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Transitional adverbs

Posted by Manjusha Filed in English Writing

Transitional adverbs or transitions are words and phrases writers and speakers use to move from one sentence to the next. Using transitions properly is essential to indicate the rhetorical structure of your writing. Transitions make it easier for your readers to follow your arguments and explanation.

Here is a list of some of the most common transitional adverbs in English.

First, firstly, second, secondly, third, next, then, finally, lastly etc.

These transitional adverbs are used to show the order of ideas or facts. They may also indicate sequence.

Note that firstly, secondly etc., are more formal than first, second etc.

  • Firstly, we need to improve our productivity. Secondly, we need to cut costs. And thirdly, we need to compete in international markets.

Also, too, in addition, furthermore, moreover etc.

These are mainly used to add information.

  • Smoking is injurious to health. Also it makes you smell bad.
  • The cricketer played badly. In addition, he was extremely rude to press photographers.

However, on the other hand, but, yet, though, nevertheless, in contrast etc.

These expressions are used to show contrast or to make a concession.

  • I was a little afraid. However, I decided to try it.
  • She had little chance of getting the job. Nevertheless, she decided to apply.

Some grammarians insist that however cannot be used to begin a sentence, but this rule has been ignored by many great writers.

For example, to illustrate, for instance

These expressions are used to introduce examples.

  • Smoking is indeed a dangerous habit. For instance, have you thought of the thousands of people who get cancer because they smoke?

That is, in other words

These expressions are used to explain or elaborate on an idea.

  • Does she have the necessary skills and experience? In other words, can we hire her for this job?
  • His office is on the first floor. That is, the floor above the ground floor.
  • He is an oncologist. In other words, he treats people suffering from cancer.

In fact, indeed, as a matter of fact

These expressions are used to emphasize an idea or add a surprising anecdote.

  • The film was very bad indeed.
  • As a matter of fact, she is much older than her husband.
  • Smoking is a dangerous habit. In fact, it is one of the major risk factors that lead to cancer.
  • Susan is a renowned psychotherapist. In fact, she has been treating people with cognitive behavioural problems for well over two decades.

Sections in this article

How to vary and improve your sentences - part I
How to vary and improve your sentences - part II
Cardinal and ordinal numbers
Fractions and decimals
Numbers: differences between American and British usage



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