Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Change will not be effected, say some others, unless individual actions raise the necessary awareness.

While a reader can see the connection between the sentences above, it’s not immediately clear that the second sentence is providing a counterargument to the first. In the example below, key “old information” is repeated in the second sentence to help readers quickly see the connection. This makes the sequence of ideas easier to follow.  

Sentence pair #2: Effective Transition

Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Other experts argue that individual actions are key to raising the awareness necessary to effect change.

You can use this same technique to create clear transitions between paragraphs. Here’s an example:

Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Other experts argue that individual actions are key to raising the awareness necessary to effect change. According to Annie Lowery, individual actions are important to making social change because when individuals take action, they can change values, which can lead to more people becoming invested in fighting climate change. She writes, “Researchers believe that these kinds of household-led trends can help avert climate catastrophe, even if government and corporate actions are far more important” (Lowery).

So, what’s an individual household supposed to do?

The repetition of the word “household” in the new paragraph helps readers see the connection between what has come before (a discussion of whether household actions matter) and what is about to come (a proposal for what types of actions households can take to combat climate change).

Sometimes, transitional words can help readers see how ideas are connected. But it’s not enough to just include a “therefore,” “moreover,” “also,” or “in addition.” You should choose these words carefully to show your readers what kind of connection you are making between your ideas.

To decide which transitional word to use, start by identifying the relationship between your ideas. For example, you might be

  • making a comparison or showing a contrast Transitional words that compare and contrast include also, in the same way, similarly, in contrast, yet, on the one hand, on the other hand. But before you signal comparison, ask these questions: Do your readers need another example of the same thing? Is there a new nuance in this next point that distinguishes it from the previous example? For those relationships between ideas, you might try this type of transition: While x may appear the same, it actually raises a new question in a slightly different way. 
  • expressing agreement or disagreement When you are making an argument, you need to signal to readers where you stand in relation to other scholars and critics. You may agree with another person’s claim, you may want to concede some part of the argument even if you don’t agree with everything, or you may disagree. Transitional words that signal agreement, concession, and disagreement include however, nevertheless, actually, still, despite, admittedly, still, on the contrary, nonetheless .
  • showing cause and effect Transitional phrases that show cause and effect include therefore, hence, consequently, thus, so. Before you choose one of these words, make sure that what you are about to illustrate is really a causal link. Novice writers tend to add therefore and hence when they aren’t sure how to transition; you should reserve these words for when they accurately signal the progression of your ideas.
  • explaining or elaborating Transitions can signal to readers that you are going to expand on a point that you have just made or explain something further. Transitional words that signal explanation or elaboration include in other words, for example, for instance, in particular, that is, to illustrate, moreover .
  • drawing conclusions You can use transitions to signal to readers that you are moving from the body of your argument to your conclusions. Before you use transitional words to signal conclusions, consider whether you can write a stronger conclusion by creating a transition that shows the relationship between your ideas rather than by flagging the paragraph simply as a conclusion. Transitional words that signal a conclusion include in conclusion , as a result, ultimately, overall— but strong conclusions do not necessarily have to include those phrases.

If you’re not sure which transitional words to use—or whether to use one at all—see if you can explain the connection between your paragraphs or sentence either out loud or in the margins of your draft.

For example, if you write a paragraph in which you summarize physician Atul Gawande’s argument about the value of incremental care, and then you move on to a paragraph that challenges those ideas, you might write down something like this next to the first paragraph: “In this paragraph I summarize Gawande’s main claim.” Then, next to the second paragraph, you might write, “In this paragraph I present a challenge to Gawande’s main claim.” Now that you have identified the relationship between those two paragraphs, you can choose the most effective transition between them. Since the second paragraph in this example challenges the ideas in the first, you might begin with something like “but,” or “however,” to signal that shift for your readers.  

  • picture_as_pdf Transitions

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


What this handout is about.

In this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, transitions glue our ideas and our essays together. This handout will introduce you to some useful transitional expressions and help you employ them effectively.

The function and importance of transitions

In both academic writing and professional writing, your goal is to convey information clearly and concisely, if not to convert the reader to your way of thinking. Transitions help you to achieve these goals by establishing logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your papers. In other words, transitions tell readers what to do with the information you present to them. Whether single words, quick phrases, or full sentences, they function as signs that tell readers how to think about, organize, and react to old and new ideas as they read through what you have written.

Transitions signal relationships between ideas—relationships such as: “Another example coming up—stay alert!” or “Here’s an exception to my previous statement” or “Although this idea appears to be true, here’s the real story.” Basically, transitions provide the reader with directions for how to piece together your ideas into a logically coherent argument. Transitions are not just verbal decorations that embellish your paper by making it sound or read better. They are words with particular meanings that tell the reader to think and react in a particular way to your ideas. In providing the reader with these important cues, transitions help readers understand the logic of how your ideas fit together.

Signs that you might need to work on your transitions

How can you tell whether you need to work on your transitions? Here are some possible clues:

  • Your instructor has written comments like “choppy,” “jumpy,” “abrupt,” “flow,” “need signposts,” or “how is this related?” on your papers.
  • Your readers (instructors, friends, or classmates) tell you that they had trouble following your organization or train of thought.
  • You tend to write the way you think—and your brain often jumps from one idea to another pretty quickly.
  • You wrote your paper in several discrete “chunks” and then pasted them together.
  • You are working on a group paper; the draft you are working on was created by pasting pieces of several people’s writing together.


Since the clarity and effectiveness of your transitions will depend greatly on how well you have organized your paper, you may want to evaluate your paper’s organization before you work on transitions. In the margins of your draft, summarize in a word or short phrase what each paragraph is about or how it fits into your analysis as a whole. This exercise should help you to see the order of and connection between your ideas more clearly.

If after doing this exercise you find that you still have difficulty linking your ideas together in a coherent fashion, your problem may not be with transitions but with organization. For help in this area (and a more thorough explanation of the “reverse outlining” technique described in the previous paragraph), please see the Writing Center’s handout on organization .

How transitions work

The organization of your written work includes two elements: (1) the order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument, and (2) the relationships you construct between these parts. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow. Take a look at the following example:

El Pais , a Latin American country, has a new democratic government after having been a dictatorship for many years. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe.

One way to effectively organize your argument would be to present the conventional view and then to provide the reader with your critical response to this view. So, in Paragraph A you would enumerate all the reasons that someone might consider El Pais highly democratic, while in Paragraph B you would refute these points. The transition that would establish the logical connection between these two key elements of your argument would indicate to the reader that the information in paragraph B contradicts the information in paragraph A. As a result, you might organize your argument, including the transition that links paragraph A with paragraph B, in the following manner:

Paragraph A: points that support the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.

Transition: Despite the previous arguments, there are many reasons to think that El Pais’s new government is not as democratic as typically believed.

Paragraph B: points that contradict the view that El Pais’s new government is very democratic.

In this case, the transition words “Despite the previous arguments,” suggest that the reader should not believe paragraph A and instead should consider the writer’s reasons for viewing El Pais’s democracy as suspect.

As the example suggests, transitions can help reinforce the underlying logic of your paper’s organization by providing the reader with essential information regarding the relationship between your ideas. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole.

Types of transitions

Now that you have a general idea of how to go about developing effective transitions in your writing, let us briefly discuss the types of transitions your writing will use.

The types of transitions available to you are as diverse as the circumstances in which you need to use them. A transition can be a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire paragraph. In each case, it functions the same way: First, the transition either directly summarizes the content of a preceding sentence, paragraph, or section or implies such a summary (by reminding the reader of what has come before). Then, it helps the reader anticipate or comprehend the new information that you wish to present.

  • Transitions between sections: Particularly in longer works, it may be necessary to include transitional paragraphs that summarize for the reader the information just covered and specify the relevance of this information to the discussion in the following section.
  • Transitions between paragraphs: If you have done a good job of arranging paragraphs so that the content of one leads logically to the next, the transition will highlight a relationship that already exists by summarizing the previous paragraph and suggesting something of the content of the paragraph that follows. A transition between paragraphs can be a word or two (however, for example, similarly), a phrase, or a sentence. Transitions can be at the end of the first paragraph, at the beginning of the second paragraph, or in both places.
  • Transitions within paragraphs: As with transitions between sections and paragraphs, transitions within paragraphs act as cues by helping readers to anticipate what is coming before they read it. Within paragraphs, transitions tend to be single words or short phrases.

Transitional expressions

Effectively constructing each transition often depends upon your ability to identify words or phrases that will indicate for the reader the kind of logical relationships you want to convey. The table below should make it easier for you to find these words or phrases. Whenever you have trouble finding a word, phrase, or sentence to serve as an effective transition, refer to the information in the table for assistance. Look in the left column of the table for the kind of logical relationship you are trying to express. Then look in the right column of the table for examples of words or phrases that express this logical relationship.

