Transitional Phrases

You’re in your car, taking a road trip to Boston to check out the Bruins for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup (lucky you!). Amazingly, you’re coasting down a traffic-free 93-S, letting the wind beat against your fingertips as you rest your arm carelessly out the window. Crossing over Charlestown, you see the Boston skyline up ahead and tremble with excitement as you draw closer and closer to TD Garden. The giant green and yellow logo magnifies with each second, until you imagine reaching out and grabbing the sign– when suddenly…

Your car spills over into the Charles River without warning. You feel helplessly lost and confused as you look up and notice that the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge is out. Shouldn’t the bridge be there? Shouldn’t there always be some way to get from one point to another smoothly and easily that doesn’t leave you in this nasty predicament?

Yes, there should, which is why transitions, like bridges, are so important. They allow the reader, like the driver, to get where he or she needs to be without the confusion and devastation that results from the lack of transitions or bridges (and yes, the drama above was necessary).

Here are some ways to transition effectively from one point to another.

Reason for Transition

Sample Transition Words

To transition to a new example that shares a similar idea with the first example (between PIEs)

Also, In addition, Additionally, Moreover, Equally importantly, Further, Furthermore, For example, Likewise, Similarly

To transition to a new example that contrasts with the original idea (between PIEs or paraphraphs)

On the contrary,Notwithstanding, But, However, Nevertheless, In spite of, In contrast, Yet, On one hand, On the other hand, Rather, Conversely*

To transition to a related example that happens later (between PIEs)

Then, Finally, Later, Later in the novel, Immediately afterwards, Afterwards, Soon after, When, While, Meanwhile

To show sequence (between PIEs)

First, second, third; In the beginning, Later in the novel, At the end of the novel

To bring a point to a close or show a cause and effect relationship (usually when ending a paragraph)

Accordingly, Consequently, For this reason, For this purpose, Hence, Otherwise, So then, Subsequently, Therefore, Thus**

Longer transitions–your own words

The theme is seen again later when …

________ acts similarly when …

Although ______ (point in first paragraph or PIE), ________ (point of second paragraph or PIE)



TS: In The House on Mango Street, one theme is that growing up can be dangerous.

P:  For example, Esperanza rides in a stolen car.

P: In addition, Rachel almost gets kissed by a bum man.

P: Finally, Esperanza gets kissed by a man at work.

CS: Ultimately, growing up is dangerous for Esperanza and her friends.


TS: Although Jack from Lord of the Flies has potential to be a leader, he is too cruel and dangerous to be a true leader.

P: Indeed, Jack demonstrates leadership when he provides meat to the other castaways.

P: However, he taunts Piggy by threatening to leave him out of the feast and letting him starve.

P: Furthermore, whenever Piggy makes a valid point, Jack either insults him by calling attention to his weight, or flat-out assaulting him.

CS: Therefore, Jack’s cruel and hostile nature may grant him authority, but it’s the kind of authority a tyrannical dictator would wield, not an honest leader.

Practice: Add transitions on the blank below. Try not to repeat words.


TS: In The House on Mango Street, one theme is that growing up can be dangerous.

P: ___________________________ Esperanza and her friends think wearing high heels is fun.

P: ___________________________ Rachel almost gets kissed by a bum man.

P: ___________________________ Esperanza and her friends don’t want the heels.

CS: Throughout the vignette “The Family of Little Feet,” the world proves to be a dangerous place for these young girls.


TS: Ralph is a better leader than Jack, but he is not without flaws.

P: __________________ he values democratic ideals.

P: __________________ he is rude to Piggy and even betrays his trust.

P: __________________ he fails to maintain discipline over the other castaways.

CS: _________________ he is a fairer authority figure than Jack, he still comes short of being an ideal leader.





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