harvard. It doesn’t offer enough research funding, and Boston is too cold for me. Besides that, there will be very few people to collaborate with, so UNC is the best choice overall.|
|Furthermore||Usually used when three or more reasons (or premises) are given for the same conclusion||Moderate exercise has many beneficial effects. It lowers blood pressure, reduces weight, and improves overall muscle tone. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of releasing endorphins, generally improving the mood of those who exercise.|
|In addition, Additionally||More formal than “and.” Used for joining sentences. Prefers non-identical subjects and appears before the subject.||The community is working to meet the needs of its citizens. The Town Council has just authorized a new senior center for the elderly. In addition, the Parks Department has instituted a summer arts program for teens.|
|In addition to||Use when adding a noun phrase to a sentence. Verbs in this phrase take the -ing form.||In addition to building a new senior center for the elderly, the community has implemented a free senior transportation system.In addition to the new senior center, there is a new transportation system.|
|Moreover||Usually used when two or more reasons (or premises) are given for the same conclusion||The Senator’s remarks have outraged the liberals; moreover, they have alienated the conservatives. He will surely suffer in the next election.|
|Consequently||Signals causal relationship||He was absent over 50% of the time and missed the final exam. Consequently, he failed the course.|
|Therefore||Signals causal relationship. Also signals a logical conclusion or reasonable inference.||He was absent over 50% of the time and missed the final exam. Therefore, he failed the course.He has failed several courses this year. Therefore, I think it’s likely that he’ll change his major.|
|For this/that reason||Signals causal relationship when reason is explicitly stated.||She was an excellent intern last summer. For this reason, I’m willing to hire her for the new full-time position.|
|Hence, Thus||Same as “therefore” but more formal. Both of these can be used to introduce phrases rather than complete sentences.||The grant is nearing the end of its cycle. Thus, we’re actively seeking funding.The grant is nearing the end of its cycle. Hence, the search for new funding.|
|In that case||Signals a conditional relationship, like if–>then||Water may reach flood stage by morning. In that case (if that happens), the National Guard will come to assist.|
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill