Easy Words to Use as Sentence Starters to Write Better Essays

Updated on January 9, 2020
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Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

How to Improve the Vocabulary of Your Essay
How to Improve the Vocabulary of Your Essay

Transition

Word or phrase that shows relationship between ideas. Usually used at the start of a sentence.

Improve Your Writing Today!

Can you quickly and easily improve your writing? Absolutely! For over 20 years, I've taught these tips to students and seen their writing dramatically improve. Why?

  1. Using transition words helps you resist the habit of using a simple subject-verb sentence structure.
  2. Transitions link your ideas more effectively and create more nuanced meaning.
  3. Finally, transitions make your writing sound more professional and less like spoken language.

Improving Your Essay: Choosing the Perfect Words
Improving Your Essay: Choosing the Perfect Words

How To Use Sentence Starter Lists

The most important tip to quickly improve your writing is to follow one rule:

Start every sentence in a paragraph with a different word. How? Here is my step-by-step guide:

  • Use the transition list as you write: Think about how the sentences in your paragraph relate to one another. Are you comparing and contrasting two ideas? Use "Showing Contrast" transition words below. Are you writing about steps in a process? Then use the "Adding to an Idea" transition words below. When writing about something that happened, use the "Sequence/Time" transitions I've provided.
  • Using the transition list while you are revising: Sometimes, it is easier not to worry about these words until your final draft stage, especially if you are a beginning writer. How do you do this? Use the following tips:
  1. Go through your first draft and circle the first word in every sentence.
  2. If you use the same word to start a sentence twice in a paragraph, then you need to choose another transition word and re-word the sentence.

Choosing the Right Word

How can you choose the right word for each sentence? What makes using transitions improve your writing is that it forces you to explain the connections between your ideas. Ask yourself:

  1. What does the sentence before this one say?
  2. How does this sentence relate to that one?
  3. Scan the list for a transition that seems to fit best. You can also use these questions for help:

Does this sentence add information? Use: moreover, furthermore, additionally, not only...but also, or another addition transition.

Does the sentence contrast or contradict? Use: however, on the other hand, in contrast, yet, conversely, or another contrasting transition.

Are you writing something that happens in order? Use: next, then, in fact, similarly, or a time word like first, second, third, and finally.

Does this sentence add evidence? Use: for example, consequently, for this reason, or another adding transition.

Does the sentence emphasize an idea? Use: obviously, especially, as a rule, particularly, or another emphasizing transition.

Does the sentence start your conclusion: Use: finally, in conclusion, in sum, obviously, or another concluding transition.

Tips to Remember

1. Use a variety of transition words, not the same one.

2. Put a comma after the transition word.

3. Put the subject of the sentence after the comma.

Choosing the Right Word to Start, End, and Transition Topics
Choosing the Right Word to Start, End, and Transition Topics

Transition Word List

Words to Show Contrast
Words to Add to an Idea
Words That Show Cause
Words That Add Emphasis
however
additionally
accordingly
admittedly
although
moreover
as a result
above all
conversely
furthermore
because
as a rule
in contrast
as well as
consequently
as usual
instead
another reason
due to
assuredly
in comparison
along with
for this reason
certainly
nevertheless
also
for this purpose
chiefly
whereas
coupled with
hence
especially
yet
correspondingly
otherwise
granted
on the one hand…on the other hand
for example
since
generally speaking
on the contrary
in addition
so then
for the most part
other than
indeed
subsequently
in this situation
outside of
in fact
therefore
no doubt (undoubtedly)
rather
identically
thereupon
obviously
still
likewise
this is why
of course
besides
again
thus
ordinarily
comparatively
similarly
wherefore
particularly
different from
whereas
following this
singularly
even though
likewise
as you can see
unquestionably
otherwise
one other thing
for all of those reasons
usually

2. Use a Variety of Words When Citing Examples

 
 
 
 
especially
for one thing
in particular (particularly)
specifically
chiefly
as an illustration
markedly
this can be seen in
for/as an example
illustrated with/by
namely
such as
for instance
in this case
including
in fact
Use any of these alternatives to add clarity and variety to your writing.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Essay
Easy Ways to Improve Your Essay

3. Use Different Words to Order Events and Sequence Time

 
 
 
 
first... second... third...
currently
with this in mind
in turn
generally... furthermore... finally
during
for now
later on
in the first place... also... lastly
earlier
immediately
meanwhile
to be sure... additionally... lastly
eventually
in the meantime
next
first... just in the same way... finally
finally
for the time being
then
basically... similarly... as well as
first of all
the next step
simultaneously
afterward
to begin with
in conclusion
soon
at first
in the first place
in time
while
Use a wide variety of words to show how ideas are chronologically related.

