Single-word Transitions

What are Single-word Transitions?

Single-word transitions connect the ideas of your essay, research paper, editorial, or report. Their main purpose is to draw the attention of readers, informing them of a shift or expansion in your ideas, arguments, tone, voice, perspective, and so on. They help readers interpret these changes logically. Furthermore, transitions provide structure and effective delivery not only to your paragraphs but also to individual sentences as you move from one point to the next. Seasoned writers use single-word transitions in a deliberate, accurate, and coherent manner. This is how they establish and present their line of thought articulately and ensure that readers follow and understand the topic of their writing. Here are some examples:

  • This part of the beach is dangerous because of sudden and unexpected wave surges. Furthermore, there are huge rocks alongside it that can cause serious or fatal injuries.
  • They arrived at the station two hours early. However, the train was delayed an hour longer.
  • I didn’t think it was possible because I don’t handle spicy food well. However, my palate learned to love Korean food, namely kimchi bokumbap, bulgogi, and dakdoritang.
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Single-word Transitions Rules

Effective transitions can make the structure of your writing refined and seamless. Here are some of the most common rules to develop proficiency in using them.

Know the link between your ideasUtilizing transitions successfully is contingent upon your understanding of the relationships between your ideas. This is the reason many writers apply brainstorming and idea-mapping exercises before they begin writing.

Mapping ideas is valuable because you can put your topic sentences and supplementary details in clear clusters. It makes it easy to identify whether your statement or paragraph will reinforce the previous points, provide a different perspective, or enumerate examples. The more solid your understanding is of the ideas you want to present, the more efficient you’ll be in recognizing which transition word is the best one to use.
Understand the nuances of single-word transitionsSingle-word transitions aren’t always as easy as they look. Bear in mind that many transition words can be used in different contexts. Additionally, transition words have many synonyms but it doesn’t always make them interchangeable. Some transitions also have different tones, with some being more applicable to formal writing (“therefore” as opposed to “so,” for example). Understand that between them are various connotations and nuances, so it’s important to grasp their distinctions completely.
Use the correct strategyMake sure that the transition you’ve chosen suits the logic of the ideas you are connecting or emphasizing. Consider using a transition only once in an essay and utilize their synonyms if you need to highlight a similar connection multiple times. Just like in any form of writing, repetition sounds clunky and boring. Read your essay out loud to check if your sentences are too wordy or have an awkward cadence.
Don’t overuse transitionsIt’s always a question of having too few or having too many. In other words, achieving the right balance is key. Remember that too many transition words can be distracting and off-putting. Similarly, using too few transitions can be jarring to readers as there may not be a proper introduction to a completely different idea or segment. Overall, failure to create a good balance makes your sentences difficult to read and diminishes the quality of being able to comprehend them. Always read what you’ve written and remove or add transitions accordingly.
Table of Rules for Single-word Transitions
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Examples of Single-word Transitions

1. Single-word Transitions of Addition

  • To renew your visa, you need to exit the country and return with the processing forms. Additionally, you need a sponsor letter from your employer.
  • Ian and I aren’t related but we are the same age and have the same family names. Also, we have the same birthdays.
  • First, they marinade the chicken with the following ingredients: soy sauce, onions, garlic, seasoning cubes, vinegar, and lime.
  • Desiree moved all the furniture out of the room. Then she covered the floor with newspapers.
  • Merci launched a new line of pastries inspired by the cuisine of the mountain tribe. Likewise, their competitor El Ideal launched their own line inspired by the natives of the coastal town.

2. Single-word Transitions of Cause & Effect

  • The club has a rigorous process for admitting new members. Therefore, their members are considered elite.
  • Because of heavy rainfall in the past two days, the city decided to cancel classes.
  • Several accidents have been reported around the cliff. Accordingly, the park authorities declared it a restricted area for the time being.
  • Since the new rental costs of LCD setups have increased, we may need to rethink the backdrop for the event.
  • Every student in the class failed the test, so the instructor scheduled a refresher course on Saturday.

3. Single-word Transitions of Conclusion

  • Finally, not all couriers will send SMS updates to sellers.
  • Obviously, the only reason the association got involved was that the video went viral.
  • Hence, it’s more productive to hold meetings on Fridays when nobody is out-of-office.
  • Ultimately, the only way to make a considerable profit is to buy more properties we can convert.
  • Altogether, it’s quite clear that this investment strategy isn’t beneficial in the long haul.