Keep in mind that each of these words or phrases may have a slightly different meaning. Consult a dictionary or writer’s handbook if you are unsure of the exact meaning of a word or phrase.

also, in the same way, just as … so too, likewise, similarly
but, however, in spite of, on the one hand … on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, in contrast, on the contrary, still, yet
first, second, third, … next, then, finally
after, afterward, at last, before, currently, during, earlier, immediately, later, meanwhile, now, recently, simultaneously, subsequently, then
for example, for instance, namely, specifically, to illustrate
even, indeed, in fact, of course, truly
above, adjacent, below, beyond, here, in front, in back, nearby, there
accordingly, consequently, hence, so, therefore, thus
additionally, again, also, and, as well, besides, equally important, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then
finally, in a word, in brief, briefly, in conclusion, in the end, in the final analysis, on the whole, thus, to conclude, to summarize, in sum, to sum up, in summary

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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  • Transition Words & Phrases | List & Examples

Transition Words & Phrases | List & Examples

Published on May 29, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2023.

Transition words and phrases (also called linking words, connecting words, or transitional words) are used to link together different ideas in your text. They help the reader to follow your arguments by expressing the relationships between different sentences or parts of a sentence.

The proposed solution to the problem did not work. Therefore , we attempted a second solution. However , this solution was also unsuccessful.

For clear writing, it’s essential to understand the meaning of transition words and use them correctly.

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Table of contents

When and how to use transition words, types and examples of transition words, common mistakes with transition words, other interesting articles.

Transition words commonly appear at the start of a new sentence or clause (followed by a comma ), serving to express how this clause relates to the previous one.

Transition words can also appear in the middle of a clause. It’s important to place them correctly to convey the meaning you intend.

Example text with and without transition words

The text below describes all the events it needs to, but it does not use any transition words to connect them. Because of this, it’s not clear exactly how these different events are related or what point the author is making by telling us about them.

If we add some transition words at appropriate moments, the text reads more smoothly and the relationship among the events described becomes clearer.

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Consequently , France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The Soviet Union initially worked with Germany in order to partition Poland. However , Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

Don’t overuse transition words

While transition words are essential to clear writing, it’s possible to use too many of them. Consider the following example, in which the overuse of linking words slows down the text and makes it feel repetitive.

In this case the best way to fix the problem is to simplify the text so that fewer linking words are needed.

The key to using transition words effectively is striking the right balance. It is difficult to follow the logic of a text with no transition words, but a text where every sentence begins with a transition word can feel over-explained.

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There are four main types of transition word: additive, adversative, causal, and sequential. Within each category, words are divided into several more specific functions.

Remember that transition words with similar meanings are not necessarily interchangeable. It’s important to understand the meaning of all the transition words you use. If unsure, consult a dictionary to find the precise definition.

Additive transition words

Additive transition words introduce new information or examples. They can be used to expand upon, compare with, or clarify the preceding text.

Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Addition We found that the mixture was effective. , it appeared to have additional effects we had not predicted. indeed, furthermore, moreover, additionally, and, also, both and , not only but also , , in fact
Introduction Several researchers have previously explored this topic. , Smith (2014) examined the effects of … such as, like, particularly, including, as an illustration, for example, for instance, in particular, to illustrate, especially, notably
Reference The solution showed a high degree of absorption. , it is reasonable to conclude that … considering , regarding , in regard to , as for , concerning , the fact that , on the subject of
Similarity It was not possible to establish a correlation between these variables. , the connection between and remains unclear … similarly, in the same way, by the same token, in like manner, equally, likewise
Clarification The patient suffered several side effects, increased appetite, decreased libido, and disordered sleep. that is (to say), namely, specifically, more precisely, in other words

Adversative transition words

Adversative transition words always signal a contrast of some kind. They can be used to introduce information that disagrees or contrasts with the preceding text.

Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Conflict The novel does deal with the theme of family. , its central theme is more broadly political … but, however, although, though, equally, by way of contrast, while, on the other hand, (and) yet, whereas, in contrast, (when) in fact, conversely, whereas
Concession Jones (2011) argues that the novel reflects Russian politics of the time. this is correct, other aspects of the text must also be considered. even so, nonetheless, nevertheless, even though, on the other hand, admittedly, despite , notwithstanding , (and) still, although, , regardless (of ), (and) yet, though, granted
Dismissal It remains unclear which of these hypotheses is correct. , it can be inferred that … regardless, either way, whatever the case, in any/either event, in any/either case, at any rate, all the same
Emphasis The chemical is generally thought to have corrosive properties. , several studies have supported this hypothesis. above all, indeed, more/most importantly
Replacement The character of Godfrey is often viewed as selfish, self-absorbed. (or) at least, (or) rather, instead, or (perhaps) even, if not

Causal transition words

Causal transition words are used to describe cause and effect. They can be used to express purpose, consequence, and condition.

Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Consequence Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. therefore, because (of ), as a result (of ), for this reason, in view of , as, owing to x, due to (the fact that), since, consequently, in consequence, as a consequence, hence, thus, so (that), accordingly, so much (so) that, under the/such circumstances, if so
Condition We qualified survey responses as positive the participant selected “agree” or “strongly agree.” , results were recorded as negative. (even/only) if/when, on (the) condition that, in the case that, granted (that), provided/providing that, in case, in the event that, as/so long as, unless, given that, being that, inasmuch/insofar as, in that case, in (all) other cases, if so/not, otherwise
Purpose We used accurate recording equipment our results would be as precise as possible. to, in order to/that, for the purpose of, in the hope that, so that, to the end that, lest, with this in mind, so as to, so that, to ensure (that)

Sequential transition words

Sequential transition words indicate a sequence, whether it’s the order in which events occurred chronologically or the order you’re presenting them in your text. They can be used for signposting in academic texts.

Function Example sentence Transition words and phrases
Enumeration This has historically had several consequences: , the conflict is not given the weight of other conflicts in historical narratives. , its causes are inadequately understood. , … first, second, third…
Initiation , I want to consider the role played by women in this period. in the first place, initially, first of all, to begin with, at first
Continuation , I discuss the way in which the country’s various ethnic minorities were affected by the conflict. subsequently, previously, eventually, next, before , afterwards, after , then
Conclusion , I consider these two themes in combination. to conclude (with), as a final point, eventually, at last, last but not least, finally, lastly
Resumption my main argument, it is clear that … to return/returning to , to resume, at any rate
Summation Patel (2015) comes to a similar conclusion. , the four studies considered here suggest a consensus that the solution is effective. as previously stated/mentioned, in summary, as I have argued, overall, as has been mentioned, to summarize, briefly, given these points, in view of , as has been noted, in conclusion, in sum, altogether, in short

Transition words are often used incorrectly. Make sure you understand the proper usage of transition words and phrases, and remember that words with similar meanings don’t necessarily work the same way grammatically.

Misused transition words can make your writing unclear or illogical. Your audience will be easily lost if you misrepresent the connections between your sentences and ideas.

Confused use of therefore

“Therefore” and similar cause-and-effect words are used to state that something is the result of, or follows logically from, the previous. Make sure not to use these words in a way that implies illogical connections.

  • We asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their work from 1 to 10. Therefore , the average satisfaction among participants was 7.5.

The use of “therefore” in this example is illogical: it suggests that the result of 7.5 follows logically from the question being asked, when in fact many other results were possible. To fix this, we simply remove the word “therefore.”

  • We asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their work from 1 to 10. The average satisfaction among participants was 7.5.

Starting a sentence with also , and , or so

While the words “also,” “and,” and “so” are used in academic writing, they are considered too informal when used at the start of a sentence.

  • Also , a second round of testing was carried out.

To fix this issue, we can either move the transition word to a different point in the sentence or use a more formal alternative.

  • A second round of testing was also carried out.
  • Additionally , a second round of testing was carried out.

Transition words creating sentence fragments

Words like “although” and “because” are called subordinating conjunctions . This means that they introduce clauses which cannot stand on their own. A clause introduced by one of these words should always follow or be followed by another clause in the same sentence.

The second sentence in this example is a fragment, because it consists only of the “although” clause.

  • Smith (2015) argues that the period should be reassessed. Although other researchers disagree.

We can fix this in two different ways. One option is to combine the two sentences into one using a comma. The other option is to use a different transition word that does not create this problem, like “however.”

  • Smith (2015) argues that the period should be reassessed, although other researchers disagree.
  • Smith (2015) argues that the period should be reassessed. However , other researchers disagree.

And vs. as well as

Students often use the phrase “ as well as ” in place of “and,” but its usage is slightly different. Using “and” suggests that the things you’re listing are of equal importance, while “as well as” introduces additional information that is less important.

  • Chapter 1 discusses some background information on Woolf, as well as presenting my analysis of To the Lighthouse .

In this example, the analysis is more important than the background information. To fix this mistake, we can use “and,” or we can change the order of the sentence so that the most important information comes first. Note that we add a comma before “as well as” but not before “and.”

  • Chapter 1 discusses some background information on Woolf and presents my analysis of To the Lighthouse .
  • Chapter 1 presents my analysis of To the Lighthouse , as well as discussing some background information on Woolf.

Note that in fixed phrases like “both x and y ,” you must use “and,” not “as well as.”

  • Both my results as well as my interpretations are presented below.
  • Both my results and my interpretations are presented below.

Use of and/or

The combination of transition words “and/or” should generally be avoided in academic writing. It makes your text look messy and is usually unnecessary to your meaning.

First consider whether you really do mean “and/or” and not just “and” or “or.” If you are certain that you need both, it’s best to separate them to make your meaning as clear as possible.

  • Participants were asked whether they used the bus and/or the train.
  • Participants were asked whether they used the bus, the train, or both.

