Essay Transition Words For Middle School

What are Transition Words? Transition words and phrases help make your essay flow smoothly from paragraph to paragraph. You can use them at the ends and beginnings of paragraphs, as well as in your introduction and conclusion. Transition words and phrases can be used in every type of essay, but they are most appropriate in expository or argumentative essays in which it’s important to present your ideas in a clear, logical flow. Read on for more insight into transition words for essays, including lists, examples and descriptions of how to use them in your writing.

Transition Words that Compare and Contrast

Comparison and contrast transition words are obviously helpful when writing a compare/contrast essay, but you can also use them to compare two different pieces of information in an expository or argumentative essay. You may also use comparison and contrast transition words to contrast two different experiences in a narrative essay or to compare two different people, places or objects in a descriptive essay.

Here are some of the most common comparison words, followed by examples:

  • also
  • in the same way
  • likewise
  • similarly

Comparison Transition Words sentence examples:

  • In the same way, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech inspired a generation.
  • Similarly, my vacation to the beach was also peaceful and fun, just like my week at summer camp.

Here are some of the most common contrast words, followed by examples:

  • but
  • however
  • in spite of
  • on the one hand/on the other hand
  • in contrast
  • on the contrary
  • still
  • yet

Contrast Transition Words sentence examples:

  • However, this delicious breakfast was not as memorable as the dinner my family shared that evening.
  • In contrast, my grandmother is always cracking jokes while my grandfather stays serious.

Sequence/Order Transition Words

Sequence words are especially important in narrative essays, where you must guide your reader through the events of your story. Sequence words can be used at the start of each paragraph to clearly mark out what happened first, next and so on. In addition, you can also use sequence words in informational essays that communicate historical events. They are also helpful in essays where you are writing about a book or movie and need to briefly summarize the plot. Here are some sequence/ordering words, followed by examples:

  • first
  • second
  • third
  • next
  • then
  • finally


  • First, my mom dropped me off at school that fateful morning.
  • Then, I saw an unbelievable sight!
  • Finally, the zookeepers showed up and led the baby elephant into the back of a hay-filled truck.

Transition Word Examples

Example transition words can help you provide evidence in argumentative essays and add interesting detail in descriptive and narrative essays. There are many different kinds of example words and phrases you can use to keep your writing interesting and avoid repetition in a longer essay. Here are some of the most common example words:

  • for example
  • for instance
  • namely
  • specifically
  • to illustrate

Here are some additional example transition words you may use in your writing, followed by examples:

  • additionally
  • again
  • also
  • and
  • as well
  • besides
  • equally important
  • further
  • furthermore
  • in addition


  • For example, one study explained that students who participate in extracurricular activities have a higher overall homework completion rate.
  • Furthermore, engagement in nonacademic activities has been shown to increase confidence in children between the ages of 11 and 14.

Conclusion Transition Words

Conclusion words help signal to the reader that you are coming to the end of your essay. A strong conclusion paragraph will begin with a clear conclusion word or phrase that will help to sum up your overall points. Here are some of the most common conclusion words and phrases, followed by examples:

  • finally
  • briefly
  • in conclusion
  • in the end
  • on the whole
  • thus
  • to conclude
  • to summarize
  • in sum
  • to sum up
  • in summary


  • In conclusion, school uniforms can help improve students’ focus in the middle school classroom.
  • In sum, voting is an important part of our democracy and something we shouldn’t take for granted.

Transition Words

Transition words tie two thoughts together and add fluency to writing. Words such as “although,” “however,” and “for example,” play an important role to help move smoothly from one paragraph to another. However, they also help a reader to understand location, similarities and differences, or main points.  There are several categories of concluding transitions, and understanding each is important to choosing a good word or phrase for a sentence or paragraph. We've included helpful lists,  and printable worksheets below.

Scroll  Directly to Printable Transition Word Worksheets.

Place and Space Transition Words

These transition words of place and space help the reader understand location.