4. Use Interesting Words When Summarizing

 
 
 
 
after all
in any event
in other words
on balance
all in all
in brief
in short
that is (that is to say)
all things considered
in conclusion
in brief
therefore
briefly
in essence
in summary
to put it differently
by and large
indeed
in the final analysis
to sum up
hence
on the whole
in the long run
to summarize
in any case
overall
namely
finally
lastly
once and for all
conclusively
at the end
Use a wide variety of words to sum up the point you are making.

Examples of Using Transition Words

Example 1

Without transition words:

Cell phones have changed our family communication for the worse. Parents complain about their teenagers spending too much time on their phones. Teenagers are annoyed that they can't get the attention of their parents, who are always working or shopping on their phones. We need to make some changes.

Adding transition words:

Generally speaking, cell phones have changed our family communication for the worse. Obviously, parents complain about their teenagers spending too much time on their phones. Moreover, teenagers are annoyed that they can't get the attention of their parents, who are always working or shopping on their phones. Unquestionably, we need to make some changes.

Example 2

Without transition words

Liz went to the store to get some groceries. She ran into her roommate Joy in the produce section. They argued about whether they were out of blueberries and what they should buy for dinner. Joy insisted that she was better at choosing ripe avocados. Liz retorted that Joy didn't know how to make guacamole correctly and that she was tired of Mexican food every night. They bickered for five minutes. Joy's phone rang. It was their friend Mark inviting them over to his house for dinner. Listening, Liz smiled and nodded. Joy laughed and told him, "We are on our way!"

With transition words

After work, Liz went to the store to get some groceries. In the produce section, she ran into her roommate Joy. First of all, they argued about whether they were out of blueberries, and secondly what they should buy for dinner. Next, Joy insisted that she was better at choosing ripe avocados. Simultaneously, Liz retorted that Joy didn't know how to make guacamole correctly and that she was tired of Mexican food every night. Subsequently, they bickered for five minutes. Finally, Joy's phone rang. Luckily, it was their friend Mark inviting them over to his house for dinner. Listening, Liz smiled and nodded. Consequently, Joy laughed and told him, "We are on our way!"

Improving Your Writing Over Time

Just following my tips to add transition words to your essay can often make your essay much better and will probably improve your grade. Inevitably, as soon as I tell my classes about this technique their writing improves dramatically. Better yet, the more you use transition words in revision, the more you begin to add that technique to your writing during the first draft.

Why does that help? It begins training you to think about how your ideas relate to one another and helps you to write essays that are deeper, more connected and logical. If you've found this technique helpful, or if you have another sentence starting technique, please add your comments below to help out other writers.

How many times to you revise an essay?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • Helpful 1800
  • What is a good way to start a sentence?

    There are many good ways of starting a sentence. A typical way of starting a sentence in English is with the subject. However, that can become monotonous and that is why I suggest that you try using some of these sentence starters, or "ing" words (called gerunds) or other types of phrases which come before the subject.

  • What are other words to use instead of using "I" all the time?

    If you are writing in the first person, you can't avoid using "I." However, if you follow the easy five tips, I give for writing better sentences: https://hubpages.com/humanities/Writing-Effective-...

    you will be able to hide the fact that you are using "I" a lot by not starting every sentence with the personal pronoun.

  • What is the best way to start a story?

    Start a story with a vivid illustration, a story, a question, or a personal example.

  • Are you a real person?

    Yes, I am a real English instructor. I have worked for over 20 years at a large private University in the United States. My biography and picture are on my profile page. I personally respond to all comments and questions which have substance and would be useful to more than just one person. Everything on VirginiaLynne has been written by me, and most of the writing articles are developed from the instructional materials I've written for my own classes.

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    • GeorgeXu profile image

      George Xu 

      6 days ago from Philippines

      Great article to help me with writing essays! Well done!

    • profile image

      Cool Kid 

      4 weeks ago

      Thank You

    • profile image

      Matt Barrow 

      4 weeks ago

      Thank you! This is incredibly helpful for me! I always have trouble writing an essay because I use cliched phrases that I don't like. Or I don't know how to start and structure at all. I write a lot of essays in my studies and I want them to be good and of high quality.