Archaic transition words

Words like “hereby,” “therewith,” and most others formed by the combination of “here,” “there,” or “where” with a preposition are typically avoided in modern academic writing. Using them makes your writing feel old-fashioned and strained and can sometimes obscure your meaning.

  • Poverty is best understood as a disease. Hereby , we not only see that it is hereditary, but acknowledge its devastating effects on a person’s health.

These words should usually be replaced with a more explicit phrasing expressing how the current statement relates to the preceding one.

  • Poverty is best understood as a disease. Understanding it as such , we not only see that it is hereditary, but also acknowledge its devastating effects on a person’s health.

Using a paraphrasing tool for clear writing

With the use of certain tools, you can make your writing clear. One of these tools is a paraphrasing tool . One thing the tool does is help your sentences make more sense. It has different modes where it checks how your text can be improved. For example, automatically adding transition words where needed.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or writing rules make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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How to Introduce New Topics and Transition Effectively in Essays

Last Updated: March 19, 2024 Fact Checked

New Paragraphs

New sections, expert q&a.

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 88,715 times.

Most essays have multiple topics, and switching between them can get tricky. Without strong transitions and introductions to new points, your writing could seem choppy or unfocused. Luckily, making good topic introductions is easy! It just takes some planning, practice, and patience. Once you know the formula, you’ll be introducing new topics like a pro.

Effective Ways to Introduce New Essay Topics

  • Introduce the topic with a transition word, like “Similarly” or “Likewise.”
  • Use a contrasting transition word for clashing topics, like “However” or “Yet.”
  • Give an overview of the topic you’re discussing after the introductory sentence.

Step 1 Organize a strong...

  • A strong outline includes your overall topic idea, planned thesis statement, essay structure, and the topics and themes you'll be covering in each section.
  • Note on your outline when you're going to be introducing new topics. This helps you plan ahead and anticipate where you'll need transitions.

Jake Adams

  • If you've already started your paper, it never hurts to go back and write an outline anyway. This way, you can keep all your thoughts organized and give your essay more direction.

Step 2 Make a new paragraph for new topics within the same section.

  • For example, you may be writing a large paper about the Civil War, and the current section is about arguments over slavery. You can have one part on Southern arguments defending slavery, then transition to Northern arguments against slavery, since both topics are in the same section.
  • Usually for a shorter paper, up to about 5-7 pages, you won’t need individual section headings. It’s fine to just transition from paragraph to paragraph in these cases.

Step 3 Start a new section if you’re introducing a completely different topic.

  • For example, if your paper is about the Civil War and you’re transitioning from arguments over slavery to the outbreak of the war, then it’s worthwhile to make a whole new section. These topics are related, but distinct and important enough to get their own sections.
  • In another example, you might be writing a compare and contrast essay. It’s helpful to start a new section labeled “Differences” when you move from comparing to contrasting.
  • Individual section headings are common in longer papers, around 15-20 pages or more. For long papers like this, it helps your reader stay focused.

Step 4 Pick complementary transition words for similar topics.

  • Similarly, in the same way, likewise, also, as well, and so too.
  • For example, start a paragraph about slavery and the Civil War with, “In the same way that northern abolitionists were singularly focused on eliminating slavery, the Republican Party was concerned with stopping it from spreading into America's territories.”

Step 5 Use contrasting transition words for topics that clash.

  • In contrast, however, nevertheless, yet, and still.
  • For the Civil War example, arguments defending and criticizing slavery are completely different. To reflect that, you’d use a transition indicating disagreement. You could say “In sharp contrast to southern slave owners, northern abolitionists argued that enslaving a human being was evil in all circumstances.”

Step 1 Place your transition...

  • If you’re showing contrast, you could say, “Yet King Arthur was destined to fail in his quest to find the Holy Grail.” This shows that the previous topic may have been about Arthur starting his quest, but now you’ll explain how he failed to accomplish it.
  • You could also show similarity by saying “Similarly, Abraham Lincoln agreed that slavery was a moral evil.” This indicates that the new topic you’re introducing is related to and supports the previous one.

Step 2 Provide a brief overview of the topic you’re moving on to.

  • You could also follow up on the King Arthur example with “In Arthurian stories, Arthur made numerous journeys to find the Grail, but never actually succeeded.” This tells the reader that the rest of the paragraph will include information on these failures.
  • Using the Abraham Lincoln example, you could follow up your topic sentence with “Throughout his entire life, Lincoln saw the evils of slavery and spoke about stopping the practice.” This indicates that the paragraph will elaborate on this point and provide more details.

Step 3 Add necessary details about the topic in the middle of the paragraph.

  • For the King Arthur example, you can spend 2-4 sentences explaining Arthur's unsuccessful quests for the Grail. This supports your transition statement saying that Arthur failed to find the Grail.
  • Make sure the details you fill in line up with your topic sentence. If your topic sentence said that Abraham Lincoln was anti-slavery, it wouldn’t be consistent to introduce examples of him supporting or praising slavery.

Step 4 Wrap up the paragraph with a firm conclusion sentence.

  • A conclusion for your King Arthur paragraph could be “Hard as Arthur tried, he never found the Holy Grail.”
  • Don’t introduce any new topics in the conclusion sentence. Save that for the topic sentence of the next paragraph if you want to add another topic.
  • If you have a similar paragraph after this one, you can link them by giving a hint of where it's going. For example, you could conclude by saying "Abraham Lincoln's lifelong opposition to slavery naturally set him up for a career fighting the institution." Then make the next paragraph about Lincoln's political career. [12] X Research source

Step 1 Place your transition phrase at the beginning of your topic sentence.

  • You can use transitional language without a ton of detail. For example, “While Odysseus was glad to be home, there was trouble brewing in his kingdom.” This provides a strong transition, hints at the next topic, and gets the reader interested in continuing.

Step 2 Sum up the topic of the previous section.

  • For the Odysseus example, your previous section may have been about the events of The Odyssey . You could sum up the previous topic by saying “He had spent 20 years away from home—10 fighting the Trojan War and 10 on his journey back to Ithaca—and conquered every challenge that came his way.”
  • Don’t spend too much time on this summary. Wrap it up within 2 sentences at most.

Step 3 Provide a concise summary of the topic in this section.

  • You could give a quick introduction of how the suitors in the Odyssey had moved in to Odysseus’ home and would attack him when he arrived. This sets up the challenge and tension for this new topic, and sets the theme for this section of your essay.

Step 4 End the paragraph with a strong conclusion sentence.

  • For the Odysseus example, a strong conclusion would be “Perhaps this was to be Odysseus’ greatest challenge yet.”
  • In a more research-based paper, you can be less literary. For example, “In the end, the Constitutional Convention was a success, but only after the Framers overcame numerous challenges in the process.”

Jake Adams

  • It’s easier to plan your transitions if you outline your essay first. This way, you’ll know where you need to introduce new topics. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If your professor or teacher mentions that your writing seems choppy, then you probably need to work on introducing new topics a bit more smoothly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If you still have trouble making strong transitions, take advantage of your school’s writing center if you have one. The tutors there can be a huge help. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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How to Make a Smooth Transition from One Point to Another in Essay

how to transition into another topic in an essay

Forget the numerous essay hook examples that you will come across on many writing guide forums.

The real jewel as far as coming up with concisely written papers lies in the adeptness of using transition sentences/sections to make a smooth flow from one idea to another. This way, you can logically draw up connections between various main sections/ideas in a paper without veering off the topic at the same time.

As much as this is a fairly difficult skill to master, there are several useful pointers that can come in handy if you have been struggling with this for a while.

1. Review the Paragraph/Essay Up to Where You Need to Add the Transition Phrase

The relationship between the two main separate ideas will determine the nature of the transition sentence as you seek to create a flow between the two ideas. For instance, if the two ideas are conflicting/contradictory, you will need to introduce a transition sentence that shows you are about to differ with what you have just said. That is, it has to make sense from the perspective and the context of the two paragraphs and ideas in question.

2. Use Synonyms Such as ‘Another’, ‘Additionally’, ‘To That Effect’ When Faced the Task of Connected Several Complimentary Ideas

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3. Don’t Shy Away From Conjunctive Adverbs

If you are not comfortable with using traditional transitional phrases or just aren’t sure whether they are logically or semantically correct, you can switch them up with conjunctive adverbs. As the word suggests, conjunctive adverbs are ones that are chiefly used to co-join two or more ideas in an essay. It is a good way of relating a paragraph, idea or concept with a preceding one. Good examples are words such as: ‘accordingly’, ‘consequently’, ‘therefore’, ‘hence’, ‘otherwise’, etc. There are tons of them in the English vocabulary.

4. Proofread Your Paragraph Transitions Thoroughly

Most students end up scoring lower than they expect to as a result of using improper transitional phrases to connect major pointers in their essay arguments . Fortunately, however, you can catch most of these mistakes if you commit to proofread your thoroughly before submission. And when doing this, make a point of looking at the end of each section/paragraph and weigh how well it connects to the first sentence of the following paragraph. If it is non-existent, strained or forced consider improving the transition by either rearranging those paragraphs or simply clarifying your logic in a few extra words.

The Bottom Line

Making smooth transitions between ideas in essay writing is more about creating an inner flow of thoughts throughout the entire paper rather than simply using flamboyant transitional phrases or adverbs. Once you have achieved the former, the latter comes in naturally.

