As a “part of speech,” Common English transition words and phrases are used to link words, phrases or sentences. They help the reader to progress from one idea. Thus, they help to build up coherent relationships within the text.
Common English Transition Words and Phrases
The table below contains some common English transition words and phrases. All of them are explained with examples to be useful for ESL learners.
Transition Words and Phrases
|Showing a Contrast|
|Showing a Concession|
|Showing a Similarity|
|Showing a Result|
|Establishing Time Relation or Sequence|
|Showing a Condition|
|Explaining or Emphasizing|
|Giving an Alternative|
1. Coordinating Conjunctions (and, but, or, yet, so): Put a comma before these conjunctions. (Don’t use them at the beginning of a sentence in more formal writing.)
- The movie has already started, but my friend has not arrived yet.
2. Correlative Conjunctions (These have two parts: either . . . or):
Put a comma before the second part if it connects 2 clauses (complete sentences).
- Eric is not only an outstanding teacher, but he is also a gourmet cook.
You don’t need a comma if it only connects words or phrases.
- Common English Transition Words and Phrases is not only important for ESL learners to learn but also to use them in their speaking and writing.
3. The position of Transitional Words and Phrases in sentences :
- Put a comma after the transition word if it is used at the beginning of the second sentence.
Example: I like to travel. Specifically, I enjoy places with a lot of greenery.
- Use a semicolon before the transition word and a comma after it to connect two sentences.
Example: I like to travel; specifically, I enjoy places with a lot of greenery.
- Use a comma before and after the transitional word/phrase in the middle of a clause.
Example: I like to travel. I, specifically, enjoy places with a lot of greenery.
- Use a comma before the transition word if it is used at the end of the second sentence
Example: I like to travel. I enjoy places with a lot of greenery, specifically.