List of Transition Words and Phrases for Essays & Guide to Using Them

Writing essays is a creative task that requires a student to present their concepts and ideas in a flowing and organized manner. This helps the reader to enjoy the flow of your write-up as they get to understand every element of your paper or piece of narration.

There are many strategies to keep the reader engaged and follow the story of your essay. Using transition words for essays, for instance, is one perfect way to spice up your paper and make it outstanding. There are many transition words to include in essays, and not all of the phrases will fit in any essay. That is why in this piece, we give you a detailed guide on using such phrases for essays. Want to learn more? Keep reading.

Transition words for research papers: what are transition words?

Also known as linking words, AP lang transition words are phrases that connect one section of writing to the next section. Such phrases are usually used between sections of a speech or text and between paragraphs. These transitions play a crucial role in essays as they signal the reader what to expect next and how the texts relate to the next statements.

Note: while transition words contribute to a better aspect of your essay, they can either improve or make your essay meaningless. Therefore, not every part of your essay requires a transition word. Besides, do not overuse these phrases as they can make the essay boring or lack meaning.

Common and most used transition words are the transition words order. Here, the writer presents the points in a logical order. A perfect example is First, second, third, in that order

Transition words for essays: types of transitions

Transition words come in different forms, depending on the document type, complexity of the text, the length, and the text itself. Therefore, these transition words can be in the form of:

1. Transition between paragraphs

In essay writing, your work will likely be divided into paragraphs, especially in the main body section. Each paragraph usually has a significant point to present. Therefore, you can use transition words and commas to connect the reader to the next paragraph. When you use transition phrases between paragraphs, the purpose is to sum up the paragraph’s context while linking the reader to the next point in the next paragraph.

2. Transition between sections

Sometimes, your document can be lengthy. However, when you want to sum up a given section to make it easy for the reader, you can use transitions between the sections to sum up the ideas. Such a transition also links the reader to the next concept.

3. Transition within paragraphs

These phrases are usually single words or short phrases used as cues to link the reader to the next statement within paragraphs.

List of transition words for research papers

Below, we exploit different transition words you can apply to different essay types.

Transition words for a persuasive essay

If you are crafting a persuasive essay, the goal is to convince the reader of your argument. Therefore, the following transition words will come in handy:

  • To qualify a point – use phrases like probably and perhaps
  • To sum up a concept – finally, in conclusion, all in all, overall
  • To add points – first, second, third, furthermore, as well
  • To emphasize a concept – most importantly, in fact, most significant

Transition words for descriptive essay

Descriptive writing is all about explaining to the reader something. Therefore, use transition phrases likes:

  • Adjacent to
  • Nearby
  • To the east, west, north, or south
  • Below
  • Above

Note: while choosing transition phrases for a descriptive essay, they should match with what you are describing if it is a direction or a process to do something.

Transition words for narrative writing

A narrative essay is all about explaining an event through a captivating story. Therefore, the following transition words would be of great help:

  • In the beginning
  • Soon after
  • During
  • Later on
  • Just then

Transitional words for cause and effect essay

The cause and effect essay is mainly to give detailed information on a given issue. Therefore, use transition words such as

  • Due to
  • Because of
  • Therefore
  • Hence or thus
  • As a result of


Do not present your bland essay when you can include some phrases that will make your essay top-notch. Make this write-up your reference point when using transition words in your essays for great results.


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