Recognizing Transitions What are transitions? Transitions are words or phrases that help lead the reader from one idea to another. They act as signals that connect ideas and ensure that sentences and paragraphs flow together smoothly. Transitional words and phrases introduce examples, give directions, tell where the paragraph is going, and hold sentences together. Why are transitions important? Transitions support the comprehension (meaning-making) process. Good writers place transitions at specific points to assist their readers; likewise, good readers recognize that transitional words are important for understanding the author’s message.
Recognizing Transitions 1. Transitions separate supporting details. Authors often use transitions to introduce major details and examples. 2. Transitions occur within paragraphs. Transitions within paragraphs act as cues by helping readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. Within paragraphs, transitions tend to be single words or short phrases. 3. Transitions occur between paragraphs. If the author has done a good job of arranging paragraphs so the content of one leads to the next, a transition will point out a relationship that already exists by summarizing the previous paragraph and suggesting something of the content of the paragraph that follows. A transition between paragraphs can be a word or two (however, for example, similarly), a phrase, or a sentence. Transitions can be at the end of the first paragraph, at the beginning of the second paragraph, or in both places. 4. Transitions are used between sections. In longer works, the author may include transitional paragraphs that summarize for the reader the information just covered and specify the relevance of this information to the discussion in the following section.
Sample Transition Words and Phrases Add information to an idea: As well as improving air quality by removing pollutants, plants also beautify. Also As well as Along with Besides Equally important,
Furthermore In addition Indeed In fact In the same way,
Moreover Not only Second...Third...
Specific times or dates: Over the last decade, there has been a peak in the number of students enrolling in community colleges over four-year institutions. A year later...
For the past six months...
Sample Transition Words and Phrases To extend an idea or indicate an example: For example, to produce a change in velocity, either the speed or the direction is changed (or both). Another Of course Specifically For example Other (summarize ideas from To add to the difficulties For instance preceding paragraph or To demonstrate In particular sentence) To illustrate Particularly Just as important as Compare two things: Vegetables can likewise add fiber to your diet. Also By the same token In comparison In like manner
In similar fashion In the same way Just as Like
Likewise Not only Similarly
Contrast two things: Whereas urban areas can be overcrowded, rural areas have a low population density. Alternatively Although But Despite the..., many Even though However Ideally,
however… In contrast Instead It may be true that..., but.... Nevertheless Of course,..., but On the contrary
On the other hand Though Unlike Whereas Yet
To indicate a purpose or reason why: In order to provide more resources, the government shifted funds to the education department. For fear that In the hope that
In order to So
So that With this in mind
Indicate a cause or reason: The game was cancelled due to the forecast of heavy rain. Accordingly As As a result Because Because of
Due to Consequently For For the reason that For this reason
On account of Since Therefore Thus
To indicate a result or an effect: He's been studying very hard and consequently, his grades have improved. As a result Accordingly Finally
Emphasize a point:
Consequently Hence So
Sample Transition Words and Phrases Studying is surely a way to improve your grades. Certainly Especially Indeed
In fact Obviously Of course
Surely to repeat Truly Undoubtedly
Indicate uncertainty: There is no evidence for the existence of UFOs. Then again, there have been numerous reported sightings of UFOs. Although Albeit Be that as it may Conversely
Nevertheless On the other hand Subsequently Then again
Indicate time, chronology, or sequence: At the same time that Beethoven was composing brilliant musical compositions, Hayden was also writing brilliant pieces. After As soon as At first At the same time Before Initially In the meantime In the past Lastly Later Meanwhile
Before long... Currently During Eventually Finally Next Previously Recently Simultaneously Since Soon
First, … Second, … Formerly From then on Immediately Subsequently Up to the present time While in While at
Conclude or summarize: As can be seen, in the final analysis, the invention of electricity brought profound changes in our lives. Again As can be seen in conclusion All in all Briefly Finally Given these facts Hence In brief
In conclusion In the final analysis Nevertheless Of course On the whole Overall So Summing up
To put it briefly To sum up To summarize Therefore Thus To conclude
Further explanation and activities for Recognizing Transitions can be found in the following texts: Flemming, Loraine. Reading Keys, 3rd ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2011. (See pages 108-110, 139, 207-208) Flemming, Loraine. Reading for Results, 12th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2014. (See pages 29-31, 168-169, 280-289, 531-532) McWhorter, Kathleen T. Reading Across the Disciplines: College Reading and Beyond, 5th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education, 2012. (See pages 100-104, 134-135 )