Transition Words for College Essays
College essays, regardless of the topic at hand, are all about making connections. Whatever your main point, it must be seamlessly linked from one paragraph to the next to boost readability and provide cohesion. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with transition words. Sometimes called conjunctive adverbs, they can help a reader follow your arguments. Ignoring the proper use of transition words is to your detriment and can interfere with your college essay’s natural flow.
Common transition words
There are approximately 200 transition words in the English language. They are used to connect ideas, introduce a shift in thinking, contrast or oppose a viewpoint, provide emphasis or agreement, or signal a conclusion.
Here are some examples of effective transition words:
Common Transition Words for College Essays
At this time
Apart from this
Despite/In spite of
As well as
First and foremost
In the final analysis
In contrast (to)
In the end
Take into account
In addition to
Last but not least
On the whole
When and how to use transition words
Understanding the importance of transition words is not the same as knowing when and how to use them correctly. If you find yourself struggling to shift from one point to the next logically, chances are you are not using transition words effectively. It also is possible that the concepts in your outline do not build on each other naturally. Before you adjust your copy, create another outline with the main topics and sub-topics. Does the order flow smoothly? If one topic is not a logical transition to the next, try shifting the order of topics, so they also make sense in your outline.
Never use transition words alone and follow them with special punctuation. There are rules about which types of punctuation are most appropriate. In most cases, use semicolons and periods after the opening sentence. Never use a semicolon unless the group of words on either side of it are a complete sentence. Use a comma to denote how the clause relates to the previous phrase.
In this sentence, we are using the transition word consequently to signal we are concluding our thought:
Single-use plastics pollute our environment and poison our wildlife. Large plastic pieces can break into smaller fragments, finding their way into the stomachs of more than 90 percent of the world’s sea birds. Consequently, they should be banned and replaced with an eco-friendly alternative.
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