How to use the transitional words and phrases in 12 ways


The word ‘transition’ is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as a passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another – or simply a change.

What are transitional devices then?

In its context, transitional devices serve as means to change the direction of ideas in a sentence or in a paragraph. A transitional device can be a word or phrase that is added at the beginning, middle, or end of a clause. They help to make the flow of thoughts smooth and coherent.

We use transitional devices every day, even in a casual conversation. In fact, the most common transitional words we use are the coordinating conjunctions, also known as the acronym FANBOYS, meaning for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

  • He bought his sister waffles for she won the declamation.
  • I asked him to close the door, and she happily obliged.
  • Neither washing the shirt well nor buying a new one won’t make her friend stop crying.
  • You invited him, but he didn’t go.
  • Kim didn’t review, yet he still passed the exam.
  • The dog lost his ball, so he went quiet the whole day.

However, these were not enough to show all the relationships of sentences, especially in constructing a larger composition. Below is a list of transitional words and phrases to bridge that gap.


This helps to build up an idea by putting further details.

  • in addition
  • additionally
  • moreover
  • also
  • furthermore

My best friend is a singer and dancer. Also, she is a tattoo artist.


This is to give a more concrete idea of the subject.

  • for example
  • for instance
  • such as
  • specifically

You should live a healthier lifestyle, such as avoiding junk food and doing exercises.


This is to show the similarity of two or more ideas being talked about.


  • likewise
  • similarly
  • just as
  • equally

I am so delighted to see her again. Likewise, she is so grateful for our unexpected reunion.


This is to show the difference between two or more ideas being talked about.

  • nevertheless
  • however
  • but
  • on the other hand
  • in contrast
  • on the contrary
  • conversely
  • at the same time
  • still
  • although
  • even though
  • despite
  • in spite of

The new employee felt she didn’t manage to discuss her report well. On the contrary, the manager was impressed.


This means the admission of a claim that is pointed out or submitting to something.


  • although
  • even though
  • of course
  • granted
  • while

Even though the world had been cruel to me, I decided to keep a good heart.


This is to add intensity or importance to the subject matter.

  • more importantly
  • most importantly
  • chiefly
  • indeed
  • in fact
  • primarily
  • no doubt

Indeed, he was a genius.


Repetition or paraphrasing of what has been said.

  • again
  • in other words
  • in effect
  • that is
  • in short

She is pluviophile. In other words, she loves watching the rain.



This creates cause-and-effect relationships between/among clauses.


  • therefore
  • hence
  • thus
  • as a result
  • resulting in
  • so
  • consequently

My father broke my mother’s favorite cup, so he bought a new one that looked like it.





Usually, this is used in giving instructions or step-by-step procedure.

  • initially
  • first
  • second
  • next
  • then
  • finally

First, put the cereals in a bowl. Next, add some milk. Then, lightly stir. Finally, serve it for yourself!


This is to indicate the time.

  • last
  • at last
  • eventually
  • before
  • after,
  • afterwards
  • finally
  • during
  • then
  • when
  • as

When you arrived, the ceremony had already begun.


This describes something about the location or place.

  • to the right
  • to the left
  • in the background
  • in the foreground
  • in the distance

A thick cluster of trees stood side by side, but in the distance, I caught a glimpse of the beach.


It indicates the conclusion or resolution of something.

  • thus
  • finally
  • in the end

I had to fall to lose it all. In the end, it doesn’t even my matter.