The right transition words can transform a mediocre essay into a great paper. In this post, we discuss why effective transitions can substantially improve the quality and readability of your essay and provide examples of commonly used transition words.

What are transitions?

Transitions are the places in your paper where you move on to a new idea or paragraph. They may also be points at which you want to add to, expand upon, or conclude a previous statement.

The best transitions are signaled clearly by keywords and phrases that let the reader know that you’re moving on. Transition words typically occur at the beginning of a sentence.

How do transition words improve your essay?

Quality transitions are often the difference between a decent essay and a strong one. Transition words give clear signals to the reader that you are moving on to a new idea and this enables them to more easily follow your argument.

When a reader can efficiently follow the main threads of your paper, then they are more likely to be persuaded by your argument, which is the point of papers like argumentative essays.

Types of transition words

The transition words that you use in your paper will naturally depend on what kind of transition you’re making. In this section, we break down the main types of transitions that you might use in your essay and provide examples of common transition words.

Adding a point

There may be multiple times throughout a paper where you want to add to a point that you made or that came from one of your sources. To signal this, you might use one of the following phrases:

  • also
  • additionally
  • besides
  • furthermore
  • in addition
  • indeed
  • in fact
  • moreover

Elaborating on a point

At other times, you may need to expand, or elaborate upon, a previously stated idea. In that case, you may utilize one of these keywords:

  • actually
  • by extension
  • in other words
  • in short
  • that is
  • put differently
  • ultimately

Introducing examples

Sometimes you may want to introduce an example that illustrates a previous point. To introduce examples, you can use one of the following phrases:

  • for example
  • for instance
  • specifically
  • to take a case in point

Indicating comparisons and contrasts

Some types of essays, like position papers, require you to introduce contrasting points of view. In order to transition from one perspective to another, you may want to use a transition word or phrase that signals a comparison or contrast:


  • along the same lines
  • in the same way
  • likewise
  • similarly
  • in the same vein


  • although
  • but
  • by contrast
  • conversely
  • despite
  • even though
  • however
  • in contrast
  • nevertheless
  • nonetheless
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand

Showing cause and effect

If you’re building an argument and you want to indicate that one point is dependent on another, you might want to employ one of these phrases to signal that transition:

  • accordingly
  • as a result
  • consequently
  • hence
  • since
  • so
  • then
  • therefore
  • thus


When you are ready to conclude a point or prepare your reader for your paper’s conclusion, it’s important to signal that you’re at that stage. Consider using one of these transition words to do so:

  • as a result
  • consequently
  • hence
  • in conclusion
  • in short
  • in sum
  • therefore
  • thus
  • to summarize

If you are transitioning between your own words and borrowed material from secondary sources, be sure to properly cite any ideas that aren’t your own. You can use the BibGuru citation generator to create instant, accurate citations for a range of source types, including books, articles, and websites.

Frequently Asked Questions about transition words for essays

✅ What are some good transition words for essays?

Commonly used transition words include: additionally, although, as a result, for example, for instance, however, moreover, therefore, thus, and ultimately.

🛋 What are some examples of linking transition words?

To link two points together, or to add to a previous point, you might use transition words like:

  • also
  • additionally
  • besides
  • furthermore
  • in addition
  • indeed
  • in fact
  • moreover
⌛️ What are five examples of transitions?

The most popular types of transitions are those that introduce examples or that add to, elaborate upon, compare or contrast, or conclude a previous point.

🏜 How do you start a transition in an essay?

To signal a transition in an essay, use a transition word or phrase. Choose a phrase based on the kind of transition that you’re making.

🍎 What are transitional words and phrases?

Transition words give clear signals to the reader that you are moving on to a new idea and or that you want to add to, expand, or conclude a previous point. Transition words can also be used to introduce examples and to indicate a comparison or contrast.


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