Lesson 2 of 43
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Lecture Notes – Transitions


Transition words connect two sentences, phrases or ideas and are the key to writing cohesive, connected English essays, documents, papers etc.
By using these words, you give structure and logical organisation to your text.

A very important note about using transition words is that they follow special punctuation rules and although they can have a similar meaning to some coordinating conjunctions, they are used in a different way.

For example:

so and thus have similar meaning (for that reason, because of that, consequently) but so is a coordinating conjunction and thus functions as an adverb.

She was not compatible with the lecturer, so she requested to change classes.

We can rewrite this using thus in three different ways. Pay close attention to the punctuation.

She was not compatible with the lecturer. Thus, she requested to change classes.

She was not compatible with the lecturer; thus, she requested to change classes.

She was not compatible with the lecturer, and(,) thus, she requested to change classes.

From looking at these examples we can then say that a transition word must:
              a) always be followed by a comma
              b) can begin a new sentence but cannot join two independent clauses
              c) can follow a semi-colon when the two sentences are well balanced
              d) can follow ‘and’ – a coordinating conjunction

Now look below at the following transition words, their uses and some examples.

ContrastThese words point out alternatives and/or change the line of reasoning in the text.

Words: however, on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, in contrast, by contrast, conversely, yet, otherwise, alternatively, instead

Incidences of violence in the community have risen dramatically; however, perceptions of safety have remained steady.

Addition These words add information, ideas, and express agreement with the preceding information.

Words: also, furthermore, moreover, in addition, besides

Drinking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal; moreover, it is dangerous.

Result These words are used to show what happened as a consequence or effect of something previously mentioned.

Words: therefore, thus, as a result, as a consequence, consequently, hence, in turn, so, accordingly

Children are becoming younger and younger when they receive their first mobile phone, and as a result, body image satisfaction is decreasing in young people.

ConclusionThese words are used to conclude, summarize or restate ideas.

Words: in conclusion, in summary, to sum up, overall, all things considered

Overall, the results showed that the likelihood of Donald Trump being reelected are low.

ExampleThese words are used to introduce examples which support the text or can indicate importance.

Words: for example, for instance, namely, to illustrate  

The English language is used as a global lingua franca and, as a result, has many different dialects. For example, Spanglish, Pigeon English, etc.

ComparisonThese words are used to compare similar ideas.

Words: similarly, likewise, in the same way, besides, after all

Twins often have the same taste preferences. Similarly, they also often choose the same items of clothing.

TimeThese words show the order or sequence of events or ideas.

Words:  firstly, secondly, next, then, meanwhile, in the meantime, concurrently, at the same time, afterward.

I have been on holidays from university, so, in the meantime I am volunteering at a local charity.