Montgomery College Germantown Campus

Find workshop materials to help with every stage of the academic writing process!


A Writing Center Workshop

·         Transitions are words, phrases, and sentences that connect ideas.
·         When you write an essay and you movie from one topic to the next, you have to bring the reader along by showing how ideas develop and relate to a new thought or detail.
·         Transitions show the connection to an earlier discussion in your essay.
·         Transitions explain why you are introducing a new topic.

To bridge sentences or paragraphs and to point out relationships within them, you can use some of the following transition words and phrases:

Writer’s Purpose
Transitional Words and Phrases
To add an idea
Also, moreover, in addition, besides, furthermore, again, as well as, coupled with
To show contrast and comparison
However, in contrast, by the same token, conversely, instead, likewise, on the one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, however, still, nonetheless, in contrast
To indicate result or to show consequence/effect
Therefore, as a result, thus, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, then, subsequently
To give an example
For example, for instance, namely, such as, like
To emphasize or to intensify
In fact, indeed, mainly, above all, chiefly, with attention to, particularly
To explain or restate
That is, in other words, in essence, namely, that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently
To show time or sequence
First, second, next, then, finally, meanwhile, subsequently, while, when, as, whenever, before, after, until, as soon as, the moment that, once, where
To show direction
Here, there, over there, beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
To show exception
Excluding, exclusive of, other than, excepting, outside of, save, aside from, barring, beside
To generalize
As usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually
To summarize
After all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, to sum up

Transitions Exercise
Fill in the blanks with the correct transitional words or phrases given below:

Coupled with
In other words
In fact
Time or sequence: first
Contrast and comparison:
on the other hand
As a result
For example

1.      Nice weather,                                                 good friends a family, means a great day for a picnic.
2.      There were major traffic jams                                             of an accident on I-270.
3.      The children were happy;                                                  , the adults were miserable.
4.      The union members needed to emphasize the need for change,                                              that is all they spoke about.
5.      Everyone agreed there should be an of the year celebration                                        those who did not want to pay for it.
6.                              , put a teabag in the mug to make a cup of tea.
7.      There are many signs of a bad economy,                                                 , the number of unemployed.
8.      You can’t travel without it;                                                 , you must have your passport.

Now make your own sentences using transitional words to:
1.      Add an idea:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
2.      Show contrast or comparison:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
3.      Indicate result:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
4.      Summarize:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Paragraph Transitions
·         Transitions can be used to begin and end paragraphs. Certain transition words or phrases can show how your essay is organized.
o   For example, an essay that uses a chronological pattern of organization may begin each paragraph with transitions like First, Second, and Last.
o   An essay that uses an order of importance pattern of organization may begin each paragraph with transitions like First of all, Next, and Most important of all.

Supporting Detail Transitions
·         In addition to using transitions at the beginning or end of a paragraph, you will also want to use them within the paragraph. Using transitions shows the audience how your thoughts are connected, which is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish when writing academically.
o   For example, if you are writing a compare/contrast essay, you may be focusing one paragraph on comparisons and the following paragraph on contradictions. In the first paragraph, you would want to use transitions like Compared to, Similarly, and Likewise. In the following paragraph, transitions such as Conversely, Instead, and However may be appropriate for showing contrast.

Transitions in Your Outline
·         When outlining your essay, it is helpful to start thinking about how your main points and supporting details relate to one another as well as to your essay’s organization. Once you have established your main points (ways to support your thesis), you may have an idea about how you want to order these points in the body paragraphs. For more information on patterns of organization, you can view this handout from Montgomery College’s website.
·         Placing transitions in your outline will allow you to remain focused when you begin drafting and to remind yourself of your essay’s purpose. An example outline may look like this (transitions are underlined):
o   Body Paragraph 1: First, artisans must choose the best tools…
§  Supporting detail: For example, a painter chooses a brush…
§  Supporting detail: As a result, the painting will exemplify the…
§  Supporting detail: Finally, an artisan’s choice of tools allows…

Conclusion Paragraph Transitions:
·         “When closing your essay, do not expressly state that you are drawing to a close. Relying on statements such as In conclusion, It is clear that, As you can see, or In summation is unnecessary and can be considered trite” (McLean, 2011, p. 281).


McLean, S. (2011). Writing for success (1st ed.). Irvington, NY: Flatworld Knowledge, Inc.