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Common Transition Words

时间:2017-09-09 17:10来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]


In 1963, President John Kennedy gave a famous speech at American University. In the speech, Kennedy said the following lines:

"Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny1 is beyond human beings."

Today's report is not about global problems. Nor is it about human destiny. Instead, it is about something much more exciting: transition2 words.

What are transitions3?

Transitions are words that show relationships between ideas. According to grammar experts Susan Conrad and Douglas Biber, transitions are most common in academic writing.

These transition words have different uses. They can suggest that a result, clarification, or example is coming. We will now look at each of these uses in greater detail.

#1 Expressing a result

Transition words that show a result include therefore and thus.

The words you heard at the beginning of this report give you one example of therefore:

"Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man."

In the quote, the word therefore connects two statements: "Our problems are manmade" and "they [our problems] can be solved by mankind."

The word therefore suggests "for that reason" or "because of that..."

Thus has a similar meaning. Academic writers often use it as a way to show a summary or conclusion. You might read a paragraph that begins with the words "Thus, we conclude that..."

In this case, the word thus is referring to ideas or arguments presented earlier in the written work.

In general, the writer is saying that the reasons already presented lead them to their conclusion.

#2 Restating or clarifying an idea

A second use of transitions is to restate or clarify ideas. Common examples include in other words and i.e.

Consider this example from a past Everyday Grammar program:

"Adverbials can appear at different places in a sentence. In other words, they are movable."

In the example, the second sentence restates and clarifies the idea that comes in the first sentence. This added example helps to make the point more memorable4 and easier to understand.

I.e. can also restate or clarify an idea. Writers often use it in parenthetical statements or phrases.

The Everyday Grammar writer could have written the following words:

"Adverbials can appear at different places in a sentence (i.e. they are movable).

This sentence has a similar meaning to the first sentence, although it is different stylistically.

#3 Giving an example

A final group of transition words show that the writer is about to provide an example. Common words include for example and for instance.

Consider how President Ronald Reagan uses for example in his address to the United Nations in 1988:

"That is why when human rights progress is made, the United Nations grows stronger-and the United States is glad of it. Following a 2-year effort led by the United States, for example, the U.N. Human Rights Commission5 took a major step toward ending the double standards and cynicism that had characterized6 too much of its past."

Reagan's second sentence, although lengthy7, supports the point that he makes in the first sentence. This is a useful pattern to use both in writing and formal speaking.


The transitions we have discussed today can appear at different places in a sentence.

This movability is important to understand for students of writing.

Think back to Reagan's speech. He used for example in the middle of his sentence.

"Following a 2-year effort led by the United States, for example, the U.N. Human Rights Commission took a major step toward ending the double standards and cynicism that had characterized too much of its past."

Reagan could have used for example at another place in the sentence – the very beginning, for one.

Such a sentence would have sounded like this:

"For example, following a 2-year effort led by the United States, the U.N. Human Rights Commission took a major step toward ending the double standards and cynicism that had characterized too much of its past."

Do not use transitions too often

Now that you have learned about transitions, you should practice using them.

However, do not use them too often. Your reader or listener might lose interest if you use too many transitions.

Also, you should be careful about using the transitions we have talked about today while speaking. They are polite and acceptable8; however, they can make you sound very formal.

With time and practice, you will learn how and when to use transitions correctly.

And now, it is time for us to transition to the end of our report.

I'm John Russell.

And I'm Alice Bryant.

Words in the Story

transition – n. writing words or phrases that provide a connection between ideas, sentences and paragraphs.

academic – adj. of or relating to schools and education

restate – v. to say (something) again or in a different way especially to make the meaning clearer

adverbial – n. a word that describes a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a sentence and that is often used to show time, manner, place, or degree

double standard – n. a situation in which two people, groups, etc., are treated very differently from each other in a way that is unfair to one of them

cynicism – n. cynical9 beliefs: beliefs that people are generally selfish and dishonest

movability – n. capable of being moved


1 destiny vvIxu     
  • Nobody knows his own destiny.没有人知道自己的命运。
  • It was her destiny to become famous.她命里注定出名。
2 transition 7nOwT     
  • Adolescence is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood.青春期是童年与成年之间的过渡时期。
  • They all support a peaceful transition.他们全部都支持和平过渡。
3 transitions 34fe3c1def90f54754c23fb8df6dbeb0     
过渡,转变,变迁( transition的名词复数 )
  • Before explaining a workflow, I'll explain a few simple pieces of terminology: states and transitions. 在解释什么是工作流之前,我先来解释几条简单的术语:状态(states)和过渡(transitions)。
  • Both ionization and excitation lead to eletronic transitions that may be the emission of light. 电离和激发都将导致可能伴随有光发射的电子跃迁。
4 memorable K2XyQ     
  • This was indeed the most memorable day of my life.这的确是我一生中最值得怀念的日子。
  • The veteran soldier has fought many memorable battles.这个老兵参加过许多难忘的战斗。
5 commission 1bkyS     
  • The salesman can get commission on everything he sells.这个售货员能得到所售每件货物的佣金。
  • The commission is made up of five people,including two women.委员会由五人组成,其中包括两名妇女。
6 characterized b5a3a6f8ba328c165c65eecbe476fb72     
adj.[医]具有特征的v.是…的特征( characterize的过去式和过去分词 );以…为特征;描述(人或物)的特性;使…具有特点(或最引人注目的特征)
  • Mozart's music is characterized by its naivety and clarity. 莫扎特的音乐特色是纯朴兴清澈。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The world situation is characterized by turbulence and intranquility. 世界局势动荡不安。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
7 lengthy f36yA     
  • We devoted a lengthy and full discussion to this topic.我们对这个题目进行了长时间的充分讨论。
  • The professor wrote a lengthy book on Napoleon.教授写了一部有关拿破仑的巨著。
8 acceptable NIByZ     
  • The terms of the contract are acceptable to us.我们认为这个合同的条件可以接受。
  • Air pollution in the city had reached four times the acceptable levels.这座城市的空气污染程度曾高达可接受标准的四倍。
9 cynical Dnbz9     
  • The enormous difficulty makes him cynical about the feasibility of the idea.由于困难很大,他对这个主意是否可行持怀疑态度。
  • He was cynical that any good could come of democracy.他不相信民主会带来什么好处。
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