Transition words

Transition words hold your writing together, like glue. They show the relationships between ideas and information, and can work at the sentence, paragraph or section level.

When you use transition words you are showing your reader that you can see the connections between ideas. You are also making these connections clear for your reader.

Transition words include words and phrases such as:

  • moreover
  • furthermore
  • as a result
  • however

You can go to transition words for an extensive list.

Examples of transition words in Engineering and Science theses

Example 1

Due to the importance of ground water as a resource its protection from contamination is essential… In the past, …ground water has been contaminated due to poor planning, deliberate actions and accidents. As a result there is presently a need for reliable and efficient remediation technologies (Dasey, 1996, p.1).

Example 2

Antibiotic resistance poses a serious problem worldwide and leads to difficulties in implementing effective treatment of bacterial infections. Furthermore, infections caused by resistant pathogens are associated with higher rates of morbidity and mortality (Jones, 2004, p.10).

Example 3

Although Ohtsuka et al. were able to achieve high efficiency for photolithographic DSBC structures that have back surface field (BSF) made from BN solid sources, the p+ region was only a small area of the whole solar cell structure. Therefore the bulk minority carrier lifetime degradation was greatly reduced by limiting the diffusion to a small area (Chen, 2003, p.2-15).


The following exercise gives a (non-scientific) look at the difference that transition words can make to a piece of writing. Compare the two versions of the text. See how the use of transition words in Example 2 shows the connections between ideas.

Example 1: No transition words

The cat sat on the mat. The mat’s fibres were flattened. The mat was less comfortable. The mat's appearance was spoiled. The owner gave the mat to the dog to lie on. The dog was greatly pleased by the new mat. The cat was very resentful. There was tension between the cat and the dog. They had been good companions for years. They fought over the mat. The cat had tactical superiority. The dog had greater physical strength. The dog killed the cat. The owner wrapped the cat's body in the mat. The owner buried it in the yard. The dog died of grief.

Example 2: Transition words

The cat sat on the mat. As a result, the mat’s fibres were flattened. The consequence of this was to make the mat less comfortable. Furthermore, the mat’s appearance was also spoiled. The owner therefore gave the mat to the dog to lie on. Although the dog was greatly pleased by the new mat, the cat was very resentful. The result of this was to create tension between the cat and the dog, despite the fact that they had been good companions for years. Ultimately, they fought over the mat. Unfortunately, in spite of the cat’s tactical superiority, the dog had greater physical strength and killed the cat. The owner then wrapped the cat’s body in the mat and buried it in the yard. Subsequently, the dog died of grief.

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