4. Single-word Transitions of Contrast

  • He’s still hungry despite having a huge lunch.
  • This research is solid. However, people will still do what they want.
  • Jenna’s team had a total of 150 sales last week, whereas yours only had 80.
  • They planned to stay at the resort for 3 days. Instead, they ended up staying 2 weeks.
  • Opening up a business in this climate is probably disastrous, but with an excellent strategy, it could be worth the risk.

5. Single-word Transitions of Example and Emphasis

  • Next, came the news of bandits, and people in town started locking their doors well before dusk.
  • Surely, Johnson didn’t mean for the family business to crumble.
  • The team brought snacks, namely finger sandwiches, pasta, and refreshments.
  • Notably, the shop’s social media accounts have seen almost 5 times more of their usual engagement.
  • Indeed, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.

6. Single-word Transitions of Time

  • Before leaving for Thailand, Bernard had three days’ worth of exploring mapped out.
  • Straightaway, the photography team set up a prep tent in the middle of the desert.
  • Eventually, you’ll be able to use the device mechanically.
  • You won’t be able to appreciate success until you experience failure.
  • Afterward, Ronnie and Al built a makeshift workstation near the campsite.
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Single-word Transitions Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Single-word Transitions

Complete the sentences by choosing the correct single-word transition below:

meanwhile, nonetheless, however, otherwise, despite, additionally, unless, whereas, therefore, instead

1. Consistent English conversations will improve your fluency. _____________, you’ll have many friends.

2. I’m afraid you’re not allowed to use the pool _____________ you show me your membership card.

3. I don’t have the clearance to process this type of loan. _____________, I’m endorsing your account to my supervisor.

4. The neighbor’s front year is always dirty, _____________ ours is always tidy.

5. Sheena’s mentors advised her against pursuing haute couture. _____________, she didn’t listen and went to Paris the following summer.

6. They should set the fiber line higher. _____________, the big trucks will yank it off again.

7. We may have lost the account, but we should still consider our effort worthwhile _____________.

8. Maricon got the promotion _____________ the fact that she has only worked here for 2 years.

9. Shaun realized he didn’t have the stomach for surgery, so he shifted his major to medical technology _____________.

10. My older brother Paul was mowing the lawn. _____________, our youngest brother Kevin was making a snowman out of the freshly cut grass.


1. Consistent English conversations will improve your fluency. Additionally, you’ll have many friends.

2. I’m afraid you’re not allowed to use the pool unless you show me your membership card.

3. I don’t have the clearance to process this type of loan. Therefore, I’m endorsing your account to my supervisor.

4. The neighbor’s front year is always dirty, whereas ours is always tidy.

5. Sheena’s mentors advised her against pursuing haute couture. However, she didn’t listen and went to Paris the following summer.

6. They should set the fiber line higher. Otherwise, the big trucks will yank it off again.

7. We may have lost the account, but we should still consider our effort worthwhile nonetheless.

8. Maricon got the promotion despite the fact that she has only worked here for 2 years.

9. Shaun realized he didn’t have the stomach for surgery, so he shifted his major to medical technology instead.

10. My older brother Paul was mowing the lawn. Meanwhile, our youngest brother Kevin was making a snowman out of the freshly cut grass.

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Single-word Transitions List

Below is a list of single-word transitions according to type. Note that many of them can overlap and may be used in different functions.

TypeDefinitionList of Examples
AdditionThese transition words introduce more information and reinforce the previous points stated in the writing. They are also used to express agreement or to highlight similarities.  

first, second, third, etc.
firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc.
Cause and EffectThis type of single-word transition connects consequences to their sources. It may also include transitions that indicate purposes, reasons, or conditions.accordingly
ConclusionThis type of transition word summarizes your writing. They often introduce the final or closing point or argument of the piece.altogether
ContrastThis type of transition introduces or establishes the connection between two opposing or differing ideas.albeit
Example and EmphasisThese transition words introduce further explanations and extra information to the points or ideas already introduced. They also provide clarification.certainly
TimeThis type of transition relates topics to points in time.    about
Single-word Transitions Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

You can think of single-word transitions as link builders. They act as bridges to connect actions and points. As a result, your ideas are logically structured. They also promote clarity and conciseness in your writing, making your piece sharp and easy for readers to follow.

For example:

  • Calvin likes desserts, specifically pastries but not ones that are heavily frosted.

Now, let’s try removing the transitions. This is how the rewritten sentence would appear:

  • Calvin likes desserts. He likes pastries. He doesn’t like ones that are heavily frosted.

