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Transition Sentences | Tips & Examples for Clear Writing

Published on June 9, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.

Clear transitions are crucial to clear writing: They show the reader how different parts of your essay, paper, or thesis are connected. Transition sentences can be used to structure your text and link together paragraphs or sections.

… In this case, the researchers concluded that the method was unreliable.

However , evidence from a more recent study points to a different conclusion . …

Table of contents

Transitioning between paragraphs, transitioning to a new section, transitions within a paragraph.

When you start a new paragraph , the first sentence should clearly express:

The examples below show some examples of transition sentences between paragraphs and what they express.

Placement of transition sentences

The beginning of a new paragraph is generally the right place for a transition sentence. Each paragraph should focus on one topic, so avoid spending time at the end of a paragraph explaining the theme of the next one.

The first dissenter to consider is …

However, several scholars dissent from this consensus. The first one to consider is …

While transitions between paragraphs are generally a single sentence, when you start a new section in a longer text, you may need an entire transition paragraph. Transitioning to a new section involves summarizing the content of the previous section and expressing how the new one will build upon or depart from it.

For example, the following sentences might be an effective transition for a new section in a literary analysis essay.

Having established that the subjective experience of time is one of Mann’s key concerns in The Magic Mountain , it is now possible to explore how this theme facilitates the novel’s connection with World War I. The war itself is not narrated in the book, but rather hinted at as something awaiting Castorp beyond the final pages. In this way, Mann links his protagonist’s subjective experience of time to more than just his illness; it is also used to explore the period leading up to the outbreak of war.

As in academic writing generally, aim to be as concise as you can while maintaining clarity: If you can transition to a new section clearly with a single sentence, do so, but use more when necessary.

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what is transition in essay example

It’s also important to use effective transitions within each paragraph you write, leading the reader through your arguments efficiently and avoiding ambiguity.

The known-new contract

The order of information within each of your sentences is important to the cohesion of your text. The known-new contract , a useful writing concept, states that a new sentence should generally begin with some reference to information from the previous sentence, and then go on to connect it to new information.

In the following example, the second sentence doesn’t follow very clearly from the first. The connection only becomes clear when we reach the end.

By reordering the information in the second sentence so that it begins with a reference to the first, we can help the reader follow our argument more smoothly.

Note that the known-new contract is just a general guideline. Not every sentence needs to be structured this way, but it’s a useful technique if you’re struggling to make your sentences cohere.

Transition words and phrases

Using appropriate transition words helps show your reader connections within and between sentences. Transition words and phrases come in four main types:

The table below gives a few examples for each type:

Grouping similar information

While transition words and phrases are essential, and every essay will contain at least some of them, it’s also important to avoid overusing them. One way to do this is by grouping similar information together so that fewer transitions are needed.

For example, the following text uses three transition words and jumps back and forth between ideas. This makes it repetitive and difficult to follow.

Rewriting it to group similar information allows us to use just one transition, making the text more concise and readable.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


What this handout is about.

In this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, transitions glue our ideas and our essays together. This handout will introduce you to some useful transitional expressions and help you employ them effectively.

The function and importance of transitions

In both academic writing and professional writing, your goal is to convey information clearly and concisely, if not to convert the reader to your way of thinking. Transitions help you to achieve these goals by establishing logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your papers. In other words, transitions tell readers what to do with the information you present to them. Whether single words, quick phrases, or full sentences, they function as signs that tell readers how to think about, organize, and react to old and new ideas as they read through what you have written.

Transitions signal relationships between ideas—relationships such as: “Another example coming up—stay alert!” or “Here’s an exception to my previous statement” or “Although this idea appears to be true, here’s the real story.” Basically, transitions provide the reader with directions for how to piece together your ideas into a logically coherent argument. Transitions are not just verbal decorations that embellish your paper by making it sound or read better. They are words with particular meanings that tell the reader to think and react in a particular way to your ideas. In providing the reader with these important cues, transitions help readers understand the logic of how your ideas fit together.

