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CAE | Transition

Transition means movement from one thing to another; it indicates a change. In writing then, transition implies that the writer is moving from one idea to the next or is changing topics. If a period is a stop sign, then transition is a flashing blinker, a signal to the reader that you are changing lanes, going in a different direction. As always, the writer is responsible for making sure that the reader knows that this change is happening, for guiding the reader through the writing. For example, indenting a paragraph tells the reader that a new idea is coming and, thus, is an example of transition. The most familiar transitions are the words that signal a change. Often they are separated from the rest of the sentence with commas.

As the writer, you get to choose not only the places to insert transitions but also the word or words that explain the relationship between what you have just written and what you are about to write. The following is a list of transitions:

Adding information: in addition, also, moreover, next, and then, first, second, third, and finally, as well as

Agreeing or affirming: obviously, of course, in fact

Adding as aside: incidentally, by the way, besides

Contrasting: but, however, nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary, in contrast, still, instead, although, even though, despite, in spite of

Illustrating or providing examples
: for example, for instance, such as, after all, of course, in particular, specifically, that is, namely

Showing cause and effect: consequently, therefore, thus, hence, accordingly, for this reason, because, since, so, to this end

Summarizing or concluding: in conclusion, finally, clearly, altogether, as a result, to summarize, generally

And, finally, because most of what you write in school is academic argument:

Conceding to an opposing point of view: naturally, to be sure, it is true, granted, certainly, of course

Resuming the original line of argument after conceding: nonetheless, even though, still, nevertheless, all the same

Developed by
Jennie Ariail, Ph.D. - Director
Tom Waldrep, Ph.D. - Director (retired)

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