English literature demands connectivity and a fluidity of voice. These connectors are known as transitional words, and they hold together sentences or whole sections of prose. Rather than just plopping down fact after fact, writers use transitions to link ideas in their work. Transitional phrases aid the reader in understanding what is being said and how it relates to other parts of a text. Most commonly, transitional phrases occur at the beginning of sentences and are followed by a comma.

Common Transitional Phrases

Transitions are words or phrases that do a certain job, such as showing time, giving an example, comparing or emphasizing. These connectors create a positive flow in literature, and help the audience understand the progression of thought. Common transitional phrases for time include "first," "second," "finally," and "then." Transitions to give an example include "in this case," "to demonstrate," and "to illustrate." Comparative transitional phrases are also important and include "on the other hand," "nevertheless," "conversely" and "meanwhile." Transitions that emphasize include "definitely," "obviously," "surprisingly," and "without a doubt."