Example:  Nearby, the teachers were meeting in a closed-door session.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
aboveacrossaroundadjacent to
insidenearbyneighboring onopposite to

Comparison / Contrast Transition Words

These transition words of comparison and contrast emphasize either the similarities of two ideas or the difference between them.

Example: Similarly, the harvest dance was also held on a Friday night.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
after alland yetat the same timebut
by the same tokenhoweverin contrastin like manner
in similar fashionin the same waylikewisenevertheless
notwithstandingon the contraryon the other handotherwise

Cause / Purpose / Condition Transition Words

These transition words of cause, purpose, and condition guide the reader from an idea to its underlying root.

Example: Even if the school district pays for half of the students’ breakfasts, there still will be those without enough resources to pay for the remaining amount.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
becauseeven iffor that reasonfor this purpose
given thatgrantedinasmuch asin order that
on account ofprovided thatsinceso that
to be sureto that endto this end

Conclusion / Summary Transition Words

These transition words of conclusion and summary allow the writer to recap one point before moving to the next or to the end.

Example: Ultimately, no one has more influence on a student ’s grades than the student himself.

Read more about how to write a conclusion paragraph.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
all in allall things consideredaltogetherfinally
in briefin conclusionin essencein short
in summaryin the final analysisto concludeto sum up
to summarizeultimately

Time / Sequence Transition Words

These transition words of time and sequence explain order or chronology to the reader.

Example: In the meantime, the library will be closed during lunch.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
afterafterwardsalwaysat length
immediatelyin the meantimelaterearlier
occasionallyoncesimultaneouslyso far
this timeuntil nowwhenwhenever

Effect / Result / Qualification Transition Words

These transition words of effect, result, and qualification take the reader from the problem to its consequences or possible results.

Example: Consequently, fewer students are able to take courses in the fine arts: music, art, and drama.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
accordinglyalmostas a resultalthough
henceforthin that casemaybenever
perhapsprobablyso thentherefore

Addition / Extension Transition Words

These transition words of addition and extension are used to add to a previous idea or extend the logic or argument.

Example: Furthermore, the student council has unanimously endorsed the revised calendar for the school.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
besideseven morefinallyfirst (or in the first place)
furtherfurthermorein additionin the same way
last, lastlylikewisemoreovernext
second, secondly, etc. (or in the second place)similarlythird (etc.)too

Example / Clarification / Emphasis Transition Words

These transition words of example, clarification, and emphasis are used by writers to explain a point or to give emphasis.

Example: In other words, a longer school day may provide more opportunities instead of fewer.

Word List (Open PDF Version)
above allas an illustrationby all meanscertainly
e.g., (for example)especiallyfor examplefor instance
i.e., (that is)importantlyin factin other words
indeedmore importantlynoof course
particularlyspecificallysurelythat is to say
to clarifyto demonstrateto explainto illustrate
to put another wayto repeatto rephrase itundoubtedly
without a doubtyes

As you can see, there are a great many choices when deciding which word best connects sentences or paragraphs. While not easy, understanding how these "connecting" words work make writing much easier for students.

Free, Printable Worksheets

Correct the Transition Word Mistakes – Worksheet

Have your students revise sentences and correct transition word mistakes with this educational writing activity.

Grade Levels:
4th and 5th Grade, 6th - 8th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.5.2.c, W.6.2.c, W.7.2.c, W.8.2.c

Identify the Transition Words

Help your students identify different transition words with this printable writing worksheet.

Grade Levels:
4th and 5th Grade, 6th - 8th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.5.2.c, W.6.2.c

Transition Words: Complete the Sentence

Enhance your students’ writing skills with this “Complete the Sentence” transition words activity.

Grade Levels:
4th and 5th Grade, 6th - 8th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.5.2.c, W.6.2.c, W.7.2.c

Transition Words: Connecting Ideas

Teach your students how to connect ideas with this helpful transition words classroom activity.

Grade Levels:
4th and 5th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):

Using Transition Words

In this worksheet, your students will learn how to properly use transition words in a sentence.

Grade Levels:
4th and 5th Grade, 6th - 8th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.5.2.c, W.6.2.c, W.7.2.c

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