Easy Words to Use as Sentence Starters to Write Better Essays

Updated on March 28, 2018
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VirginiaLynne 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? Yes. 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 habitually using 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 for improving your writing quickly 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 are related to one another. If you are comparing and contrasting two ideas, then use the "Showing Contrast" transition words (see list 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.
  3. How to choose transition words? Think about how each sentence fits with the one before it.

Does this sentence add information? Then use "moreover," "furthermore," or another word that adds to the idea.
If this sentence contrasts with the previous sentence, you might use "however" or "on the other hand."
If it is a time sequence, use "next," "then," or consider using "first," "second," etc.
Don’t use the same transition too often. Also, don't forget the comma after the transition word and don't forget to put the subject of the sentence after the comma.

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, or another addition transition.

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

Are you writing something that happens in order? Use: next, then, or consider using time order like first, second, third, and finally.

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

Does the sentence emphasize an idea? Use: obviously, especially, as a rule, particularly or another emphasizing 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 Consequence
Words That Add Emphasis
although
additionally
accordingly
admittedly
besides
also
as a result
above all
conversely
again
because
as a rule
however
as well as
consequently
as usual
in contrast
besides
due to
assuredly
in comparison
comparatively
for this reason
certainly
instead
consequently
for this purpose
chiefly
likewise
coupled with
hence
especially
nevertheless
correspondingly
otherwise
granted
on the one hand…on the other hand
furthermore
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
similarly
likewise
this is why
of course
yet
moreover
thus
ordinarily
still
similarly
wherefore
particularly
whereas
whereas
 
singularly
 
 
 
unquestionably
 
 
 
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
 
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
Use a wide variety of words to sum up the point you are making.

Example

Short paragraph without transition words:

Cell phones have changed our family communication for the worse. Parents complain their teenagers spending too much time on their phone. 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.

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

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    • profile image

      evan 10 days ago

      Helped me

    • profile image

      SaraFPU 3 weeks ago

      This article was concise and helpful :)

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 6 weeks 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.... 6 weeks ago

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

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 weeks ago from United States

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

    • profile image

      Helen Davies1 8 weeks ago

      can you recommend an alternative for the words:

      sizzling experience (food review)

    • profile image

      Dilnoza 2 months ago

      thanks a million!!!

    • profile image

      Pipit 2 months ago

      Thank you very much

    • profile image

      Lovi 2 months ago

      Thanks mate! helps a lot

    • profile image

      suzy 3 months ago

      thank you a lot!

    • profile image

      Steven 3 months ago

      This is insightful, thank you so much

    • profile image

      Fuat 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Virginia.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 3 months 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 3 months 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 image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 3 months 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 3 months ago

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

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago

      thanks for this

    • profile image

      Wolffy 4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      cheyenne hartsfield 4 months 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 5 months ago

      Very effective and helpful

    • profile image

      Anand 5 months ago

      Very nice

      Extremely helpful

      Especially for me

      I hope other s also enjoyed.

      Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      JC 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      DJ 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Olivia 5 months ago

      This helped me a lot.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      jlc 5 months 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 5 months ago

      Thank you from Italy!

    • profile image

      Frangky 5 months ago

      Thanks for the tips

    • profile image

      Lucille 6 months ago

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

    • profile image

      lex 6 months ago

      this was very helpful thank you so much

    • profile image

      213460@class.org 6 months ago

      Thank you very much

    • profile image

      sunny 6 months ago

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

    • profile image

      farzaneh 6 months 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 6 months ago

      this help me a lot on the essay thanks

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is really useful. Things I should have learned in school but have not really done so. Thanks for a great hub.

    • alexarain379 profile image

      Alexa Rain 7 months ago from egypt

      Great Hub!

      i found it very helpful.

      transition words collection and related things, thank you.

    • profile image

      ighost01 7 months ago

      Hello Madam, this is the best article about English I found on the net. Thank you very much for sharing it.

    • profile image

      Rasheed 7 months ago

      I really helped a lot I will really the web

    • profile image

      Chris 7 months ago

      hey if youre reading this, just know you helped me a lot, thank you

    • profile image

      Qila 7 months ago

      Hello,,thus article really helped me aolt fo my upcomng exam,,thank you Mrs Virginia Keaney for sharing this article..

      May god bless you.. :)

    • profile image

      Karim 8 months ago

      well that helped a lot thank you very much

    • profile image

      goodguy 8 months ago

      Hi, thanks for this article. I was writing an undergrad engineering report and this helped me a lot. Thanks for your time and effort and God bless you.

    • profile image

      serge 8 months ago

      thanks (lol don't judge me) writing 3 take home essays tonight. We can only use notes from Professors lectures; you are immensely helping me.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Lulu! I used to assign a reflection journal in my class. What I had my students do was to either just reflect on something that happened that week, or to talk about something they had read or seen in the media, or to reflect on a question. You probably need to check out my articles on reflection and personal experience essays. You can find my other articles by searching this website, by looking at my profile page or looking at the links to the side of this article.

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      Thank you so much this helped a lot!