There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right with the latter, isn’t there? That’s because transition words provide a “flow.” However, too many transitions aren’t a good thing either. A great way to know or get a feel for the right amount is to read samples of well-written material. Identify the transitions that the writers used and take note of how they did so. Then, apply what you’ve noted to your own writing.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand single-word transitions and transitional conjunctions.

Common Errors Made by English Learners

Common ErrorsExplanation/Examples
Incomplete sentencesMany students create incomplete sentences by accident after using single-word transitions. Take note that single-word transitions are subordinate conjunctions (e.g. such as if, so, because, or, and, etc.) so it is quite easy to write fragments. For example:


Because they did not get enough funding. They had to cancel the project.


Because they did not get enough funding, they had to cancel the project.
Informal transition wordsIn technical or business writing, it’s crucial to know which transitions are formal in tone. Single-word transitions like so, also, and, but, though, and so on are considered informal and shouldn’t be used to begin sentences in technical writing. You should replace them with transition words that are formal such as fundamentally and furthermore.


Also, Luciano’s painting used the same subjects to represent the holy grail.


Similarly, Luciano’s painting used the same subjects to represent the holy grail.
Mixing up meaningsIt’s important to know the exact meaning of single-word transitions in order to observe their correct usage. Many students confuse several transitions and use them incorrectly, which in time becomes habitual and hard to change. Also, ensure that the sentences you’re linking together make logical sense. You can’t use a transition of contrast if you’re adding a similar quality to your previous point.
Single-word Transitions Common Errors Table
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Learning Strategies and Best Practices for Single-word Transitions

For English language learners who are just getting into writing, using single-word transitions can be tricky. But there are several things you can observe to include in your writing process. Here are some of the best practices you can start with, which can be helpful for any writing task.

1. Mapping out ideas

Brainstorming can be tedious. However, it’s a great foundation for any writing requirement at hand. Making a map of your thesis statement or your main points and their supporting ideas establishes the connections you need to make in your essay. Would examples give a bigger impact? How about a contrast? You can easily identify which cluster would benefit more under a particular style.

2. Look for signs that your writing needs transition words.

Remember that you’re guiding your readers through your train of thought. If there are sections in your writing that sound uneven or abrupt, they most likely need transition words. Subsequently, make sure that you put transitions in the following instances: when you introduce an idea, deviate from it, and present another point.

3. Place transitions properly.

Honestly, single-word transitions can be placed anywhere in your writing. They could be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of your sentences. Generally, they are expected to occupy the beginning of most paragraphs. But this flexibility doesn’t mean it’s applicable to all transition words. The challenge is to determine the best placement. For example, they typically appear at the start of conclusive statements or paragraphs. In statements of contrast or enumeration, they could appear at the beginning or in the middle. Finally, in statements of emphasis, they can make a greater impression when put at the end.

4. Give your writing time to breathe.

When you finish writing, step away from your draft. Do something else. Then, return to it and read it aloud. This is a common thing for many writers as they can detect and analyze the flow of the piece. It helps them to edit by removing transition words that sound clunky or if there are too many. It also aids them to choose alternatives or to find segments in their writing that need transitions.

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Single-word Transitions Frequently Asked Questions

Single-word transitions are used to highlight connections in writing. They act as bridges for your ideas or points. They also serve as signals to your readers when you move from one idea to the next. Using transition words helps communicate your thoughts clearly in a way that readers can easily understand, interpret, or follow.

The 5 most widely used single-word transitions according to English language specialists are: and, but, furthermore, finally, and however. Here they are in sentence examples:

– The influencer didn’t show any remorse, and his official public statement was robotic at best.
– Dan’s kids wanted to ride the banana boat, but the weather became too worrisome to do it.
– Miranda Hall is in awful condition. There are leaks everywhere. Furthermore, the fire escape doors on three floors are jammed and can’t be opened.
Finally, the board agreed to fund the team’s research in the Galapagos.
– Things may have appeared advantageous to Tomas at the preliminary hearing. However, he still has to deal with eyewitness accounts.

There are four and each classification has subtypes with specific functions: additive (which includes any additional information), contrast (any statement that disagrees, dismisses, or emphasizes previous points), cause and effect, and time. Keep in mind that many transition words can belong to multiple types.

Yes. All ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) can be used as transitions. They generally function as additive transitions (to enumerate points or examples) and time transitions (to indicate sequence). 

Yes and no. No, because they aren’t a part of speech as a group. Yes, because they are actually examples of conjunctive adverbs. They are also called linking adverbs or connective adverbs. You’re probably thinking “So, are they conjunctions or are they adverbs?” Conjunctive adverbs are classified as conjunctions. It is what it is.

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