Related posts:

  • Ways to Improve Readability of Your Essay

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

  • How to Use Sentence Starters for Essays
  • How to Write a Hook for your Essay or Paper [Examples Included]

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how to transition into another topic in an essay

33 Transition Words and Phrases

Transitional terms give writers the opportunity to prepare readers for a new idea, connecting the previous sentence to the next one.

Many transitional words are nearly synonymous: words that broadly indicate that “this follows logically from the preceding” include accordingly, therefore, and consequently . Words that mean “in addition to” include moreover, besides, and further . Words that mean “contrary to what was just stated” include however, nevertheless , and nonetheless .


The executive’s flight was delayed and they accordingly arrived late.

in or by way of addition : FURTHERMORE

The mountain has many marked hiking trails; additionally, there are several unmarked trails that lead to the summit.

at a later or succeeding time : SUBSEQUENTLY, THEREAFTER

Afterward, she got a promotion.

even though : ALTHOUGH

She appeared as a guest star on the show, albeit briefly.

in spite of the fact that : even though —used when making a statement that differs from or contrasts with a statement you have just made

They are good friends, although they don't see each other very often.

in addition to what has been said : MOREOVER, FURTHERMORE

I can't go, and besides, I wouldn't go if I could.

as a result : in view of the foregoing : ACCORDINGLY

The words are often confused and are consequently misused.

in a contrasting or opposite way —used to introduce a statement that contrasts with a previous statement or presents a differing interpretation or possibility

Large objects appear to be closer. Conversely, small objects seem farther away.

used to introduce a statement that is somehow different from what has just been said

These problems are not as bad as they were. Even so, there is much more work to be done.

used as a stronger way to say "though" or "although"

I'm planning to go even though it may rain.

in addition : MOREOVER

I had some money to invest, and, further, I realized that the risk was small.

in addition to what precedes : BESIDES —used to introduce a statement that supports or adds to a previous statement

These findings seem plausible. Furthermore, several studies have confirmed them.

because of a preceding fact or premise : for this reason : THEREFORE

He was a newcomer and hence had no close friends here.

from this point on : starting now

She announced that henceforth she would be running the company.

in spite of that : on the other hand —used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement

I'd like to go; however, I'd better not.

as something more : BESIDES —used for adding information to a statement

The city has the largest population in the country and in addition is a major shipping port.

all things considered : as a matter of fact —used when making a statement that adds to or strengthens a previous statement

He likes to have things his own way; indeed, he can be very stubborn.

for fear that —often used after an expression denoting fear or apprehension

He was concerned lest anyone think that he was guilty.

in addition : ALSO —often used to introduce a statement that adds to and is related to a previous statement

She is an acclaimed painter who is likewise a sculptor.

at or during the same time : in the meantime

You can set the table. Meanwhile, I'll start making dinner.

BESIDES, FURTHER : in addition to what has been said —used to introduce a statement that supports or adds to a previous statement

It probably wouldn't work. Moreover, it would be very expensive to try it.

in spite of that : HOWEVER

It was a predictable, but nevertheless funny, story.

in spite of what has just been said : NEVERTHELESS

The hike was difficult, but fun nonetheless.

without being prevented by (something) : despite—used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true

Notwithstanding their youth and inexperience, the team won the championship.

if not : or else

Finish your dinner. Otherwise, you won't get any dessert.

more correctly speaking —used to introduce a statement that corrects what you have just said

We can take the car, or rather, the van.

in spite of that —used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true

I tried again and still I failed.

by that : by that means

He signed the contract, thereby forfeiting his right to the property.

for that reason : because of that

This tablet is thin and light and therefore very convenient to carry around.

immediately after that

The committee reviewed the documents and thereupon decided to accept the proposal.

because of this or that : HENCE, CONSEQUENTLY

This detergent is highly concentrated and thus you will need to dilute it.

while on the contrary —used to make a statement that describes how two people, groups, etc., are different

Some of these species have flourished, whereas others have struggled.

NEVERTHELESS, HOWEVER —used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way

It was pouring rain out, yet his clothes didn’t seem very wet.

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Writing Transitions

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Good transitions can connect paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions can help readers understand how paragraphs work together, reference one another, and build to a larger point. The key to producing good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs. By referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from previous paragraphs, writers can develop important points for their readers.

It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off. (Instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't belong together at all.) Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an obvious progression for readers. Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Instead of writing transitions that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph, write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph to another specific paragraph.


Transitions between paragraphs.

While within-paragraph transitions serve the purpose of alerting readers of upcoming shifts in perspective or voice , between-paragraph transitions serve the unique purpose of alerting readers of upcoming shifts in argument or idea . Because one of the core rules of effective paragraph-writing is limiting each paragraph to only one controlling idea (see the Basic Paragraph Resource Center lesson), shifts in argument or idea only tend to happen between paragraphs within the academic essay.

There are literally dozens of transition words to choose from when shifting focus from one idea to another. There are transition words that show cause and effect, contrast, similarity, emphasis, and even sequence. To give you a general idea of the options available to you, below are examples of just a few of those categories and word combinations:

This is a table of Transition Words in English. Transition Words of Emphasis: undoubtedly, unquestionably, obviously, especially, clearly, importantly, absolutely, definitely, without a doubt, indeed, and it should be noted. Transition Words of Addition: along with, apart from this, moreover, furthermore, also, too, as well as that, besides, in addition. Transition Words of Contrast: unlike, nevertheless, on the other hand, nonetheless, contrary to, whereas, alternatively, conversely, even so, differing from. Transition Words of Order: following, at this time, previously, finally, subsequently, above all, before.

With so many available options, you may be wondering how you will ever be able to figure out which word or set of words would work best where.

Guiding Questions

While there are many approaches you could take, let’s take a look at a few basic guiding questions you should be asking yourself as you look over your own essay and create your own between-paragraph transitions:

  • What is the purpose of this paragraph? Is it to introduce, inform, persuade, address an opposing viewpoint, revisit or add emphasis to already discussed ideas?
  • Does the idea I’m sharing in this paragraph relate to or support any other idea or argument shared within the essay up to this point?
  • Does the idea I’m sharing in this paragraph present a different viewpoint or idea?
  • Is the idea I’m sharing separate from or dependent upon other ideas being shared within the essay?

Your answer to these four basic questions should help you more easily identify which categories of transition words might work best at the beginning of each of your paragraphs.

A Couple Tips to Get Started

Selecting proper transitions takes time and practice. To get you started on the right foot though, here are a couple tips to point you in the right direction:

  • Your body paragraphs would likely benefit most from the Addition and Order transition word categories as they tend to string together related or culminating ideas or arguments
  • Your concluding paragraph would likely benefit most from the Emphasis word category as one of its primary objectives is to revisit and re-emphasize major ideas presented in the essay

To see the power of an appropriately-used transition in action, let’s consider the following prompt question example. Imagine you were asked to write an essay based on the following prompt:

  • Do you believe that people have a specific “calling” in life? Why or why not?

A possible thesis statement (or answer to that prompt question) might be::

  • My spiritual study, secular study, and my own life experience has taught me that life callings tend to emerge not just once, but perhaps even multiple times, at crossway of spiritual gifts and need in the world.

Ponder and Record

  • Based on the thesis statement above, how many body paragraphs do you think this essay will need to have?
  • What controlling ideas (or arguments) might each body paragraph be engaging?
  • Are these arguments in any way related to each other or building on each other?
  • How might these body paragraphs benefit from transition words in the Addition or Order categories?

Body Paragraph Transitions

In answering the questions above, you likely realized that three body paragraphs will be required in this essay based on its current thesis statement. One body paragraph will focus on “spiritual” findings, another on “secular,” and then finally one supported by “personal experience.”

You also likely realized that the Addition transition word category cannot be applied to the first body paragraph as no arguments have been made yet that can be added to. This means that the first body paragraph would likely benefit most from a transition word selected from the Order category. An example of this in application might look like the following:

Body Paragraph #1 Topic Sentence

Above all, my spiritual study of the scriptures as well as the words of latter-day prophets have supported my belief that life callings emerge at the intersection of spiritual gifts and need in the world.

  • What does the selection of the transitional phrase “above all” suggest about the controlling idea that will be discussed in this paragraph?
  • What does it suggest about the ideas that will follow in subsequent paragraphs?

To see more “between-paragraph” transition words in action, let’s look at what the next body paragraph topic sentence might look like with the added benefit of transition words:

Body Paragraph #2 Topic Sentence

In addition to my spiritual study, my secular study of the “life calling” also supports this idea that life callings emerge again and again at the intersection of spiritual gifts and need in the world.

  • What is the transitional phrase used in the topic sentence above?
  • Which list is the transitional phrase “in addition” drawn from?
  • What purpose does it serve in this paragraph? How does it add value?

To really emphasize the value-add of between-paragraph transitions, let’s look at one final body paragraph example:

Body Paragraph #3 Topic Sentence

Finally, my own life experience has taught me that the concept of the “life calling” truly does lie at the intersection of gifts and need in the world.

  • Which list is the transitional phrase “finally” drawn from?

Concluding Paragraph

As mentioned above, the category of transition words that would most benefit your concluding paragraph is Emphasis . Since one of the main purposes of the concluding paragraph is to revisit ideas shared within the essay, transition words that express emphasis would be a natural fit and value-add. To see the power of this addition, feel free to examine the example below:

Concluding Paragraph Example

Without a doubt, I have come to realize over the years that a life calling is so much more than simply acting on a single moment in time— it is developing gifts and talents and constantly reassessing what value-add those gifts and talents can bring to the world at that particular moment.

