Transition words in essay writing are useful communicators. The less ambiguous your message, the more it will convey what you want it to. Transition words and phrases do exactly that.
Let’s get a clear definition of transition words and phrases before we delve into our examples.
“They are words with particular meanings that tell the reader to think and react in a particular way to your ideas. In providing the reader with these important cues, transitions help readers understand the logic of how your ideas fit together” (Transitions. The Writing Center).
There are many transition words and phrases in essay writing that cover several categories:
The plethora of transition words in essay writing offers many choices for you to use in constructing your sentences. Using them correctly will enrich your writing skills, thereby allowing you to communicate more effectively.
I arrived at the airport an hour late due to heavy traffic. In other words (illustration), I missed my plane.
On one hand (contrast), Brandon was thrilled to receive the firm’s coveted corner office. On the other hand (contrast), with his promotion came a heavy workload.
Amanda’s husband gave her $5,000 for her birthday in addition to (addition) an expensive sports car.
After (time) waiting an hour for the fog to clear, she was finally (time) able to see the road.
In the distance (space), the tourists spotted the herd of camels.
Julia was lonely despite (concession) being the prettiest girl at school.
Similarity or Comparison
The giraffe splayed her legs, bending to get a drink of water. In like fashion (similarity), her calf did the same.
The young man was already taller than his father, in addition to (emphasis) weighing considerably more.
The bicyclist wore reflective clothing, especially (detail) when riding in failing light.
Mandy found it hard to concentrate in statistics class. In other words (example), she disliked the subject.
Consequence or Result
Joe had too much to drink at the party. Consequently (result), he was unable to drive home.
“Class, it’s beginning to snow heavily; thus (summary), class is canceled for the rest of the day.”
Both men and women baked and sold cookies at the bake sale; therefore (suggestion), the school reached its monetary goal in record time.
You want anyone who’s reading your work to be able to read it with understanding. Having to reread a sentence or two because it isn’t clear will cause her to lose interest. Practice using all of the above transition words in essay writing and your other writings. In this way, they will become second nature to you.
Seasoned authors use transition words in essay writing as well as in their general writing. Let’s look at how a couple of authors use transition words when they write phrases.
Lamont states that you “are going to love some of your characters because they are you or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some of your characters for the same reason” (76).
In Lamont’s quote above, she uses the transition phrase of consequence: for the same reason.
Harris writes that in the “short tropic twilight she took the bus back to the big house on the bay. It was almost dark when she got there, the palms already black against the last light” (11-12).
Harris uses several transition words that deal with time: twilight, dark, last light.
Mastering the use of transition words in essay writing will gift your writing with depth. It will stand out from the work of those authors who do not take the time, or have the knowledge, to do this.