Transitions (linguistics)

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Transitions are words or phrases that show the relationship between paragraphs or sections of a text or speech.[1] Transitions provide greater cohesion by making it more explicit or signaling how ideas relate to one another.[1] Transitions are "bridges" that "carry a reader from section to section."[1] Transitions guide a reader through steps of logic, increments of time, or through physical space. Transitions "...connect words and ideas so that your readers don't have to do the mental work for you."[2]


Coordinating transitions[edit]

Elements in a coordinate relationship are equal in rank, quality, or significance.[3] To show a link between equal elements, use a coordinating transition.[4]

  • To show similarity or reinforce: and, also, too, similarly, equally, identically, equally important, together with, not only ... but also, coupled with, in the light of, not to mention, as well as, furthermore, moreover, in the same fashion/ way, likewise, comparatively, correspondingly, by the same token, uniquely, to say nothing of.
  • To introduce an opposing point: but, however, yet, on the contrary, on the other hand, in contrast, still, neither, nor, nevertheless, besides[4]
  • To signal a restatement:[5] that is, in other words, in simpler terms, to put it differently, indeed.

Subordinating transitions[edit]

  • To introduce an item in a series:[6] first, in the first place, *second, in the second place, for one thing...., for another, next, then, in addition, finally, last,[7]
  • To introduce an example:[8] in particular, specifically, for instance, for example, that is, namely
  • To show causality: as a result, hence, thus, so, then, because, since, for, consequently, accordingly, therefore
  • To introduce a summary or conclusion:[6] in conclusion, finally, all in all, evidently, clearly, actually, to sum up, altogether, of course
  • To signal a concession:[8] naturally, of course, it is true, to be sure, granted, certainly
  • To resume main argument after a concession: all the same, even though, still, nevertheless, nonetheless

Temporal transitions[edit]

  • To show frequency: frequently, hourly, often, occasionally, now and then, day after day, every so often, again and again
  • To show duration: during, briefly, for a long time, minute by minute, while
  • To show a particular time: now, then, at that time, in those days, last Sunday, next Christmas, in 1999, at the beginning of August, at six o’clock, first thing in the morning, two months ago, when,
  • To introduce a beginning: at first, in the beginning, since, before then
  • To introduce a middle: in the meantime, meanwhile, as it was happening, at that moment, at the same time, simultaneously, next, then
  • To signal an end (or beyond): eventually, finally, at last, in the end, later, afterward

Spatial transitions[edit]

  • To show closeness: close to, near, next to, alongside, adjacent to, facing, side by side
  • To show long distance: in the distance, far, beyond, away, there
  • To show direction: up/down, sideways, along, across, to the right/left, in front of/behind, above/below, inside/outside: toward/away from

Transition words of agreement, addition, or similarity[edit]

The transition words like also, in addition, and, likewise, add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.[9]

  • in the first place
  • not only … but also
  • as a matter of fact
  • in like manner
  • in addition
  • coupled with
  • in the same fashion / way
  • also
  • then
  • equally
  • identically
  • uniquely
  • like
  • as
  • again
  • to
  • and
  • too
  • moreover
  • as well as
  • together with
  • of course
  • first, second, third
  • in the light of
  • not to mention
  • to say nothing of
  • equally important
  • by the same token
  • likewise
  • comparatively
  • correspondingly
  • similarly
  • furthermore
  • additionally
  • what's more

Transition words in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)[edit]

Optimization experts such as SEO experts use transition words to make sure the content they post is easy to read, follow and understand by the web visitor. When digital marketing experts recommend search engine optimization, they refer to the key words and expressions the search engine discovers. These keywords are easier to notice, when the content of the article (or blog post) is written in a simple manner. Using transition words makes the text more readable and the users feel comfortable understanding your content.

A simple correct article will contain short sentences and small paragraphs. To make it easier for the reader to follow the ideas presented the text must contain a minimum number of transition words. Plugins such as Yoast analyze the text and make recommendations for the copywriters. The recommendations usually talk about the length of the sentences, the frequency of the transition words or the difficulty of the words used.


  1. ^ a b c Rappaport 2010, p. 95
  2. ^ Garner 2002, p. 65
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster
  4. ^ a b Lindemann 2001, p. 152
  5. ^ UW Writing Center
  6. ^ a b Purdue Online Writing Lab
  7. ^ Smart Words
  8. ^ a b Taraba
  9. ^ "Transition words used in content creation - Complete GUIDE". Growwwise. 2018-12-02. Retrieved 2018-12-02.


  • Erika Lindemann (2001). A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-19-513045-6.