  • What transitional phrase is used in the above concluding paragraph topic sentence?
  • How does the addition of “without a doubt” add emphasis to the conclusion? How does its addition help fulfill one of the concluding paragraph’s primary purposes?

Within-paragraph and between-paragraph transitions are truly the best ways to alert readers to upcoming changes in perspective and voice as well as argument or idea. As you write and then review your own writing, really try to consider which transition words would best help you create the most powerful and organized experience for your readers.


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Make Smooth Transitions: 300+ Strong Transition Words for Essays

Adela B.

Table of contents

Have you ever read a piece of literature and wondered how smoothly the author transitioned from one paragraph to the next?

Making smooth transitions while writing is not a piece of cake. Most students struggle to write in a cohesive manner that effectively communicates the message.

If you want to improve paragraph transitions and are wondering which words or phrases to use, this article’s for you. Read on to learn more about using strong transition words for essays with confidence.

What are Transition Words and Phrases

Having strong transition words for essays is pivotal as it leads the reader from one idea to another. In the absence of transition words, sentences would not have a structure, appear connected, or flow smoothly.

Using transition words prevents the reader from having to jump from one paragraph or sentence to another. This makes your essay easier to follow and gets your message across in a more coherent manner.

In short, transition words are majorly used to place smooth, easy-to-understand, and logical connections between sentences and paragraphs in your essay.

Here’s an interesting video by Write to Top that talks about the importance of coherence and cohesion in essay writing.

A Handy List of 300+ Strong Transition Words for Essays

Now that you know how important it is to use transition words and phrases to connect and structurally flow the ideas and arguments in your essay, let’s take a look at 300+ strong transition words you can use.

The list is divided into 12 broad categories, making it easier for you to use them while writing essays.

1. Cause & Effect

Connects the instigator(s) to the consequences or the outcome of an action.

  • For that/this reason
  • As a result
  • Accordingly
  • In that case
  • Consequently
  • Under those circumstances
  • In other words
  • With the result that

2. Chronology or Time

Connects a situation or issue to when it occurred or conveys a series of events by limiting, restricting, and defining time.

  • From time to time
  • To begin with
  • Subsequently
  • In the meantime
  • Immediately
  • In a moment
  • In the first place
  • Without delay
  • At this instant
  • First, second, third
  • All of a sudden
  • In due time
  • Concurrently
  • In the future
  • Immediately after
  • Simultaneously

3. Combinations, Comparisons, or Additions

Finds similarities, compares two preceding statements, ideas, or concepts, connects multiple events to make one whole story, and adds new words to complete the paragraph.

  • Comparatively
  • Additionally
  • As a matter of fact
  • In the same way
  • In addition
  • Identically
  • In like fashion
  • In light of
  • Compared to
  • Furthermore
  • Not to mention
  • To say nothing of

4. Contrast or Differences

Connecting two instances or phrases, mainly focusing on their differences or suggesting alternative ideas to be considered. Alternatively, these can also be used to contrast two ideas, thoughts, or key pieces of information in your essay.

  • In contrast
  • Although this may be true
  • On the contrary
  • At the same time
  • In spite of
  • (and) still
  • On the other hand
  • Nevertheless
  • Be that as it may
  • Notwithstanding

5. Clarification

Connects to further clarify the arguments being made in simpler, more compact terms.

  • To rephrase it
  • To put it another way
  • In lay terms
  • Simply stated
  • In explanation
  • In simple terms
  • To clearly define
  • To break it down
  • To simplify
  • To put it clearly

6. Concession

Connects to express an idea that acknowledges the opposing view of the main part of the argument or sentence.

  • At any rate
  • Even though
  • While it may be true
  • Up to a point
  • Nonetheless
  • Regardless of this

7. Examples

Connects to add emphasis, or introduce evidence or example as support.

  • For example
  • For instance
  • To demonstrate
  • To emphasize
  • To enumerate
  • To put it differently
  • As an illustration
  • In this case
  • For this reason
  • That is to say
  • Important to realize
  • Most compelling evidence
  • Must be remembered
  • To point out
  • With this in mind
  • On the positive/negative side
  • Specifically
  • Particularly
  • To illustrate
  • Proof of this
  • As an example of
  • In this situation
  • By all means
  • Hypothetically
  • In particular
  • Another key point
  • More importantly

8. Importance

Connecting an important aspect to an otherwise unimportant sentence or paragraph.

  • Essentially
  • Most importantly
  • Principally
  • Fundamentally
  • Unquestionably

9. Generalization

Connects to give an idea about a general subject.

  • Generally speaking
  • For the most part
  • By and large

10. Location

Connects elements according to where they are placed in a relationship to each other. These provide spatial order and references to locations and space.

  • In the middle
  • In front of
  • To the right or left
  • Here and there
  • On this side
  • In the distance
  • In the foreground
  • In the background
  • In the center of
  • Opposite to
  • Adjacent to
  • Neighboring on
  • Along the edge
  • Straight ahead
  • At the bottom
  • In proximity to
  • In vicinity of
  • On the horizon
  • Peripherally
  • Surrounding
  • At the rear
  • At the front
  • Within sight
  • Out of sight

11. Purpose

Connects when you want to present specific intentions, causes, or conditions.

  • In the event that
  • As/So long as
  • For this purpose
  • In order that
  • To that end
  • To this end
  • With the hope that
  • With this intention
  • On the condition that
  • Provided that
  • With this purpose
  • Seeing that

12. Summary

Connects to summarize, conclude or restate certain arguments, points, and ideas that were previously mentioned in the essay. These transition words are used to indicate a final generalized statement about the approached argument and wrap it up.

  • To summarize
  • To conclude
  • In the final analysis
  • All things considered
  • As shown above
  • In the long run
  • As has been noted
  • Given these points
  • To reiterate
  • On the whole
  • In either case
  • As can be seen
  • As mentioned
  • As demonstrated above
  • As indicated
  • As discussed
  • In the short run
  • At the end of the day
  • In a nutshell
  • To put it briefly

8 Dos and Don’ts of Using Strong Transition Words for Essays

Just as using the above transition words are necessary for essays and other academic papers, it is equally important to know the appropriate dos and don'ts of using transition words in essays.

1. Be sure to know what your transition word means and if it is used correctly and makes sense in a sentence.

2. Ensure that you don't accidentally create incomplete sentences. Check to see if you are using subordinating conjunctions, as they can lead to fragmented sentences.

3. Use when presenting a new idea or in the middle of two ideas to show a logical connection.

4. Use an essay outline to organize your writing and figure out exactly where you can use your transition words and how to avoid overusing them.

1. Just as you can have too few transition words in your essay, you can also have too many. Use your transition words sparingly and in key places.

Adding too many can be distracting to read, can make your content piece complicated to understand, and make your reader seem as if they aren’t capable enough to comprehend basic connections.

2. Never add a transition word at the end of a sentence. This confuses the readers and takes the emphasis off what you want to say.

3. Never start a sentence with a “but,” “and,” or “because” in an academic assignment. Instead, replace them with a more formal transition word.

4. Don't use transition words from a different category than the one it is needed for. For example, if it is a general statement, don’t use transition words for summarizing a paragraph. Stick to the words or phrases in each category.

The Takeaway

This list must have felt like a lot; so many words and phrases to remember. But you wouldn’t necessarily need to do that because you can come back to this blog post whenever you need a reminder.

Our list of strong transition words for essays can guide you to achieve high grades on your assignments as well as impress your professors. So, use these transition words to do away with choppy sentences and disconnected ideas!

Not confident about your writing skills? Writers Per Hour can help. Our team of professional writers can help you deliver high-quality essays written from scratch with transition words et al.

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Essay Writing: Paragraphs and Transitions

  • Essay Writing Basics
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  • Paragraphs and Transitions
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  • Formatting Your References Page
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  • Common Grammatical and Mechanical Errors
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  • Proofread Before You Submit Your Paper
  • Structuring the 5-Paragraph Essay

Paragraph Structure


A. Begins with a sentence that captures the reader’s attention

1) You may want to use an interesting example, a surprising statistic, or a challenging question.

B. Gives background information on the topic.

C. Includes the THESIS STATEMENT which:

1) States the main ideas of the essay and includes:

b. Viewpoint (what you plan to say about the topic)

2) Is more general than supporting data

3) May mention the main point of each of the body paragraphs


A. Begins with a topic sentence that:

1) States the main point of the paragraph

2) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT

B. After the topic sentence, you must fill the paragraph with organized details, facts, and examples.

C. Paragraph may end with a transition.


B. After the topic sentence, you must fill the paragraph with organized details, facts, and examples.


3) States the main point of the paragraph

4) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT


A. Echoes the THESIS STATEMENT but does not repeat it.

B. Poses a question for the future, suggests some action to be taken, or warns of a consequence.

C. Includes a detail or example from the INTRODUCTION to “tie up” the essay.

D. Ends with a strong image – or a humorous or surprising statement.

Transition Words and Phrases

introduce first / main point :

at the outset

from the inception

from the beginning


first of all

in the first place


one . . . the other one . . . another



to begin (with)







consistent with this

in addition

in succession


in the second (third) place

in turn

to continue

as a result  

at last


in conclusion

to sum up


in brief

in other words

it is apparent

it is evident

in summation



to conclude

to recapitulate

to review

More Transitions and Linking Expressions



in the second place,



even if



after all

even so

in the meantime


after that


in the future


after which


in summation



first (second, third,






that is


for example




for instance



an additional

for this reason


to begin with

as a result

from that moment


to illustrate this

as soon as


one . . . the other

to support this

at first


one . . . and another


at last


once . . . now


at the same moment


on the contrary


before long

in addition

on this occasion



in comparison




in fact








preceding this


in the first place

prior to this


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Make Transitions Between Paragraphs

Transitions are words and phrases that connect words, sentences and paragraphs. Transitions help to make an essay flow better and logically.

