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, in fact, "bridges" that "carry a reader from section to section".[1] Transitions guide a reader/listener through steps of logic, increments of time, or through physical space. Transitions "connect words and ideas so that [...] readers don't have to do the mental work for [themselves]."[2]


In simple terms, a transition word demonstrates the relationship between two portions of a text or spoken language. By using these words, people can better build a sentence and convey what they are trying to say in a more concise manner.[3]

Coordinating transitions[edit]

Elements in a coordinate relationship are equal in rank, quality, or significance.[4] They help to show a link between equal elements.[5]

  • To show similarity or reinforce: also, and, as well as, by the same token, comparatively, correspondingly, coupled with, equally, equally important, furthermore, identically, in the light of, in the same fashion/way, likewise, moreover, not only... but also, not to mention, similarly, to say nothing of, together with, too, uniquely
  • To introduce an opposing point: besides, but, however, in contrast, neither, nevertheless, nor, on the contrary, on the other hand, still, yet[5]
  • To signal a restatement:[6] in other words, in simpler terms, indeed, that is, to put it differently

Subordinating transitions[edit]

  • To introduce an item in a series:[7] finally, first, for another, for one thing, in addition, in the first place, in the second place, last, next, second, then[8]
  • To introduce an example:[9] for example, for instance, in particular, namely, specifically, that is
  • To show causality: accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, for, hence, since, so, then, therefore, thus
  • To introduce a summary or conclusion:[7] actually, all in all, altogether, clearly, evidently, finally, in conclusion, of course, to sum up
  • To signal a concession:[9] certainly, granted, it is true, naturally, of course, to be sure
  • To resume main argument after a concession: all the same, even though, nevertheless, nonetheless, still

Temporal transitions[edit]

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

Spatial transitions[edit]

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

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

The transition words, such as also, in addition, and likewise, add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.[10]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rappaport 2010, p. 95.
  2. ^ LeClercq 2007, p. 15: "As the writer, it is your job to connect words and ideas so that your readers don't have to do the mental work for you".
  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.