    • profile image

      Ben dover 

      6 weeks ago

      this helped

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      7 weeks ago from United States

      Hi Jessie! You can use a variety of words to show reasons or examples for your position:

      One example

      Another reason

      A third explanation

      First, Secondly, Thirdly

      Furthermore, an important point

      Moreover, the most compelling reason

    • profile image

      Jessie 

      7 weeks ago

      How can I start an essay for examples of three things w/o being repetitive or using the word things

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 months ago from United States

      Hi Landyn, good for you for realizing that a business letter needs to be in a more professional tone and that "I" and "the" are very repetitive and make your sentences seem rather less professional. Actually, all of the words in these lists can help you. It might be appropriate to use "I" in the first sentence or at least one of the first sentences if you are introducing yourself, but you can also use the technique of reversing the words in a sentnce or adding an introductory element. to make the sentence sound more interesting. Here are some examples:

      I am writing to ask you to consider me for a position in your company because I am an expert in communication technology.

      As an expert in communication technology, I am writing to ask you to consider me for a position in your company.

    • profile image

      Landyn Lindsey 

      2 months ago

      What would be good word to use at the start of a sentence instead of using “the” and “I” for a letter to a business? Also, what would help me be less repetitive?

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      3 months ago from United States

      Hi Ella, I wouldn't worry too much about "the" because words like that are not really directly replaceable by another word. What I think you are having a problem with is using "the" with the same noun too often. When that happens, you need to think about other ways to refer to that person, place or thing. For example "the book" could be replaced by the title of the book, or a phrase like "what I'm reading," of "novel" or just "it."

    • profile image

      Ella Anderson 

      3 months ago

      I´m writing an essay, and we are trying not to be repetitive. What is another word I can use for ¨the¨?

    • profile image

      mia 

      4 months ago

      thank you very much this website is very helpful.

    • KC3Lady profile image

      Kelly Ann Christensen 

      5 months ago from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas

      Thanks for another informative, helpful article.

    • profile image

      Jerry L. Harrell Sr. 

      5 months ago

      Thank you, I didn’t know of this website even was around for someone to use to learn how to write anything. I am going to start using this website to learn. I’m starting to write essays for school and journals.

    • profile image

      Javier Martínez 

      6 months ago

      Thank you for this helpful website I'm from Spain and I'm doing my C1 English test next week and I'm pretty confident thanks to this

    • profile image

      Sam Wally 

      7 months ago

      Thanks, this was very helpful for one of my candidate paragraphs about why should I picked for this role, thanks!

    • profile image

      Virginia Kearn 

      7 months ago

      Thank you for helping me get a 30/30 on my writting

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      7 months ago from United States

      If you have several things you want to say about the importance of the Inca roads, you can use these sentence starters:

      One reason the Inca roads were important is...

      A second importance of the roads was...

      Thirdly, the roads caused...

      Finally, the ultimate significance of the roads was...

    • profile image

      Virginia Kearn 

      7 months ago

      Im in school, We are talking about the Inca Roads and I've already talked about Why the roads were important but I dont know how to sart of my sentence with " This is significant because"

      By the way im in 5th grade.☺

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      7 months ago from United States

      Hi Madison, you can begin a conclusion with any of the following: in sum, finally, the main point, in conclusion, the most important thing to remember, or obviously.

    • profile image

      Madison 

      7 months ago

      How should i start off my conclusion?

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      7 months ago from United States

      Hi Ali! I have over 100 English writing essays here on Owlcation. You can look at my profile for some of them or search by my name.

    • cinderella14 profile image

      Sharon Lopez 

      7 months ago from Philippines

      This is such a helpful piece and I am lucky that I came across your article. Thank you. I can't wait to see your other posts.

    • profile image

      yourfavlatina 

      7 months ago

      this works really well thank you,helps a lot i'll try to share with my friends about this website.

    • profile image

      Ali lan  

      7 months ago

      Thanks so much i am doing a letter with paragraphs for my first english exam and this really helped and i am Asian so i struggle a lot,Please post more of theses stuff thanks

    • profile image

      formvsfunction 

      8 months ago

      Sadly the Language Arts teachers my children had from 6-10th grade were abysmal. Your clear and concise tips is very helpful to my son -- he struggles with organization so he needs tools that can help be a better writer and communicator of his ideas. thanks - we will check out all your postings!!

    • profile image

      Matilda6 

      9 months ago

      Absolutely great for essay writing thanks!

