HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER
GRAMMAR AND MECHANICS
Sentence Structure: Transitions
Transitions function to connect one idea to another either between sentences or between paragraphs. They are signals that help readers follow the direction of the writer's thoughts. The lists below categorizes transitional words and phrases according what they signify. Note that certain transitions appear on more than one list.

SOME TRANSITION WORDS AND PHRASES ACCORDING TO MEANING


ADDING

CONTRASTING

CONCLUDING
additionally
also
besides
further
furthermore
in addition
in the same way
likewise
moreover
similarly
at any rate
even so
however
in contrast
in spite of that
instead
nevertheless
on the contrary
on the other hand
otherwise
still
accordingly
as a result
as a/in consequence
consequently
in conclusion
for this reason
hence
therefore
thus
to conclude

COMPARING


ADDING ADDITIONAL DETAIL


SUMMARIZING

by comparison
equally
in the same way
likewise
similarly
as an illustration
for example
for instance
indeed
in fact
in other words
in particular
specifically
that is
briefly
in a word
in brief
in short
in summary
to summarize

INDICATING SEQUENCE (LOGICAL)


EXPRESSING OPINION

first(ly), second(ly), third(ly)...
next
finally
last(ly)
then
above all
in conclusion
to illustrate
that is
actually
apparently
certainly
(un)fortunately
of course
undoubtedly

INDICATING SEQUENCE IN TIME
SAME TIME

EARLIER TIME

NOW

LATER TIME

at the same time
concurrently
simultaneously
before that
earlier
first
formerly
previously
at this time
at present
now
nowadays
these days
after that
afterwards
in the future
later
next
soon
subsequently
then


When using transitions, keep in mind that there are subtle differences between transitional words and phrases on the same list. If you are unsure about the precise meaning of a particular word or phrase, consult your dictionary or ask your teacher. Also, while transitions do help to connect ideas in an essay, too many transitions can make writing seen overly formal or stilted. Certain transitions such as hence, moreover, thus, and subsequently may make your writing sound too formal or artificial, which can be distracting to a reader. Formal transitions should be avoided in personal writing and used judiciously even in formal writing.




TRANSITION PRACTICE

Underline any transitional words or phrases in the following passages. Fill in the spaces below each passage with the transitions you find and identify what kind of signal they give.

I.
A Chinese Housewife

In Chinese society a housewife should be thrifty in order to help her husband tosupport the family. First of all, she does her housework by herselfand doesn't hire a maid to work with her. Secondly, when she goes shopping, she only spends money on daily necessities and not on junk food. The food which she buys should be healthy food and should not cost too much money. Finally, she can't buy clothes often except when she has to go to a banquet. Mostly she makes her clothes herself and wears them at home. In this way, she saves money.
 
Transition                                      Signal
__________________                              __________________              
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________

II.
A Homeless Man

One day, I saw a homeless man in the subway. He was a little bit different from other homeless people. When he came into our car, he started making a speech: how hard hehad tried to find a job, how difficult it was to do so, how hungry he was, and so on. Then he sang a song with a sad low voice. It sounded pitifully throughout the car. Moreover, his speech was so persuasive that people could not help feeling sympathy. As a result, most people there gave him some change, or even a dollar. His paper cup was filled with money in a minute.
 
Transition                                      Signal
__________________                              __________________              
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________


III.
The Educational Systems

During my father's generation, the education system was very different. Back in thosedays, most schools were provided by the British. In those days, people had a bettereducation than nowadays because teachers had different ways of teaching. Most of the students were taught by British native teachers. Therefore, they spoke betterEnglish and had high standards in English. Also, they began learning English in primary school. Furthermore, all of the subjects were taught in English. The schools' rules were strictly followed, and they had punishment for every little thing. In my generation, the educational system was far different from my father's. For example, all the subjects were taught in Burmese except for English. I myself and other students from my generation started to learn English in the fifth grade. In the fourth and eighth grades, the final exams are given by the state board of education, and in the tenth grade, the exam is a nation-wide exam. In each grade, we must pass every subject. Otherwise, we must repeat that particular grade. Therefore, it is really hard to graduate from high school. After tenth grade, we can enter college. In the old days, there was no limit in choosing any major or professional field that we wanted. Things are not easy in my generation. The students have fewer opportunities to learn.
 
Transition                                      Signal
__________________                              __________________              
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________
__________________                              __________________


Material adapted from Tapestry Grammar by Deakins, Parry and Viscount. Heinle & Heinle. 1994. Writing passages are from student essays which appeared in Tapestry Grammar.
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