Signs that you might need to work on your transitions

How can you tell whether you need to work on your transitions? Here are some possible clues:


Since the clarity and effectiveness of your transitions will depend greatly on how well you have organized your paper, you may want to evaluate your paper’s organization before you work on transitions. In the margins of your draft, summarize in a word or short phrase what each paragraph is about or how it fits into your analysis as a whole. This exercise should help you to see the order of and connection between your ideas more clearly.

If after doing this exercise you find that you still have difficulty linking your ideas together in a coherent fashion, your problem may not be with transitions but with organization. For help in this area (and a more thorough explanation of the “reverse outlining” technique described in the previous paragraph), please see the Writing Center’s handout on organization .

How transitions work

The organization of your written work includes two elements: (1) the order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument, and (2) the relationships you construct between these parts. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow. Take a look at the following example:

El Pais , a Latin American country, has a new democratic government after having been a dictatorship for many years. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe.

One way to effectively organize your argument would be to present the conventional view and then to provide the reader with your critical response to this view. So, in Paragraph A you would enumerate all the reasons that someone might consider El Pais highly democratic, while in Paragraph B you would refute these points. The transition that would establish the logical connection between these two key elements of your argument would indicate to the reader that the information in paragraph B contradicts the information in paragraph A. As a result, you might organize your argument, including the transition that links paragraph A with paragraph B, in the following manner:

Paragraph A: points that support the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.

Transition: Despite the previous arguments, there are many reasons to think that El Pais’s new government is not as democratic as typically believed.

Paragraph B: points that contradict the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.

In this case, the transition words “Despite the previous arguments,” suggest that the reader should not believe paragraph A and instead should consider the writer’s reasons for viewing El Pais’s democracy as suspect.

As the example suggests, transitions can help reinforce the underlying logic of your paper’s organization by providing the reader with essential information regarding the relationship between your ideas. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole.

Types of transitions

Now that you have a general idea of how to go about developing effective transitions in your writing, let us briefly discuss the types of transitions your writing will use.

The types of transitions available to you are as diverse as the circumstances in which you need to use them. A transition can be a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire paragraph. In each case, it functions the same way: First, the transition either directly summarizes the content of a preceding sentence, paragraph, or section or implies such a summary (by reminding the reader of what has come before). Then, it helps the reader anticipate or comprehend the new information that you wish to present.

Transitional expressions

Effectively constructing each transition often depends upon your ability to identify words or phrases that will indicate for the reader the kind of logical relationships you want to convey. The table below should make it easier for you to find these words or phrases. Whenever you have trouble finding a word, phrase, or sentence to serve as an effective transition, refer to the information in the table for assistance. Look in the left column of the table for the kind of logical relationship you are trying to express. Then look in the right column of the table for examples of words or phrases that express this logical relationship.

Keep in mind that each of these words or phrases may have a slightly different meaning. Consult a dictionary or writer’s handbook if you are unsure of the exact meaning of a word or phrase.

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what is transition in essay example

How to Use Transitions in an Essay – Tutorial with Examples

One of your main tasks in writing an essay is to help the reader make connections and understand your writing well. Transitions allow you to do that. They help ensure that the reading process flows smoothly. 

I’m Tutor Phil, and in this tutorial I’ll show you how to use transitions effectively in your essays and research papers.

Four Rules of Using Transitions in Academic Writing

Rule 1. structure your essay well.

If your essay has a clear structure, this will minimize the need for transitions. Remember – you shouldn’t really need a lot of transitional words and phrases in your essay. 

Use transitions in places where they are most likely to help the reader make the necessary connection and move along. And if your flow of ideas in the essay is clear, that alone is the single most important quality of your writing.

So, if you’re new to essay writing, I highly recommend my tutorial on essay writing for beginners .

Rule 2. Trust the reader

If you trust yourself to write a well-structured essay, then you should trust the reader to understand what you have written. 

Don’t use transitions to summarize what you just wrote.  

When you pause to remind the reader what you just stated – whether in a section or a paragraph – this makes them feel that you’re wasting their time. Nobody likes stuff repeated to them over and over.

Rule 3. Proceed from general to specific

Going from general to specific is a mode in which you should be writing your essay. And transitions should help you accomplish this.