    • profile image

      Charlie 

      9 months ago

      This has been helpful through out all my essays and quite easy to understand

    • profile image

      prim 

      10 months ago

      this website is really helpful

    • profile image

      Ninja 

      10 months ago

      This is quite helpful and I really enjoyed this website and it was really easy to use

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      suhitha 

      10 months ago

      It is really very useful

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      Angela Y. Serrano Robles 

      11 months ago

      Exactly what I was searching for. It has been very useful.

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      Paul boateng 

      11 months ago

      This is very helpful

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      Heaven 

      12 months ago

      It's so simple but helpful at the same time

    • profile image

      lizzy 

      12 months ago

      I just want to know more about writing a good essay. This is good

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      12 months ago

      Very helpful, thanks!

    • profile image

      Ann_VAL 

      12 months ago

      Thanks so much for your help! This will help me make my essays better! I will use this website for years to come!

      Thanks,

      Ann_VAL

    • profile image

      offical_Daddy 

      13 months ago

      Thank you so much it helped me pass my report! It helped ALOT!

    • profile image

      John Wick 

      13 months ago

      Thank You

    • profile image

      Nora 

      13 months ago

      Great help!! Thanks!!!

    • profile image

      Lubna Shahnaz 

      14 months ago

      Very helpful indeed.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      14 months ago from United States

      Hi Ariana, I’m glad to hear my article helped. I have 100+ articles on how to write. You can find them by looking at my profile page, owlcation’s home page, or by Googling my name and the topic you need help with.

    • profile image

      Ariana 

      14 months ago

      Hello Ms. Kearney,

      Thank you so much for creating this website! My essays will be a million times better now! Are there any other articles that you would recommend for me? I intend to read more by you!

      Thanks Again,

      Ariana

    • profile image

      ~*NightStorm*~ 

      14 months ago

      This helped a lot!

      I was racing against time to do my five paragraph essay as the teacher timed my class and I clicked on this and my mind was wide opened with the million ideas I could add.

    • profile image

      Amaria 

      14 months ago

      This was great!!

    • profile image

      selin 

      14 months ago

      so helpful thank you!

    • profile image

      Spase 

      14 months ago

      Thank you brilliant help!

    • profile image

      unknown 

      14 months ago

      It was really helpful for this website and now i know what to start in a sentence

    • profile image

      Mathias Tommy 

      14 months ago

      It is very helpful in my essay writing and it improves my understanding too so I believe that it will give more Hint in writing.Thanks and God will bless you for done this job.

    • profile image

      Shaymaa.alakbaree 

      15 months ago

      Thank you so much

    • profile image

      heaven 

      17 months ago

      these are very good sentences starters.

    • profile image

      zainab 

      18 months ago

      i love this website

    • profile image

      Jackie 

      18 months ago

      Thank you so much this helped to my essays soo much ;)

    • profile image

      angie 

      20 months ago

      Thank you for the wonderful words and the way you fix it to make it understand. : )

    • profile image

      Mandisa Madonda 

      20 months ago

      Thanks a lot...these words really helped me...i'm a student

    • profile image

      Andrew matenga 

      20 months ago

      it is very helpful

    • profile image

      Ereta 

      20 months ago

      Thanks a lot for this I'm a student and after reading this I was mind open all I want to say that this is the best❤❤❤❤

    • profile image

      feza byolenganya 

      20 months ago

      thank you for help me .

    • profile image

      omar & hana 

      21 months ago

      this is very helpful

    • profile image

      Cassie 

      21 months ago

      This is very helpful

    • profile image

      Muhammad Abdullah 

      23 months ago

      Very effective and helpful thank you so much.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      23 months ago from United States

      Hi Nicole--I have lots of instructions on how to write articles. I'd suggest you start looking at my articles on How to Write an Argument Essay at Owlcation. Google that and you'll find it.

    • profile image

      Nicole 

      23 months ago

      My son has to write a 500 word essay on violence and the Impact. And yes I've never in my life wrote an essay. So not sure on how to even start nor word it? Can someone please clue me in thanks.

    • profile image

      evan 

      24 months ago

      Helped me

    • profile image

      SaraFPU 

      2 years ago

      This article was concise and helpful :)

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hi "Don't!"

      I think your sentence would work but it is a bit hard to tell out of context of the paragraph. However, I think it would be better if you said:

      Until, finally, Lindbergh made it to Paris...

      or

      Finally, Lindbergh made it to Paris...

      or

      The crowd watched for hours until, finally, Lindbergh made it to Paris.

    • profile image

      Don't want to tell you my name.... 

      2 years ago

      Hi Can I say Until finally Lindbergh had made it to Paris?

