What Are Transition Words? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 Transition Words
  • 0:46 Reinforcement
  • 1:24 Contradiction
  • 1:51 Cause & Effect
  • 2:15 Chronology
  • 2:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll examine the use of transition words to smoothly connect thoughts and ideas. We'll look at specific examples of transition words that support, contrast, indicate time, or show consequences.

Transition Words

Why do you need to know about transition words?

Take a look at this sentence:

The petit fours were individually wrapped; however, the crudités were placed on trays.

Now, look at this sentence:

The petit fours were individually wrapped after the crudités were placed on trays.

The basic information contained in the clauses is the same, but the meaning is slightly altered by the choice of transition words. Transition words are used by writers to improve the flow of writing by smoothly shifting between ideas. Among other things, transition words may be used to connect, contrast, show cause/effect relationships, and indicate chronology or position between ideas. Let's examine some transition words and look at examples of how they're used in writing.


Sometimes, transition words are used to support or add information to the preceding clause or sentence. The following examples in the table that follows are examples of commonly used transition words that provide extra information to readers.

again to and
also then equally
identically uniquely like
as too moreover
likewise comparatively correspondingly
similarly furthermore additionally

Some are simple like 'to' and well, 'and.' And, some are more difficult to use effectively, like 'moreover' or ' correspondingly.' It's important to know how to effectively and accurately use these transition words when you're writing an essay or long-form piece.

For example:

Toby sat down to finish his taxes. Similarly, Aaron occupied the chair across the table from him, where he completed his homework.


At other times, transition words are used to show disagreement between two ideas. Take a look at some of these contradictory transition words appearing right now:

but unlike or
while albeit besides
although instead whereas
despite conversely otherwise
however rather nevertheless
nonetheless regardless notwithstanding

You might recognize some of them, like 'but' and 'or,' though there are some that some people might have more difficulty with using effectively, like 'notwithstanding' or 'albeit.'

For example:

Despite the committee's recommendation, the company decided to move forward with the decision to hire one hundred additional employees.

Cause & Effect

Sometimes, transition words are used to indicate cause and effect relationships. The following list appearing in the next table provides examples of transition words that indicate consequence.

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