Transition (linguistics)

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A transition or linking word is a word or phrase that shows 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]


In simple terms, a transition word demonstrates the relationship between two portions of the text or spoken language. By using the imagery of a bridge, we can see how these words take us from one statement to another. By using these words we can better build a sentence and convey what we are trying to say in a more concise manner.[3] There is more than one type of transition word. This section will introduce the most commonly used.

Coordinating transitions[edit]

Elements in a coordinate relationship are equal in rank, quality, or significance.[4] To show a link between equal elements, use a coordinating transition.[5]

  • 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[5]
  • To signal a restatement:[6] that is, in other words, in simpler terms, to put it differently, indeed.

Subordinating transitions[edit]

  • To introduce an item in a series:[7] first, in the first place, *second, in the second place, for one thing...., for another, next, then, in addition, finally, last,[8]
  • To introduce an example:[9] 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:[7] in conclusion, finally, all in all, evidently, clearly, actually, to sum up, altogether, of course
  • To signal a concession:[9] 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.[10]

  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rappaport 2010, p. 95
  2. ^ Garner 2002, p. 65
  3. ^ "Transition Words and Phrases: Useful List and Examples". 7ESL. Retrieved 5 Jan 2019.
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster
  5. ^ a b Lindemann 2001, p. 152
  6. ^ UW Writing Center
  7. ^ a b Purdue Online Writing Lab
  8. ^ Smart Words
  9. ^ a b Taraba
  10. ^ "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.