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      How about an electrifying (or provocative) gastronomical event? Or

    • profile image

      Helen Davies1 

      2 years ago

      can you recommend an alternative for the words:

      sizzling experience (food review)

    • profile image

      Dilnoza 

      2 years ago

      thanks a million!!!

    • profile image

      Pipit 

      2 years ago

      Thank you very much

    • profile image

      Lovi 

      2 years ago

      Thanks mate! helps a lot

    • profile image

      suzy 

      2 years ago

      thank you a lot!

    • profile image

      Steven 

      2 years ago

      This is insightful, thank you so much

    • profile image

      Fuat 

      2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Virginia.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hi Fuat, I now understand your question more clearly. With the added information you give here, I would have to say that "especially" is not a good substitute for "in particular." In a dialogue or quoting someone talking, I think it would be appropriate to use the sentences "I have a number of hobbies. Especially, I like swimming." However, in a formal written document, it is not really the correct form in American English. "In particular, I like swimming" is a correct phrase.

    • profile image

      Fuat 

      2 years ago

      Thanks Virginia. And yet in your samples "especially" refers to "in the summer" and "when it is a warm day" respectively, whereas in my example it referred to "swimming". So, again, can it be used in place of "in particular" - as in "I have a number of hobbies. In particular/especially, I like swimming". Thanks in advance.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      To make this a good sentence you need something between "especially" and the subject "I." These words would explain the "especially" when or what. Here are some samples:

      Especially in the summer, I like swimming.

      Especially when it is a very warm day, I like swimming.

    • profile image

      Fuat 

      2 years ago

      Thanks a lot, Virginia. So, would a sentence like "Especially I like swimming" be correct?

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hello Fuat, these are words that are intended to help you start your sentences with something other than just the subject. Some of these words work alone and others need to be put into a phrase. "Especially" is one of those sorts of words. Here are some examples:

      Especially in the summer, I love to take a walk in the woods.

      Especially when my daughter is taking a nap, I enjoy a quiet cup of tea and a good novel.

      Especially nice is a hot summer day and a cool dip in our neighbor's pool.

    • profile image

      Fuat 

      2 years ago

      Hello, Virginia. Thanks for this undoubtedly useful article. I'd like to clarify something: the title of this material is "sentence starters". Does it mean that the above mentioned words can be used at the beginning of a sentence? e.g. Can I start a sentence with "especially"? Thank you in advance.

    • profile image

      logan paul 

      2 years ago

      thanks for this

    • profile image

      Wolffy 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for this, I used this for my essay and I got an A.

    • profile image

      cheyenne hartsfield 

      2 years ago

      Thanks i cant wait to print this out and carry it with me for my English class . And take it out when i can .

    • profile image

      Prilum 

      2 years ago

      Very effective and helpful

    • profile image

      Anand 

      2 years ago

      Very nice

      Extremely helpful

      Especially for me

      I hope other s also enjoyed.

      Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      JC 

      2 years ago

      I can now write a better essay, thanks to this.

    • profile image

      DJ 

      2 years ago

      THANKS FOR THE HELP BECAUSE I WAS REALLY IN TROUBLE GETTING ALL MY WORK DONE!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Olivia 

      2 years ago

      This helped me a lot.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hi jlc--I'm glad to hear that you work hard at your revision. I'm not sure about the "Same for" as a start. Could you give me the full sentence? I can't think of a sentence that is correct which uses that beginning; however, sometimes in conversation and dialogue, it is appropriate to write what people are speaking, even if it is not correct grammar.

    • profile image

      Dimitris 

      2 years ago

      Thank you very much from Greece, you are great. HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

    • profile image

      jlc 

      2 years ago

      I may revise 50 times and I stop only when I no longer change any word.

      But what about starting a sentence with "Same for..." ?

    • profile image

      sofia 

      2 years ago

      Thank you from Italy!

    • profile image

      Frangky 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for the tips

    • profile image

      Lucille 

      2 years ago

      Love this article! Great for when you are unsure of how to start sentences.

    • profile image

      lex 

      2 years ago

      this was very helpful thank you so much

    • profile image

      213460@class.org 

      2 years ago

      Thank you very much

    • profile image

      sunny 

      2 years ago

      this really helped me and it is still helping me cause am writing an essay now. thanks

    • profile image

      farzaneh 

      2 years ago

      this sit helps me to improve my skills i love to follow this kind of web sit due to they are so use full

    • profile image

      blah blah 

      2 years ago

      this help me a lot on the essay thanks

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