Transitions are the words that make the writing flow and tie thoughts together between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. Without transition words, the writing will feel choppy and broken up, making the writer's position and arguments harder to comprehend. Transitions are often a sentence at the end of a paragraph, or words or phrases used at the beginning of the paragraph. Both uses of transitions tell the reader, "how what they are about to read relates to what they have just read."

Transition Words or Phrases Define the Relationship
Transition words define the relationship between ideas, sentences, or paragraphs. They let the reader know the composition's logic and order. The most common relationship between ideas, sentences, or paragraphs is "sequence order", shown here by simple transition words such as, "first, next, last". If "time order" is the relationship between the ideas, sentences, or paragraphs, then transition words such as, "earlier, later, during" are used. Sometimes transition words are used to show that the next idea, sentence, or paragraph is meant to be compared, or contrasted, or add more information. Relationships and their transition words are too many to list here. Web links to some lists have been provided.

Transition Word Lists
Jefferson County High School

The Writing Center

The OWL at Purdue