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,

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



  • Rappaport, Bret (2010). "Using the Elements of Rhythm, Flow, and Tone to Create a More Effective and Persuasive Acoustic Experience in Legal Writing" (PDF). The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. The Legal Writing Institute. 16 (1): 65–116. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  • Erika Lindemann (2001). A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-19-513045-6.