Transitions in Essay Writing Include Meeting the FANBOYS


Learning transitions in essay writing help tremendously in producing a credible essay. There are several aspects to writing an essay. We must consider the topic, the word count, the type of essay—such as the narrative, argumentative, descriptive, expository—and the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Another focus must be on the writing itself, which, among other things, will include transitions. Since transitions are our focus for this article, let’s get a clear definition of transition words and phrases before we delve into our examples.

Here we learn that transitions “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 a plethora of transition words and phrases; here are just five:

  • Thus
  • Twilight
  • Moreover
  • Contrarily
  • In the distance

You can find more in my detailed article on transitions here, but there are seven simple ones that you come across often in your English writing ventures. These seven are called the FANBOYS. The acronyms below are examples of transitions in essay writing.

  • F – for
  • A – and
  • N – nor
  • B – but
  • O – or
  • Y – yet
  • S – so

You undoubtedly use these acronyms all the time without realizing that they are known as transitions. The FANBOYS are also known as conjunctions, words that connect two clauses.

Transitions in Essay Writing Include
Using the FANBOYS


Let’s use each of these simple FANBOYS acronyms in sentences.

For…  Cory purchased food for the homeless man who sleeps on a park bench.

And… Alicia and Carrie are excellent swimmers.

Nor… Neither elephants nor rhinos have good eyesight.

But… The professor ventured to the store to purchase groceries, but he forgot to get bread.

Or… You can go with me to the festival, or you can stay home.

Yet… The creature had kind eyes, yet it also had three-inch incisors.

So… The officer halted traffic with his outstretched hand so that the ducks could cross the road safely.

Now that you’ve become familiar with the FANBOYS, you’ll be able to easily spot them and use them in your transitions in essay writing sentences. Let’s take a look at how smoothly a nonfiction writer incorporates the FANBOYS in his sentence about a character.

Trottier states “in a previous section, we discussed goals and needs—your character not only has an outside goal but some inner need” (74).

Let’s Review More Transitions in Essay Writing

Transition boy

In a previous article, I gave examples of more transitions in essay writing. I will again review some below. 

By now you know that there are many transition words, and they appear in several categories. Some transition words and phrases appear in more than one category.

Here's a look at just one category which lists the types of transition words and phrases to which they belong:

Consequence or Result

  • So that 
  • With the result that 
  • Thus 
  • Consequently 
  • Hence 
  • Accordingly 
  • For this reason 
  • Therefore
  • So 
  • Because 
  • Since 
  • Due to
  • As a result 
  • In other words
  • Then (Taraba)

Undoubtedly you have used these transition words and phrases without knowing what they were called. Now you will be more aware of their importance.

Let’s construct sentences using some of the transition words and phrases from the above category of Consequent or Result. 

Joshua hired a private tutor. As a result, he learned Arabic quickly.

The child spat the tooth from his mouth, and then placed it beneath his pillow.

Maria wiped the table free of crumbs so that her mother would not suspect she’d been in the cookie jar.

Because the news channel forecasted rain, Dad, before setting off for work, tossed his rain slicker and boots into the cab of his truck. 

Due to a shortage of toilet paper, the store only allowed four rolls per customer.

When you practice using transitions in essay writing, you will become familiar using them to the point that your writings will take on a professional edge.

Click here to see more of Taraba’s categories and examples of transition words and phrases.

Learn to Spot Transitions 

Young woman reading

When you read a book or an article, concentrate on learning to spot transition words with the goal of increasing your knowledge base of transitions in essay writing. Note the context in which transitions are used and consequently how they enrich the writing. Then note if the written work neglects to use choice transition words and phrases.

In other words, develop a critical eye; therefore, you will be able to use this knowledge seamlessly so that you can enrich your own writings. 

How many transition words and phrases did you spot in the preceding paragraph? Hint: there are more than four.

Using these simple words and phrases for transitions in essay writing can make learning easy and fun. Don't forget the FANBOYS. They will keep you alert in your writings.

Make the FANBOYS a fan of yours!

Transitions. The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2021, March 2). Retrieved 11 June 2022, from

Taraba, Joanna. "Writer's Web: Transitional Words and Phrases." Writer's Web: Transitional Words and Phrases,, Accessed 17 June 2022.

Trottier, David. The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script. Los Angeles, Silman-James Press, 2019.

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