What are “transitions”?

From LitWiki

In both academic writing and professional writing, the goal is to relay information clearly and effectively, if not to convert the reader to your way of thinking. Transitions help you to suceed in these goals. Transitions establish logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of a paper. Transitions tell the reader what to do with the information that is presented to them. Whether single words, quick phrases or full sentences, transitions function as signs for readers that tell them how to think about, organize, and react to old and new ideas as they read through what is written.


  • The clarity and effectiveness of transitions depend on the organization of the paper.
  • In the margins of the draft it is good to summarize a word and how it fits into analysis as a whole. This exercise should help to see the order of and connection between your ideas more clearly.(Writing)

Types of Transitions

Transitions between sections

  • Particulary in longer works, it may be necessary to include transitional paragraphs that summarize for the reader the information just covered.(Writing)

Transitions between paragraphs

  • Takes the topic sentence of the first paragraph and molds it with the topic sentence of the second paragraph. The transition between paragrahs can be a word or two, a phrase, or a sentence.(Writing)


...Presenting all sides of an event or topic will help keep the article close to the truth.

The only truth tat exists in a society with government controlled media is that of the government...

Transitions within paragraphs

  • Transitions withing paragraphs act as cues by helping readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. Within paragraphs, transitions are usually single words or short phrases.(Writing)

Transitional Expressions

  • Effectively constructing each transition often depends upon the ability to identify words or phrases that will indicate for the reader the kind of logical realationships you want to convey.(Panguin)


Commonly used words within transitional expressions

  • and
  • also
  • besides
  • for example
  • but
  • however
  • in short
  • after
  • as
  • above
  • so

Words not only used as transitions, but also used to show

  • addition
  • give examples
  • compare
  • contrast
  • summarize
  • passing of time
  • place or direction
  • logical relationships

Transitional Paragraphs

  • If blocks of text are long then a transitional paragraph may be needed. A transitional paragraph summarizes the previous information as well as establishes its relevence to the next section of information. A transitional paragraph provides a logical step from one part of a block of text to the next part
  • Transitions allow the reader to continue reading at a steady pace and prevent the reader from making unnecesary pauses after every five sentences.


  • Although the great apes have demonstrated significant language skills, one central question remains: Can they be taught to use that uniquely human language tool we call grammar, to learn the difference, for instance, between "ape bite human" and "human bite ape"? In other words, can an ape create a sentence?(Hacker 35)

Works Cited

  • ---. "Link Across Paragrpahs." The Brief Panguin Handbook. New York: Long-Pearson Education, Inc. 2003: p. 50-51.
  • Hacker, Diana. "Providing Transitions." A Writer's Reference. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's 2003: p. 33-35.

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