Writing Personal Statements Online

Transitions

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In personal essays, often the best transitions are simply contextual and straightforward, especially if you’re working under the constraint of a low word count. For instance, to discuss graduate research plans, you might simply open a sentence with “For my graduate research, I plan to . . . .” In broader circumstances, to transition from one idea to another, writers turn to the list below—handy because the transitions are sorted by function, emphasizing the work they do. When choosing a transition from this list, focus on providing connective tissue that moves us through time, provides example or interpretation, or advances argument.

Self-Study

For more extensive lists and advice related to using transition words and phrases, turn to these college websites:

“Transition Words” page from the Learning Resources Center at Michigan State University

"Transitional Words and Phrases" article from the Illinois Valley Community College

Table of Commonly Used Transition Words
Interpretation Fortunately
Interestingly
Significantly
Surprisingly
Closure Finally
In sum
On the whole
Causality Accordingly
Consequently
For this reason
Hence
Therefore
Thus
Similarity In the same way
Likewise
Similarly
Amplification Again
Also
Equally important
First, Second, etc.
Further
In addition
Moreover
Emphasis Above all
Certainly
Clearly
Indeed
In fact
In short
Obviously
Of course
Example For example
For instance
To illustrate
Time Afterward
Earlier
Next
Simultaneously
Soon
Contrast In contrast
However
Nevertheless
On the contrary
On the other hand
Still
Detail In essence
In particular
In relation to
Impressively
Namely
Specifically