Some examples of transition words are:

above all, actually, arguably, at the same time, by, consequently, currently, even so, finally, first, second, third, for this reason, for instance, for example, furthermore, however, incidently, in addition, in conclusion, in fact, in my opinion, ironically, meanwhile, moreover, next, of course, on the other hand, otherwise, presently, presumably, regrettably, similarly, still, then, therefore, too, also, ultimately

In the following passage, one or more words at the beginning of the second paragraph have been deleted. Use a transitional word or phrase to clarify the shift between the two paragraphs.

As the children growing up in a small town, my brother and I were the only ones whose father was “different.” He couldn’t sing the national anthem or remember the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. He found it difficult to comprehend the intricacies of football and baseball.

….he was a very special parent. On rainy days he was always waiting for us at the school door, boots in hand; if we were ill he was there to take us home. He worked in town and was available to take us to music and dancing lessons or on little drives. When I was a small child, he planted beside my window a beautiful oak tree that grew to be taller than our house.

Janet Heller, “About Morris Heller”

2. In the following passage, the first sentence of the second paragraph and the first two sentences of the third paragraph have been deleted. For each of those paragraphs, write one or two opening sentences to clarify the transition from one paragraph to the next.

Outside, in our childhood summers—the war. It was the summers of 1939 to 1945. I was six and finally twelve; and the war was three thousand miles to the right where London, Warsaw, Cologne crouched huge, immortal under nights of bombs or, farther, to the left where our men (among them three cousins of mine) crawled over dead friends from foxhole to foxhole toward Tokyo or, terribly, where there were children (our age, our size) starving, fleeing, trapped, abandoned.

………………..A shot would ring in the midst of our play, freezing us in the knowledge that here at last were the first Storm Troopers till we thought and looked—Mrs. Hightower’s Ford. And, any plane passing overhead after dark seemed pregnant with black chutes ready to blossom. There were hints that war was nearer than it seemed—swastikaed subs off Hatteras or the German sailor’s body washed up at Virginia Beach with a Norfolk movie ticket in his pocket.

…………………Our deadly threats were polio, being hit by a car, drowning in pure chlorine if we swam after eating. No shot was fired for a hundred miles. (Fort Bragg—a hundred miles.) We had excess food to shame us at every meal, excess clothes to fling about us in the heat of play.

Reynolds Price, Permanent Errors


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What is the most effective way to transition from one paragraph to the next?

I desire to know how to transition smoothly from one paragraph to another in the body text, but there are a number of ways to do it and I don't know which is best. For instance, I could place the bridge sentence in the previous or next paragraph, or I could switch it up. There's also the question of whether the bridge sentence should follow, replace, or merge with the concluding sentence it if it is placed in the previous paragraph, or whether it should precede, replace, or merge with the topic sentence if it is placed in the next paragraph.

  • academic-writing
  • non-fiction

Secespitus's user avatar

  • What are you writing? –  J.G. Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 19:07
  • Academic non-fiction. –  user3776022 Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 20:51
  • I was reading this and could have sworn I'd already commented. Then I realized I'd commented on an almost identical question you'd asked. I just flagged your "How do I make a concluding sentence flow from the previous sentence?" as a duplicate of this one. (Mainly because this one actually has two answers already.) –  Jason Bassford Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 2:25
  • 2 To paraphrase my comment from the other question, I think you'll have to provide some examples. Why do you feel you need transitional text in the first place? Generally, a paragraph is like a scene with discrete information. It's obvious from the structure itself that one ends and another begins. Yes, transitions are sometimes needed. But certainly not always. (Always using an explicit transition can become awkward and distracting.) It depends on context. –  Jason Bassford Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 2:29
  • The other question is in no way the same as this one. The other question pertains to how I should introduce the the concluding sentence, whereas this one pertains to which position a bridge sentence should have in a paragraph of the body text--those are not at all the same questions. Please remove your downvote. –  user3776022 Commented May 1, 2018 at 11:09

4 Answers 4

If you always transition from one paragraph to the next in the same way, your writing will feel formulaic and boring. If you're writing a 5 paragraph essay and your teacher has given you clear instructions, by all means follow them, but for longer academic pieces (which can be dozens or occasionally hundreds of pages long) always transitioning in the same way may not work.

The key to a good transition is that each paragraph follows logically from the preceding one, just as each sentence follows logically from the preceding sentence. If the order of your paragraphs is well-planned and you have enough time to address all points, you may not need bridge sentences at all. When the topic for a paragraph is not automatically obvious from the preceding one, where to place a bridge sentence depends on why you chose this paragraph order. Is the new paragraph a counter argument to the preceding one? Then the opening sentence should make clear the opposition to the previous paragraph and this will serve as transition and likely also topic sentence. Is the new paragraph an answer to a question posed by the preceding one? Then the preceding paragraph needs to make clear that there is an open question or the new paragraph must point out the hole in the logic of the preceding one. If the new paragraph carries the weight of the transition, then the first sentence pointing out the problem may serve as bridge and a separate topic sentence may show the solution, or you may spend the entire paragraph talking about the hole in logic and the paragraph after addressing that hole.

Transitions require co-ordination from both sides. Once you have your transition written, read it . Read the preceding paragraph and the new paragraph. If the second paragraph does not seem to flow logically from the first, figure out where the flow breaks down and fix that. The fix may require adding a new sentence to close a gap, modifying an existing sentence to make the direction you are going clearer, or even reordering your paragraphs entirely.

Ultimately, Jason Bassford is mostly right. Transitioning between paragraphs is not significantly different than transitioning between sentences, the unit if writing is simply longer.

TMuffin's user avatar

I think a lot of what some schools teach about how to structure paragraphs in short essays is more to make it easy to mark than because it serves you well in longer pieces. I recommend you bullet-point what you plan to say, going to sub-bullets until you're down to the lowest level. Make those paragraphs; higher-level points can be sections, chapters etc. When I read academic non-fiction, be it aimed at experts or laypeople, it feels like it got all the transitioning it needed just by doing that kind of thing.

J.G.'s user avatar

I am not sure there is a "most effective" way to transition from one paragraph to the other. Like you said there are many different methods of performing the task. Which one you employ will often vary depending on the style of writing. When writing essays, I tend to prefer placing the bridge sentence in the preceding paragraph. This can improve the flow of ideas when the subject is singular. However, when I write fiction my paragraphs are usually arranged as separate independent units. This free form lends itself better to creative thought.

Anthony Sobo's user avatar

I see that you have marked this question as "academic writing" but I'm going to talk a bit (ok, a lot!) about other types of writing as well to give you an idea about how you can think about paragraph breaks, in academic writing and otherwise.

In fiction you have at least one hard rule for paragraph breaking:

In dialog, you always write one character's dialog per paragraph.

This is so the reader will always know who speaks, but it can also be thought to mimic how a camera would treat dialog in a visual medium like film or TV.

You want the camera on the person speaking, and when you cut to another person, you also do a paragraph break.

You can use the camera-technique for other parts of fictional writing, e.g. a new paragraph when a description of one object in the room changes to a description of another.

I suggest you think of your academic topic as a room with parts of the topic as objects in that room and your narrative voice as a camera moving through that room. When the camera cuts to another object (or another aspect of that object), you add a paragraph break.

When I blog, or generally write for the Internet I keep my paragraphs (and my sentences) as short as possible.

An internet audience tends to lose interest otherwise.

(Meaning this text generally has the shortest paragraphs and sentences of all my writing.)

I don't think there's a requirement that academic writing has to be boring. And I don't think making the text easy to read would dumb it down. After all, quantum mechanics will be quantum mechanics regardless of the readability of the text.

A single paragraph going page up and page down gives your readers the impression an almost impossible task lies ahead; plowing through your text.

Long paragraphs are depressing!

A reader should be able to look at a page and get the impression that they have several "mouthfuls" of information to "chew down" and that they have been prepared by the author to be just big enough.

Several paragraph breaks on a page also give the impression the writer has the know how to split the text into sections, a bit like a butcher knows how to cut a piece of meat.

You can also use paragraph breaks to make sentences you really want to stress as central to your topic stand out (like the "long paragraphs are depressing"-paragraph above).

I tend to think about my paragraph breaks as a point where the reader can take a breath, so I try to make my paragraph breaks in sync with breathing.

This also means that a bunch of short paragraphs might make your reader start hyperventilating.

I had that experience once and had to put the book down. I've also had the experience of paragraphs so long I "suffocated" and fell asleep... so paragraph breaking is important in this aspect.

However, breathing is also affected by sentence-length, so if you feel you need a long paragraph, keeping an eye on sentence-length, and varying it, might keep your reader conscious...

