There are two basic types of transitions, conjunctive adverbs and conjunctions. Another type of transition is called a referent. Transition words and phrases are used to clarify the relationships between sentences. Transitions can be divided into groups according to their functions.
Types of Conjunctive Adverbs
A conjunctive adverb modifies the action by creating logical connections in meaning between independent clauses. Unlike conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs are not always at the beginning of the clause.
- Of addition
- also, besides, furthermore, moreover, etc.
- The condo complex has tennis courts; besides this, it has an indoor pool.
- He must have got stopped at the border crossing; otherwise, he would have arrived by now.
- The lecturer had a monotonous voice; furthermore, he jumped from one idea to another so that the lecture was very difficult to follow.
- Of contrast
- however, still, nevertheless, conversely, nonetheless, instead, etc.
- The printers are on strike; registered students will, nevertheless, receive course packages on time.
- We were able to run only four courses; still, this compares favourably with other summer programmes.
- It's really cold today; we can't complain, however, as it's been mild overall.
- Of comparison
- similarly, likewise
- Paul went to Lakeland college; his daughter, likewise, did her studies there.
- Kate is engrossed in her dogs; Martha is similarly obsessed with her horses.
- Of result
- therefore, hence, thus, consequently, etc.
- He rarely produced a day's work; he consequently lost his job.
- Caffeine is a stimulant; thus, it can keep a person awake at night.
- We discovered Ida's activities were duplicating those of Marla; we, therefore, assigned Ida other tasks.
- Of time
- next, then, meanwhile, finally, subsequently, etc.
- The chairman will be late for the meeting; meanwhile, we're to hand out minutes of the last meeting to the board members.
- The network has crashed; next, the power will go off.
- First boil the water; then, pour it over the tea bag.
Types of Conjunctions
A conjunction is used to join words or groups of words.
- Coordinating conjunctions
- join grammatically equivalent sentence elements
- and, for, or, yet, but, nor, so
- Edmonton and Calgary are the two largest cities in Alberta. (And joins two nouns.)
- Look in the cupboard or in the drawer. (Or joins two phrases.)
- You can't do that kind of heavy work, nor should you be expected to. (Nor joins two clauses.)
- Correlative conjunctions
- pairs of words that join words, phrases, and clauses of equivalent grammatical structure
- both . . . and
either . . . or
neither . . . nor
not . . . but
not only . . . but (also)
whether . . . or
- Both Susan and Bill received their ten-year pin this year.
- Either you get a job or you go back to school.
- Whether you stay or leave is entirely your decision.
- Subordinating conjunctions
These join clauses that are not equivalent grammatical structures. Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent clauses. These clauses cannot stand by themselves but must be joined to a main or independent clause.
The following is a list of words most often used as subordinating conjunctions:
||in order that
||in order to
||so as to
- In order to make feasible projections, we need to have reliable data.
- He's taller than you are.
- He looks as if he were about to cry.
A referent is a noun or noun phrase that occurred earlier in the text and is subsequently referred to using words such as it or this.
Example: Traditionally, business simply meant exchange or trade for things people wanted or needed. Today, it has a more technical definition. (it refers to business.)
Example: However, there is one other important factor. This factor is the creation of profit or economic surplus. (this factor refers to the same concept — one other important concept — in the previous sentence.)
* This information on referents is adapted from Business Concepts for English Practice by Marianne McDougal Arden and Barbara Tolley Dowling.
Note: there are other words and phrases that can also be used as referents.