Let’s leave it at that for now because the examples in this tutorial will illustrate this perfectly. But for now just keep in mind that transitions are a great way to help you move from general to specific in your essay. 

Rule 4. Use transitions on multiple levels

Transitions can be used to move into a section, a paragraph, or a sentence. When transitioning into a section or a paragraph, use the transition within the lead sentence. 

If you’re not familiar with lead sentences or need to brush them up, here is my short and sweet tutorial on lead sentences .

Transitions also come in handy when introducing or leading into a smaller bit of writing, such as a sentence or part of a paragraph. 

10 Categories of Transitions with Examples

1. transitions that indicate similarity.

These are such words and phrases as:

“Mozart and Haydn wrote music primarily for the emerging upper middle class. Similarly, Beethoven adhered to the musical tastes of this sliver of the society early in his career.”

2. Contrary Transitions 

These are important and powerful transitions that tell the reader that something opposite to what they just read is coming. These include such words and phrases as:

“Mozart and Haydn wrote music primarily for the upper middle class and nobility. Beethoven did the same because his sustenance depended on it. However, his creative spirit yearned to write highly evolved and complex music aimed at the connoisseur.”

Another Version (with a different transition)

“Mozart and Haydn wrote music primarily for the upper middle class and nobility. Conversely, Beethoven yearned to write highly evolved and complex music aimed at the connoisseur.”

The Counterargument

One of the ways transitions in this category can be used is to expand your essay while adding validity to your argument. 

Let’s say you’re making an argument that Beethoven was an amazingly innovative composer. And you have provided some evidence to support this claim. 

Here is how you can use a counterargument to add content and make your point even stronger. You can suggest that others may disagree with your point. But they miss the mark for one or more important reasons. 

“ Some contemporary critics of Beethoven argued that his music was needlessly complex and failed to please much of the public. However , they were quite shortsighted. Beethoven’s music continues to please audiences hundreds of years later while the names of his critics are lost in the shuffle of history.”

You can use the counterargument technique to add a couple of juicy paragraphs to your essay. Here’s a video I created which will show you how:

3. Transitions of Order and Sequence

These are very useful when enumerating or listing items. These are such words as:

A great place to use these transitions is in the thesis statement.

“Going to college presents great advantages. First, college graduates earn more than those without a degree. Second, higher education enriches a person’s inner world. Finally, college is a great way to start friendships that will last a lifetime.”

4. Time Transitions

“Two of the men were on the lookout. Meanwhile, the third and fourth were busy cleaning out the store.”

5. Place Transitions

These transitions indicate location or change of location:

“In front of the school stood a hot dog stand, students’ favorite food spot.”

6. Transitions into Examples/Specificity

These very important transitions indicate that a specific piece of information is about to support a more general statement that just came before. These are such words and phrases as:

“Some kids love school. For example, my son is always excited to go to school because he loves to socialize and to learn.”

“Some subjects are crucial to students’ intellectual development. To be more specific, they cultivate such skills and abilities as critical thinking, decision making, and argumentation.”

7. Transitions of Emphasis or Focus

Use these transitions sparingly because they are often unnecessary. These are such words and phrases as:

“Indeed, Beethoven was an innovative composer.”

“Naturally, Beethoven’s patrons adored him.”

8. Transitions of Cause and Effect

These are very important transitions that I often call Power Words. ( Here is my article on Power Words where you can learn more about them .)

“Mozart wrote some of the most original music with catchy melodies. In effect, he quickly gained the favor of the Viennese.”

9. Transitions Indicating Additional Material 

“The nobles of Vienna adored Mozart for his musical genius and wit. Besides, he knew how to please them by writing music for soirees and social events that were all the rage at the time.”

10. Concluding Transitions

Hope this was helpful ( source ). Now go ahead and make these transitions a working part of your writing skills.

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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Essay Writing Guide

Transition Words For Essays

Nova A.

Transition Words For Essays - The Ultimate List 2023

11 min read

Published on: Oct 30, 2017

Last updated on: Feb 23, 2023

transition words for essays

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Tired of stumbling through clunky, disjointed paragraphs? Want to elevate your writing game and captivate your readers? 

