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Transition Words: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Valerie Keenan

Valerie has taught elementary school and has her master's degree in education.

Just as a day with no breaks would be tiresome, writing without transition words can be a mess. Discover what a transition word is, what purpose it serves, and how to use it properly.

A Day With No Breaks

Let's imagine how a day with no breaks would look: You wake up in the morning and get ready as usual. Next, rather than watch TV or play with your toys for a little while before school begins, you go straight to school and right into your studies. Math first, reading next, then language arts and spelling afterwards. There is no free time, stretching or resting; and there is definitely no recess!

Eventually, things might stop making sense, and you would lose focus completely. Wouldn't that be exhausting? We need breaks during the day to make things go smoothly and help us ease into the next subject or activity. In the same way, we need to use transition words when we write to help our papers flow more smoothly from one idea to the next and improve clarity and understanding.

Examples of Transition Words

There are many transition words to choose from; however, they cannot all be applied to serve the same purpose. Examples of the different purposes transition words serve include showing importance or emphasizing, showing that something is different, introducing other ideas, demonstrating the effect of something, and showing order of events.

Here are a few examples of transition words that fall into those categories:

Transition Word Purpose Examples
Emphasis More importantly; Indeed; Above all
Difference But; However; Whereas
Introduction For example; For instance; Particularly
Effect Consequently; Hence; Accordingly
Order of events Initially; Eventually; Finally

Can you think of other transition words?

How to Use Transition Words

When you're at school, your teacher probably gives you a break every so often. Maybe you get to stand up and stretch after a rigorous math lesson or use the restroom and get water after taking a spelling test. You definitely get to eat lunch and have recess in the middle of the school day!

Just like breaks at school, transition words and phrases should be placed at the beginning of a new paragraph or whenever you are addressing a new idea. Take this example of the same paragraph written with and without transition words, and you will understand how important they are. Each transition word or phrase has been bolded.

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