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Transitional Phrases

There are some rather "standard" transitional phrases that you probably use in your everyday speech and writing. Some examples include:

  • again
  • similarly
  • therefore
  • in conclusion
  • however
  • conversely
  • for example
  • as a matter of fact

You might not have ever labeled these words as transitional phrases, but that is why we all use them. Here is a key point to take away from this lesson: Changing a transition can change your meaning. Look at these three sentences:

  • I like my job because it keeps me busy.
  • I like my job even though it keeps me busy.
  • I like my job when it keeps me busy.

These three sentences all convey very different meanings, even though the only difference is the transitional phrase. In the first sentence, the person clearly likes being busy. In the second sentence, it seems the person would be happy if less busy. And in the third sentence, we see that being busy is critical to this person's job satisfaction.

Standard Transitional Phrases

Standard transitional phrases all have different purposes. Some continue thoughts, some signal a conclusion, some contrast ideas, and some make comparisons or illustrations. The table below lists transitional phrases and the purpose of each. This is not all-inclusive, but does provide a number of examples. Notice how the transitional phrase in each example helps change the meaning of each sentence.

Continuation

Conclusion
Contrast
Comparison/Illustration

Again
Also
Similarly
Besides
Furthermore
In addition
Moreover
Likewise

Example:     
No one can doubt his honesty. Besides, he had no motive for robbery.

As a result
Consequently
Hence
So
Therefore
Thus
Accordingly
In short
In conclusion
Because

Example:
No one can doubt his honestly; therefore, we should stop accusing him.
 

But
However
On the contrary
On the other hand
Yet
Instead
Conversely
In spite of
Still
Nor
Even though
Unfortunately

Example:
No one can doubt his honesty; however, it is suspicious that he was found walking out of the safe with bags of money.

For example
That is
In other words
In fact
As a matter of fact

Example:
No one can doubt his honesty. As a matter of fact, he was not even in town the night of the robbery.

Nonstandard Transitional Phrases

While the table can be very helpful, keep in mind that it is not all-inclusive. Further, you should not limit your transitions to these standard phrases – if for no other reason, your writing would become dull and repetitive.

To ensure the strength of your writing and clarity of meaning, it is important to keep your focus on the meaning you intend to convey, and do your best to write appropriate and clear transitions. Study the paragraph below to see how standard and nonstandard transitional phrases are used. See if you can locate the transitional phrases in each of these paragraphs. After you think you have located all of them, click the Reveal Transitions button to display them all.

Example 1

Bank management has not adopted a long-term strategic plan. According to many experts, strategic planning can be a valuable tool for current and future management. Strategic planning can assist management in carrying out the projected goals. Although bank management prepares an annual budget and compares it with actual results monthly, adoption of a strategic plan is recommended.

Example 2

Given the bank’s deteriorating financial condition, an MOU is recommended. Although asset quality is satisfactory, it, nevertheless, is declining. In addition, earnings performance has declined and now lags historical and peer group performance. Also, asset growth must be contained to allow staff adequate time to stabilize and reverse current trends.


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