Here’s your solution! 

Today we're diving into the magic of transition words, the secret weapon of great essay writing. These power-packed words seamlessly connect your ideas and keep your readers engaged from beginning to end. 

So, grab your pen and paper, and get ready to take your writing to the next level!

What are Good Transition Words for Essays?

Transition words are used to show your readers the relationship between words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs.

The transition will make it easier for you to convey your ideas and thoughts in an understandable way. The additional purpose of a transitional word or phrase is to prepare the reader for what is coming.

It is important to pay attention to these words if you are writing an essay that can easily convey your ideas.

In addition to that, transition words are also important when it comes to switching from one idea to another. Without transition words, your readers can easily lose direction.

Another important thing here is moderation. Lacking or even overusing transition words and phrases can lead to a clunky and confusing piece of paper.

List of Good Transition Words for Essays

Transition words are extremely important. They not only connect thoughts and ideas but also highlights a shift, opposition or contrast, agreement or emphasis, purpose, result, etc, in the line of argument.

So, transition words are used to achieve various purposes. Other than connecting ideas better, you will be able to put your sentences together smoothly.

Therefore, below you can find some good transition words for essays in different categories.

This transition words for essays list will make it easier for you to understand what words to use in what situation.

Order essay

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Transition Words for Argumentative Essays

Conclusion Transition Words for Essays

Transition Words for Persuasive Essays

Transition Words for Essays PDF

List of Common Transition Words 

To help you further, here are some common transition words for essays that can be used in almost any situation. 

For Addition

For Comparison

For Emphasizing

For Repetition

Sequence Transition Words

For Showing Exception

For Proving

Paragraph Transition Words for Essays

Transition Words for Essay's First Body Paragraph 

Transition Words for Essay's Second Body Paragraphs

Transition Words for Essay's Last Body Paragraphs

Transition Words for Compare and Contrast Essays

Transition Words for Informative Essays

Transition Words for Expository Essays

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Transition Words for Cause and Effect Essays

Transition Words for Synthesis Essays

Transition Words for Analysis Essays

Transition Words for Quotes in Essays

Beginning Transition Words for Essays

These are some introduction transition words for essays to start writing:

Transition Words for Essays College

Here are some college level transition words for essay:

Transition Words for Essays Middle School

Transition Words for Essays High School

Transition Words for College Essays

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Transition Words

So, now you have some strong transition words for essays at hand. But how do you use these transition words?

Here are the basic do and don’ts of using transition words for essays.

So, now you have an extensive list of transition words. These are some of the best transition words for essays that you can add to your essays.

If your essay seems redundant because you used similar transition words, you can always have a look at this list to find some good replacements. 

So, whenever you’re writing an essay, refer back to this list and let your words flow!

If you still feel that your essay is not properly conveying your ideas, turn to our expert essay writers at MyPerfectWords.com.

If you have some write-up, our essay writing service will make it flow without changing the entire content. Or, if you wish to have an essay from scratch, we’ve got you covered!

Simply contact us and place your order now. Our writers will take care of everything to help you ace your assignment. 

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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  1. Transition Sentences

    Transitioning to a new section involves summarizing the content of the previous section and expressing how the new one will build upon or depart from it. For example, the following sentences might be an effective transition for a new section in a literary analysis essay. Example of a transition paragraph

  2. Transitions

    As the example suggests, transitions can help reinforce the underlying logic of your paper’s organization by providing the reader with essential information regarding the relationship between your ideas. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole.

  3. How to Use Transitions in an Essay

    Example: “Developing strong reading habits will improve your grade in English class, as well as any other class that involves reading, which happens to be all of them.” Contradiction These transition words are used to show the flip side of a point. They can be incredibly useful when transitioning from one side of an issue to the other. but although

  4. 200+ Transition Words For Essays

    Transition Words for Argumentative Essays To begin with To show By contrast One alternative is Chiefly Mainly To put more simply At the same time On the contrary Afterall With this in mind All things considered As a result To clarify Generally speaking That is to say Yet another Conclusion Transition Words for Essays Overall Altogether In short