Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
Words of Transition

Today's essay question is:

Change in your school:
  If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

This essay question, like the last one, asks you to imagine something. In order to write about an imagined situation you will have to use conditional sentences like the ones we studied last time. However, today let's concentrate on another tool for making sentences: words of transition. Words of transition
are used to join sentences, idea groups and paragraphs together. They signal the relationship of ideas and make your point clearer. Below, I have listed some common words of transition along with some example sentences relating to today's essay topic. Read all of these and then go to quizlab and take the quiz called 'transitions'.

Adding information

in addition
   The gym at our school has very dark lighting. In addition, it is not air-conditioned so it is very hot in the summer.

The library at our school is very small and can only seat around 30 students. Moreover, there are very few books although they have been chosen well.

We should change the doors in the classrooms because they are very noisey. Furthermore, the desks are also very old and need to be replaced.

Besides these changes. we could aslo use some new blackboards. Some of them are very old and hard to read.

Contrasting information

Our school has several places to practice music, however we need a larger band room that we can use for practice whenever we want.

We have a large playing field for sports activities, nevertheless there are many sports that we cannot do for lack of space.

on the one hand/on the other hand
On the one hand , our school has most of the things it needs, on the other hand most of the buildings are very old and need replacing.

in contrast
Some schools in Osaka have elevators and even escalators, in contrast our school has only stairways.

Comparing information

Our gymnasium needs replacing, similarly the main building should be rebuilt as well.

The government has given the elementary school a new building so we should also get a new one.


as a result
The cafeteria is very small. As a result, most students must bring a packed lunch to school.

We do not have an auditorium, therefore the gym must be used, or we sometimes have to borrow a nearby community center for all school functions involving large groups of people.

The main building does not have enough room for a shoe-changing room. Consequently we must use a temporary building which is outside.


otherwise ( if (x) doesn't happen, then (y) will. )
We must make changes to our school soon. Otherwise, the quality of education Ikeda Fuzoku is known for may suffer.

Ordering information

firstly, secondly, finally  ( I think you know how these words are used.)

Now go to quizlab and take the quiz called 'transitions'.

After you are finished with the quiz, read the answer. (Click here)

For quizlab
'classwords' are:

Passwords are:

* By the way, for those of you seriously considering taking the TOEFL test in order to enter a university in an English speaking country, I'd like to recommend a web site called 'WriteFix' for self-study. It is all about how to write essays like this and has many very good explanations and strategies.