How do I know when/how to break a paragraph?

The discussion above talks almost solely about the size of paragraphs, however, I hope you've already been able to guess how I separate my paragraphs:

By topic/content.

I think the best way to describe it is that several paragraphs can address one topic, but one paragraph should not address several topics. I.e. it's okay to cover a topic using several paragraphs, but will likely be confusing if you change topic mid-paragraph.

As for "bridge sentences": I have never heard of them, and if I use them, it's pure intuition.

Which brings me to my last, and perhaps most important, point:

Reading is writing

You should (absolutely) read texts just like the one you want to write.

This being an academic writing question, I am going to assume (and hope) you have a pile of other people's work as references and sources (and that you've read them at least once).

How do they split their texts into paragraphs?

Can you improve on it?

Erk's user avatar

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Tips for Transitions: How to Move From One Topic to the Next

Blog Post Hero: a woman speaking at a podium

You don’t want to lose your audience. But every time you move from one topic to the next, you notice participants’ attention begins to wander: they start checking their email, glancing at the clock, or putting their microphones on mute.

That’s why strong transitions are essential. Moving from one topic to the next without missing a beat is a skill even seasoned professionals often envy. But with the following tips in hand, you’ll be better able to transition from one topic to the next—and bring your participants with you.

How to Move From One Topic to the Next

Transitions are a way of keeping your participants tuned in to your training goals, reassuring learners that this new topic is just as valuable and relevant as the last.

1. Use Verbal Transition Phrases When You’re Switching Topics

It may seem a little rote or cliche, but using transition phrases can help you signal to learners that you’re moving on to a new and substantially related topic. These phrases provide valuable thematic and contextual connective tissue, so learners are less tempted to check email or glance at the clock.

Consider phrases such as:

  • “Now that we’ve found a solution for ______, we can apply that to the following situations.”
  • “So, we’ve identified the problems that drive _____. But what can we find out about solutions?”
  • “We’ve identified the first aspect of _____. Let’s turn now to the second, _______.”
  • “What can I clarify?” (Wait at least 12 seconds before using this one.)

These are, of course, broad examples. But they can give you the basic framework for your own unique verbal transition phrases.

2. Introduce New Topics During Breakout Sessions

Transitions may work better when they’re learner-led and participant-focused. That’s why many trainers will use breakout sessions to introduce new topics. Small groups of learners can discuss what’s been learned or talk about their expectations regarding a newly introduced topic.

Depending on the group and the topic, you may want to provide groups with guided discussion questions. When the small groups come back, they’ll be ready to smoothly transition to the new material.

3. Engage the Senses with Fun Visual Transitions or Musical Cues

When participants are engaged , their attention won’t wander; visual and musical cues are an incredibly effective way to generate that engagement. From Powerpoint transitions to Spotify playlists, modern technology makes it easier than ever to orchestrate a sensory transition experience. Consider:

  • Using a mysterious image that starts conversation or gets participants asking questions. Build a sense of curiosity!
  • A musical cue that’s thematically relevant to the next topic.
  • Playing a short video that sums up one topic or starts broaching the next.

4. Take Advantage of the Break

Managing transitions isn’t always about moving seamlessly from one topic into another without pausing for a breath. Sometimes the best way to manage a transition is to take advantage of the break. Here are a few ideas:

  • Schedule breaks: Every training session needs regular breaks. Consider scheduling yours around those moments when you’re going to switch topics.
  • Play some games! Asking trivia questions or organizing virtual whiteboard competitions can help participants bond, regroup, and refocus.
  • Review information: A break can provide a perfect moment to pause and review everything your training session has covered. You can use this moment to ask questions and summarize important concepts.

A Natural Transition

Planning transitions that feel natural takes a fair amount of thought and planning—you may even want to write your transitions down! You can later evaluate which transitions worked and which ones you might want to revise.

When you take a participant-centered approach to planning for those participants, you can create strong opportunities to improve your training—and your outcomes.

You can learn more about creating transitions and improving your training craft in our Presentation Skills workshop or Virtual Presentation Skills Crash Course .

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The world now invests almost twice as much in clean energy as it does in fossil fuels…, global investment in clean energy and fossil fuels, 2015-2024, …but there are major imbalances in investment, and emerging market and developing economies (emde) outside china account for only around 15% of global clean energy spending, annual investment in clean energy by selected country and region, 2019 and 2024, investment in solar pv now surpasses all other generation technologies combined, global annual investment in solar pv and other generation technologies, 2021-2024, the integration of renewables and upgrades to existing infrastructure have sparked a recovery in spending on grids and storage, investment in power grids and storage by region 2017-2024, rising investments in clean energy push overall energy investment above usd 3 trillion for the first time.

Global energy investment is set to exceed USD 3 trillion for the first time in 2024, with USD 2 trillion going to clean energy technologies and infrastructure. Investment in clean energy has accelerated since 2020, and spending on renewable power, grids and storage is now higher than total spending on oil, gas, and coal.

As the era of cheap borrowing comes to an end, certain kinds of investment are being held back by higher financing costs. However, the impact on project economics has been partially offset by easing supply chain pressures and falling prices. Solar panel costs have decreased by 30% over the last two years, and prices for minerals and metals crucial for energy transitions have also sharply dropped, especially the metals required for batteries.

The annual World Energy Investment report has consistently warned of energy investment flow imbalances, particularly insufficient clean energy investments in EMDE outside China. There are tentative signs of a pick-up in these investments: in our assessment, clean energy investments are set to approach USD 320 billion in 2024, up by more 50% since 2020. This is similar to the growth seen in advanced economies (+50%), although trailing China (+75%). The gains primarily come from higher investments in renewable power, now representing half of all power sector investments in these economies. Progress in India, Brazil, parts of Southeast Asia and Africa reflects new policy initiatives, well-managed public tenders, and improved grid infrastructure. Africa’s clean energy investments in 2024, at over USD 40 billion, are nearly double those in 2020.

Yet much more needs to be done. In most cases, this growth comes from a very low base and many of the least-developed economies are being left behind (several face acute problems servicing high levels of debt). In 2024, the share of global clean energy investment in EMDE outside China is expected to remain around 15% of the total. Both in terms of volume and share, this is far below the amounts that are required to ensure full access to modern energy and to meet rising energy demand in a sustainable way.

Power sector investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is projected to exceed USD 500 billion in 2024, surpassing all other generation sources combined. Though growth may moderate slightly in 2024 due to falling PV module prices, solar remains central to the power sector’s transformation. In 2023, each dollar invested in wind and solar PV yielded 2.5 times more energy output than a dollar spent on the same technologies a decade prior.

In 2015, the ratio of clean power to unabated fossil fuel power investments was roughly 2:1. In 2024, this ratio is set to reach 10:1. The rise in solar and wind deployment has driven wholesale prices down in some countries, occasionally below zero, particularly during peak periods of wind and solar generation. This lowers the potential for spot market earnings for producers and highlights the need for complementary investments in flexibility and storage capacity.

Investments in nuclear power are expected to pick up in 2024, with its share (9%) in clean power investments rising after two consecutive years of decline. Total investment in nuclear is projected to reach USD 80 billion in 2024, nearly double the 2018 level, which was the lowest point in a decade.

Grids have become a bottleneck for energy transitions, but investment is rising. After stagnating around USD 300 billion per year since 2015, spending is expected to hit USD 400 billion in 2024, driven by new policies and funding in Europe, the United States, China, and parts of Latin America. Advanced economies and China account for 80% of global grid spending. Investment in Latin America has almost doubled since 2021, notably in Colombia, Chile, and Brazil, where spending doubled in 2023 alone. However, investment remains worryingly low elsewhere.

Investments in battery storage are ramping up and are set to exceed USD 50 billion in 2024. But spending is highly concentrated. In 2023, for every dollar invested in battery storage in advanced economies and China, only one cent was invested in other EMDE.

Investment in energy efficiency and electrification in buildings and industry has been quite resilient, despite the economic headwinds. But most of the dynamism in the end-use sectors is coming from transport, where investment is set to reach new highs in 2024 (+8% compared to 2023), driven by strong electric vehicle (EV) sales.

The rise in clean energy spending is underpinned by emissions reduction goals, technological gains, energy security imperatives (particularly in the European Union), and an additional strategic element: major economies are deploying new industrial strategies to spur clean energy manufacturing and establish stronger market positions. Such policies can bring local benefits, although gaining a cost-competitive foothold in sectors with ample global capacity like solar PV can be challenging. Policy makers need to balance the costs and benefits of these programmes so that they increase the resilience of clean energy supply chains while maintaining gains from trade.

In the United States, investment in clean energy increases to an estimated more than USD 300 billion in 2024, 1.6 times the 2020 level and well ahead of the amount invested in fossil fuels. The European Union spends USD 370 billion on clean energy today, while China is set to spend almost USD 680 billion in 2024, supported by its large domestic market and rapid growth in the so-called “new three” industries: solar cells, lithium battery production and EV manufacturing.

Overall upstream oil and gas investment in 2024 is set to return to 2017 levels, but companies in the Middle East and Asia now account for a much larger share of the total

Change in upstream oil and gas investment by company type, 2017-2024, newly approved lng projects, led by the united states and qatar, bring a new wave of investment that could boost global lng export capacity by 50%, investment and cumulative capacity in lng liquefaction, 2015-2028, investment in fuel supply remains largely dominated by fossil fuels, although interest in low-emissions fuels is growing fast from a low base.

