Not All Transitioning Words Are Useful in Academic Writing! Here’s Why.

When writing an essay, the importance of transitioning words cannot be overemphasized. In fact, your essay is significantly judged by your ability to use transitioning words. This is because transitioning words prevent your essay from being choppy or stilted, making it hard to read.

While linking words are essential, some aspects about the use of the linking words present challenges to most student. For instance, it is common to find students trying to find examples of transitioning words between paragraphs, examples of transition sentences and so forth.

While there are numerous transitioning words, not all are applicable in academic writing as you will be seeing.

What are Transitioning Words?

Transitioning words or linking words are used to make a connection between words, sentences or phrases to make text easy to read. This is because linking words help the reader progress from one idea to another easily.

Simply put, transitioning words are the threads you use to sew the different parts of your essay part onto one piece of ‘essay cloth’. How well you sew the different parts determines how strongly the different parts of your ‘essay cloth’ will hold and please the beholder, in this case your reader.

As you saw earlier, linking words cannot be done away with if quality is of importance to you. The readability of your text and the reader’s ability to understand your arguments is entirely pegged on effective use of transitioning words. In other words, your ability to convince your reader, and hence pass in your writing task, is significantly influenced by your ability to let your instructor flow from on idea or part of an essay easily.

Types of Transitioning Words

There numerous linking words. These linking words are categorized depending on their purpose. For instance, some transitioning words show an addition, others a sequence while others tend to compare and contrast sentences or paragraphs.

Below are some common linking words for the various categories


  • On the other hand
  • On the contrary
  • In spite of
  • Otherwise
  • Yet
  • Nonetheless
  • In contrast
  • Instead of
  • Even though


  • The reason why
  • In other words
  • Leads to
  • In order to
  • Cause of
  • Due to
  • Owing to
  • In other words
  • Because
  • Since


  • Consequently
  • Therefore
  • It follows that
  • In that case
  • Eventually
  • Admittedly
  • Thus
  • As a result


  • Initially
  • In the first stage
  • To begin with
  • Another advantage
  • Later
  • At this point
  • Following this
  • Firstly
  • Secondly
  • Initially
  • Another reason
  • The final reason/factor/effect
  • A further reason


  • Unless
  • Provided that
  • If
  • Depending on


  • Similarly
  • As well as
  • Another
  • In addition
  • Furthermore
  • And
  • And then
  • Too
  • Also
  • Besides
  • As well as
  • Not only …but also
  • In the same way


  • Undoubtedly
  • Of course
  • Certainly
  • Obviously


  • All things considered
  • As shown above
  • Generally speaking
  • Given these points
  • As can be seen
  • To sum up
  • In conclusion
  • In brief
  • Ultimately
  • To summarize
  • After all
  • In fact


  • In front of
  • In the distance
  • In the background
  • Next
  • Near
  • Alongside
  • Between
  • Before
  • Among
  • Beneath
  • Behind
  • Across

Are All Transitioning Words Useful When Writing Essays?

As earlier stated, connecting words are indispensable devices in writing. Linking words help make a connection between sentences and paragraphs to give your essay an awesome progression of ideas that is needed for an essay to be convincing.

But, are all transitioning words used when writing essays?

To answer this question, you need to understand the language used in writing essays. Essays use formal language as opposed to informal language that is used in communication. Informal language is characterized by slang, colloquialism and jargon.

Notably, informal language is often limited to specific social groups and may not be understood by everyone. For this reason, you must avoid informal language when writing your essay. This is further supported by the fact that informal language may contain inappropriate or vulgar words.

On the other hand, informal language is characterized by keen choice of words and professional language. For this reason, you need to consider your use of transitioning words when writing an essay.

Things to Consider When Choosing Transitioning Words to Use in Your Essay

  1. Use single words in place of phrases

You may have heard of the monster ‘wordiness’ in essay writing. This point is simply trying to avoid wordiness. For instance, it is advisable to use ‘conversely/contrarily’ instead of ‘on the contrary’ or ‘additionally’ in place of ‘In addition’.

Though the use of single words is encouraged, you may be forced to use phrasal transitions in cases when you are avoiding repetitions in your essay.

  1. Avoid linking words that tend to generalize or make assumptions

Essay writing is dependent on factual information. Following this reason, you would be better off avoiding instances when your essay makes unnecessary assumptions. The use of linking words such as obviously, certainly and undoubtedly tends to result in hasty generalization. By using them, you are presuming that your reader knows what you are professing resulting in logical fallacies.

  • Avoid overused linking words

When writing a conclusion, it is advisable to indicate that you are concluding. Most people advise that you do this by using transitioning words such as ‘In summary’, ‘In conclusion’, ‘To sum up’ and so forth. While this is often encouraged, it doesn’t portray you as a competent writer!

It would be much better that you start your conclusion section in a manner that, for instance, shows you are making an inference. For instance, it is better to start your conclusion as ‘The discussion of this paper implies …’ as opposed to ‘In summary’, ‘In conclusion’ or ‘To summarize’.

How to Use Transitioning Words Correctly

  1. Know the relationship between ideas and concepts

There are different types of transitioning words as earlier explained. Knowing how the ideas or concepts that you are connecting relate is crucial in knowing the type of transitioning word to use. For instance, you need to use contrasting linking word when you are comparing two ideas or concepts.

  1. Know your transitioning words

You cannot use linking words correctly unless you know their meaning. Besides, understanding the meaning of a linking word will help you know its category such as whether it is an addition, contrast or sequence linking word.

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