Types of Transition Words and Phrases in Academic Writing


Transition words and phrases (also called linking words, connecting words, or transitional words) are used to link together different ideas in your text. They help the reader to follow your arguments by expressing the relationships between different sentences or parts of a sentence.


There are four main types of transition word: additive, adversative, causal, and sequential. Within each category, words are divided into several more specific functions.


Remember that transition words with similar meanings are not necessarily interchangeable. It’s important to understand the meaning of all the transition words you use. If unsure, consult a dictionary to find the precise definition.


Additive transition words

Additive transition words introduce new information or examples. They can be used to expand upon, compare with, or clarify the preceding text.


Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Addition We found that the mixture was effective. Moreover, it appeared to have additional effects we had not predicted.
  • indeed
  • furthermore
  • moreover
  • additionally
  • and
  • also
  • both x and y
  • not only x but also y
  • besides x
  • in fact
Introduction Serveral researchers have previously explored this topic. For instance, Smith (2014) examined the effects of ...
  • such as
  • like
  • particularly
  • including
  • as an illustration
  • for example
  • for instance
  • in particular
  • to illustrate
  • especially
  • notably
Reference The solution showed a high degree of absorption. Considering this result, it is reasonable to conclude that ...
  • considering x
  • regarding x
  • in regard to x
  • as for x
  • concerning x
  • the fact that x
  • on the subject of x
Similarity It was not possible to establish a correlation between these variables. Similarly, the connection between x and y remains unclear …
  • similarly
  • in the same way
  • by the same token
  • in like manner
  • equally
  • likewise
Clarification The patient suffered several side effects, namely increased appetite, decreased libido, and disordered sleep.
  • that is (to say)
  • namely
  • specifically
  • more precisely
  • in other words

Adversative transition words

Adversative transition words always signal a contrast of some kind. They can be used to introduce information that disagrees or contrasts with the preceding text.


Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Conflict The novel does deal with the theme of family. However, its central theme is more broadly political ...
  • but
  • however
  • although
  • though
  • equally
  • by way of contrast
  • while
  • on the other hand
  • (and) yet
  • whereas
  • in contrast
  • (when) in fact
  • conversely
  • whereas
Concession Jones (2011) argues that the novel reflects Russian politics of the time. Although this is correct, other aspects of the text must also be considered.
  • even so
  • nonetheless
  • nevertheless
  • even though
  • on the other hand
  • admittedly
  • despite x
  • notwithstanding x
  • (and) still
  • although
  • in spite of x
  • regardless (of x)
  • (and) yet
  • though
  • granted x
Dismissal It remains unclear which of these hypotheses is correct. In any case, it can be inferred that ...
  • regardless
  • either way
  • whatever the case
  • in any/either event
  • in any/either case
  • at any rate
  • all the same
Emphasis The chemical is generally thought to have corrosive properies. Indeed, several studies have supported this hypothesis.
  • above all
  • indeed
  • more/most importantly
Replacement The character of Godfrey is often viewed as selfish, or at least self-absorbed.
  • (or) at least
  • (or) rather
  • instead
  • or (perhaps) even
  • if not

Causal transition words

Causal transition words are used to describe cause and effect. They can be used to express purpose, consequence, and condition.


Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Consequence Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany.
  • therefore
  • because (of x)
  • as a result (of x)
  • for this reason
  • in view of x
  • as
  • owing to x
  • due to (the fact that)
  • since
  • consequently
  • in consequence
  • as a consequence
  • hence
  • thus
  • so (that)
  • accordingly
  • so much (so) that
  • under the/such circumstances
  • if so
Condition We qualified survey responses as positive only of the participant selected “agree” or “strongly agree.” Otherwise, results were recorded as negative.
  • (even/only) if/when
  • on (the) condition that
  • in the case that
  • granted (that)
  • provided/providing that
  • in case
  • in the event that
  • as/so long as
  • unless
  • given that
  • being that
  • inasmuch/insofar as
  • in that case
  • in (all) other cases
  • if so/not
Purpose We used accurate recording equipment so that our results would be as precise as possible.
  • to
  • in order to/that
  • for the purpose of
  • in the hope that
  • so that
  • to the end that
  • lest
  • with this in mind
  • so as to
  • so that
  • to ensure (that)

Sequential transition words

Sequential transition words indicate a sequence, whether it’s the order in which events occurred chronologically or the order you’re presenting them in your text. They can be used for signposting in academic texts.


Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Enumeration This has historically had several consequences: First, the conflict is not given the weight of other conflicts in historical narratives. Second, its causes are inadequately understood. Third, ...
  • first
  • second
  • third
Initiation To begin with, I want to consider the role played by women in this period.
  • in the first place
  • initially
  • first of all
  • to begin with
  • at first
Continuation Subsequently, I discuss the way in which the country’s various ethnic minorities were affected by the conflict.
  • subsequently
  • previously
  • eventually
  • next
  • before x
  • afterwards
  • after x
  • then
Conclusion Finally, I consider these two themes in combination.
  • to conclude (with)
  • as a final point
  • eventually
  • at last
  • last but not least
  • finally
  • lastly
Resumption To return to my main argument, it is clear that ...
  • to return/returning to x
  • to resume
  • at any rate
Summation Patel (2015) comes to a similar conclusion. In summary, the four studies considered here suggest a consensus that the solution is effective.
  • as previously stated/mentioned
  • in summary
  • as I have argued
  • overall
  • as has been mentioned
  • to summarize
  • briefly
  • given these points
  • in view of x
  • as has been noted
  • in conclusion
  • in sum
  • altogether
  • in short

Thanks & References

Bowen Zhou
Bowen Zhou
Student pursuing a PhD degree of Computer Science and Technology

My research interests include Edge Computing and Edge Intelligence.