Upstream oil and gas investment is expected to increase by 7% in 2024 to reach USD 570 billion, following a 9% rise in 2023. This is being led by Middle East and Asian NOCs, which have increased their investments in oil and gas by over 50% since 2017, and which account for almost the entire rise in spending for 2023-2024.

Lower cost inflation means that the headline rise in spending results in an even larger rise in activity, by approximately 25% compared with 2022. Existing fields account for around 40% total oil and gas upstream investment, while another 33% goes to new fields and exploration. The remainder goes to tight oil and shale gas.

Most of the huge influx of cashflows to the oil and gas industry in 2022-2023 was either returned to shareholders, used to buy back shares or to pay down debt; these uses exceeded capital expenditure again in 2023. A surge in profits has also spurred a wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), especially among US shale companies, which represented 75% of M&A activity in 2023. Clean energy spending by oil and gas companies grew to around USD 30 billion in 2023 (of which just USD 1.5 billion was by NOCs), but this represents less than 4% of global capital investment on clean energy.

A significant wave of new investment is expected in LNG in the coming years as new liquefaction plants are built, primarily in the United States and Qatar. The concentration of projects looking to start operation in the second half of this decade could increase competition and raise costs for the limited number of specialised contractors in this area. For the moment, the prospect of ample gas supplies has not triggered a major reaction further down the value chain. The amount of new gas-fired power capacity being approved and coming online remains stable at around 50-60 GW per year.

Investment in coal has been rising steadily in recent years, and more than 50 GW of unabated coal-fired power generation was approved in 2023, the most since 2015, and almost all of this was in China.

Investment in low-emissions fuels is only 1.4% of the amount spent on fossil fuels (compared to about 0.5% a decade ago). There are some fast-growing areas. Investments in hydrogen electrolysers have risen to around USD 3 billion per year, although they remain constrained by uncertainty about demand and a lack of reliable offtakers. Investments in sustainable aviation fuels have reached USD 1 billion, while USD 800 million is going to direct air capture projects (a 140% increase from 2023). Some 20 commercial-scale carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects in seven countries reached final investment decision (FID) in 2023; according to company announcements, another 110 capture facilities, transport and storage projects could do the same in 2024.

Energy investment decisions are primarily driven and financed by the private sector, but governments have essential direct and indirect roles in shaping capital flows

Sources of investment in the energy sector, average 2018-2023, sources of finance in the energy sector, average 2018-2023, households are emerging as important actors for consumer-facing clean energy investments, highlighting the importance of affordability and access to capital, change in energy investment volume by region and fuel category, 2016 versus 2023, market sentiment around sustainable finance is down from the high point in 2021, with lower levels of sustainable debt issuances and inflows into sustainable funds, sustainable debt issuances, 2020-2023, sustainable fund launches, 2020-2023, energy transitions are reshaping how energy investment decisions are made, and by whom.

This year’s World Energy Investment report contains new analysis on sources of investments and sources of finance, making a clear distinction between those making investment decisions (governments, often via state-owned enterprises (SOEs), private firms and households) and the institutions providing the capital (the public sector, commercial lenders, and development finance institutions) to finance these investments.

Overall, most investments in the energy sector are made by corporates, with firms accounting for the largest share of investments in both the fossil fuel and clean energy sectors. However, there are significant country-by-country variations: half of all energy investments in EMDE are made by governments or SOEs, compared with just 15% in advanced economies. Investments by state-owned enterprises come mainly from national oil companies, notably in the Middle East and Asia where they have risen substantially in recent years, and among some state-owned utilities. The financial sustainability, investment strategies and the ability for SOEs to attract private capital therefore become a central issue for secure and affordable transitions.

The share of total energy investments made or decided by private households (if not necessarily financed by them directly) has doubled from 9% in 2015 to 18% today, thanks to the combined growth in rooftop solar installations, investments in buildings efficiency and electric vehicle purchases. For the moment, these investments are mainly made by wealthier households – and well-designed policies are essential to making clean energy technologies more accessible to all . A comparison shows that households have contributed to more than 40% of the increase in investment in clean energy spending since 2016 – by far the largest share. It was particularly pronounced in advanced economies, where, because of strong policy support, households accounted for nearly 60% of the growth in energy investments.

Three quarters of global energy investments today are funded from private and commercial sources, and around 25% from public finance, and just 1% from national and international development finance institutions (DFIs).

Other financing options for energy transition have faced challenges and are focused on advanced economies. In 2023, sustainable debt issuances exceeded USD 1 trillion for the third consecutive year, but were still 25% below their 2021 peak, as rising coupon rates dampened issuers’ borrowing appetite. Market sentiment for sustainable finance is wavering, with flows to ESG funds decreasing in 2023, due to potential higher returns elsewhere and credibility concerns. Transition finance is emerging to mobilise capital for high-emitting sectors, but greater harmonisation and credible standards are required for these instruments to reach scale.

A secure and affordable transitioning away from fossil fuels requires a major rebalancing of investments

Investment change in 2023-2024, and additional average annual change in investment in the net zero scenario, 2023-2030, a doubling of investments to triple renewables capacity and a tripling of spending to double efficiency: a steep hill needs climbing to keep 1.5°c within reach, investments in renewables, grids and battery storage in the net zero emissions by 2050 scenario, historical versus 2030, investments in end-use sectors in the net zero emissions by 2050 scenario, historical versus 2030, meeting cop28 goals requires a doubling of clean energy investment by 2030 worldwide, and a quadrupling in emde outside china, investments in renewables, grids, batteries and end use in the net zero emissions by 2050 scenario, 2024 and 2030, mobilising additional, affordable financing is the key to a safer and more sustainable future, breakdown of dfi financing by instrument, currency, technology and region, average 2019-2022, much greater efforts are needed to get on track to meet energy & climate goals, including those agreed at cop28.

Today’s investment trends are not aligned with the levels necessary for the world to have a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and to achieve the interim goals agreed at COP28. The current momentum behind renewable power is impressive, and if the current spending trend continues, it would cover approximately two-thirds of the total investment needed to triple renewable capacity by 2030. But an extra USD 500 billion per year is required in the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE Scenario) to fill the gap completely (including spending for grids and battery storage). This equates to a doubling of current annual spending on renewable power generation, grids, and storage in 2030, in order to triple renewable capacity.

The goal of doubling the pace of energy efficiency improvement requires an even greater additional effort. While investment in the electrification of transport is relatively strong and brings important efficiency gains, investment in other efficiency measures – notably building retrofits – is well below where it needs to be: efficiency investments in buildings fell in 2023 and are expected to decline further in 2024. A tripling in the current annual rate of spending on efficiency and electrification – to about USD 1.9 trillion in 2030 – is needed to double the rate of energy efficiency improvements.

Anticipated oil and gas investment in 2024 is broadly in line with the level of investment required in 2030 in the Stated Policies Scenario, a scenario which sees oil and natural gas demand levelling off before 2030. However, global spare oil production capacity is already close to 6 million barrels per day (excluding Iran and Russia) and there is a shift expected in the coming years towards a buyers’ market for LNG. Against this backdrop, the risk of over-investment would be strong if the world moves swiftly to meet the net zero pledges and climate goals in the Announced Pledges Scenario (APS) and the NZE Scenario.

The NZE Scenario sees a major rebalancing of investments in fuel supply, away from fossil fuels and towards low-emissions fuels, such as bioenergy and low-emissions hydrogen, as well as CCUS. Achieving net zero emissions globally by 2050 would mean annual investment in oil, gas, and coal falls by more than half, from just over USD 1 trillion in 2024 to below USD 450 billion per year in 2030, while spending on low-emissions fuels increases tenfold, to about USD 200 billion in 2030 from just under USD 20 billion today.

The required increase in clean energy investments in the NZE Scenario is particularly steep in many emerging and developing economies. The cost of capital remains one of the largest barriers to investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure in many EMDE, with financing costs at least twice as high as in advanced economies as well as China. Macroeconomic and country-specific factors are the major contributors to the high cost of capital for clean energy projects, but so, too, are risks specific to the energy sector. Alongside actions by national policy makers, enhanced support from DFIs can play a major role in lowering financing costs and bringing in much larger volumes of private capital.

Targeted concessional support is particularly important for the least-developed countries that will otherwise struggle to access adequate capital. Our analysis shows cumulative financing for energy projects by DFIs was USD 470 billion between 2013 and 2021, with China-based DFIs accounting for slightly over half of the total. There was a significant reduction in financing for fossil fuel projects over this period, largely because of reduced Chinese support. However, this was not accompanied by a surge in support for clean energy projects. DFI support was provided almost exclusively (more than 90%) as debt (not all concessional) with only about 3% reported as equity financing and about 6% as grants. This debt was provided in hard currency or in the currency of donors, with almost no local-currency financing being reported.

The lack of local-currency lending pushes up borrowing costs and in many cases is the primary reason behind the much higher cost of capital in EMDE compared to advanced economies. High hedging costs often make this financing unaffordable to many of the least-developed countries and raises questions of debt sustainability. More attention is needed from DFIs to focus interventions on project de-risking that can mobilise much higher multiples of private capital.

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