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  How to Use Transition Words and Phrases in an Essay

How to Use Transition Words and Phrases in an Essay

Transition words and phrases are vital to the success of any essay. They are the bread and butter of writing. They are the glue that holds all essays together. Think of bricks building a house without mortar. Lack of mortar would cause the house to fall apart without it. Transitions hold the same importance. We need these words and phrases to join sentences and thoughts together in a coherent fashion.

Here are a few tips on how and when to use transition words and phrases:

  • Always use a transition phrase at the beginning of a new body paragraph
  • Always use a transition word in between thoughts within a paragraph
  • Never use a transition word to begin an essay
  • Never use a transition word to begin a paragraph (but you can sometimes use a transition phrase at the start of a new body paragraph)

Here are some commonly used transition words and phrases:

  • Consequently
  • Therefore
  • Because of
  • As a result
  • Rather
  • Nonetheless
  • Nevertheless
  • Notwithstanding
  • Furthermore
  • In addition to
  • Also

Transitions bring ideas together. They are leaving one thought and entering a new one. If you think of these words as ending the old and opening the new, it will help you organize your thoughts and your essays.

As another little tip from the inside, transition words are excellent cues on standardized tests. They often tell you what will be coming next (either positive or negative), and indicate a change. Furthermore, they are great words to stick into essays in high school and college. Teachers look for these words, as they indicate structure within an essay. As they are necessary to the continuity (and coherence) of an essay, they will demonstrate a firm grasp of a topic. If you use these words, then you know you have structured a strong essay, as you are building on an issue or are comparing two different issues well.