    • profile image

      Lulu 8 months ago

      Thank you so much for your great tips ,it helped me

      I just want to ask you how can I write reflection journal

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Tammy--I'm so very glad this helped you. Thanks for letting me know! You made my day.

    • profile image

      Tammy Ballard 8 months ago

      I just started college at age 47. The instructor said write a summary and impact response paper on pages 9 to 36. I immediately panicked, after reading your article I'm feeling much more confident in doing my first college assignment. Thank you so much!!!!

    • profile image

      Cris Michael Andrews 8 months ago

      This helped me so much!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Cambry--Thanks so much for letting me know this helped you. I've had almost a million views from this one idea now. It is very gratifying to know I have helped people learn to write better.

    • profile image

      Cambry 8 months ago

      Thank you so much! This helped me with my writing assesment and I got an A+! Thank you!!!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Harni--I have lots of help for writing essays of all sorts. Just follow the links to the side of this article, or look at the links to different kinds of essays on my profile page.

    • profile image

      Harni 8 months ago

      Hiya

      This helped me sooo much Thank You

      I was just wondering how to start an essay like the introduction

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Ryan, You can use any of the words here in front of the "I" or you can use a phrase from the end of the sentence. Here is an example:

      I am going to the store because I need to buy groceries.

      Because I need groceries, I'm going to the store.

      Frankly, I need groceries, so I'm going to the store.

    • profile image

      Ryan C. 8 months ago

      Hi, I was just wondering easy ways to replace I at the beginning of a sentence. Sometimes, I struggle with this, and the replacements I find sound unnatural. This is a great article though.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Sepphora, you want to start by underlining all the first words in your sentences. When you find you are using the same word to start a sentence (especially in the same paragraph) you should use one of these ideas instead.

    • profile image

      sepphora 8 months ago

      my problem is the different word to use or replace .

    • profile image

      kimberly 9 months ago

      This helps me so much

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 9 months ago from United States

      Hi Mimi--To avoid the passive sentence, you want to put the actor first. In your example, one way to fix this is to ask "who considered Mimi?" Then instead of "was given consideration" you would use the more direct "considered." Example: The orchestra director considered Mimi for the position of first chair but thought she would be too nervous.

    • profile image

      Mimi 9 months ago

      How do you write non-passive sentences? For example, Mimi was given consideration...

    • profile image

      Amy 9 months ago

      thank you very much, it really helped me :)

    • profile image

      Sanchit 9 months ago

      Already bookmarked it. This article helped me for my entire 2 years masters. Thanks a lot for writing such informative post. Also, do write & update us with more of this awesome posts

    • profile image

      Anna 9 months ago

      Thank u very much ,the info really created an impact in my essay writing.

    • profile image

      Deep kamal 9 months ago

      Thanks it really helps me while writing

    • profile image

      Chitah 10 months ago

      I'm very thankful for this article. It really helps my essay

    • profile image

      lourisa 10 months ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Jill 10 months ago

      Great advice well laid out

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Dawood 10 months ago

      Hi, Virginia!

      Awesome Article, no words for your well-crafted words.

    • profile image

      Hasan 10 months ago

      Thanks for all

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 11 months ago from United States

      Hi, Thomas--I'm glad you asked. I have over 100 articles to help people improve their writing, including ideas for proofreading your own essay and questions you can use to have other people evaluate your essay to help you improve your writing. I also have an article on effective sentences and grammar help for using punctuation marks. You can find these articles by looking at my profile page or following the links on the side with my name. In working with non-native writers, I find the most important editing technique is to have several people look at your essay carefully and to read the essay out loud as you proofread. My final best tip is to focus on one or two rules a time as you go through the paper. Then you can make sure that you have corrected for that error carefully. Hopefully, your instructor can help guide you to know which rules are most important for you to focus on first. I'm afraid I don't know of any websites where you can submit your work to get help.

    • profile image

      Thomas 11 months ago

      Hey, great article!

      Do you have any suggestions for non-native english speakers that are working on an english essay? Especially regarding proof reading?

      Are there any platforms where one can get help from others?

      Thanks!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 11 months ago from United States

      Hi Mahmoud! I have over 100 articles on writing that are published here on Letterpile. You can find help with grammar and also on how to structure sentences and essays. Look at my profile or follow the links to the side that have my name.

    • profile image

      Mahmoud 11 months ago

      Thanks. That was great and useful. Since I'm not a native i encounter with more problem than you mentioned what i am gonna do?

    • profile image

      Ana 11 months ago

      Absolutely amazing tips!

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Sam 12 months ago

      Nice article Virginia, I have gained from it a lot especially the transition words. being a newbie at content writing this article helps.

    • profile image

      himabindu 13 months ago

      Hi Virginia Kearney,

      Thank you so much for the quick response.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 13 months ago from United States

      Hi, Himabindu- "So," is generally used as a coordinating conjunction (others are "and," "but," "or," and "yet") and therefore would generally not be used correctly to start a sentence, but rather as a way to join two sentences. Example:

      The bookstore didn't have what we wanted, so we went elsewhere.

      However, in your example, you are using "so" as an interjection in a conversational style sentence. You could vary this by saying:

      Actually, I don't...

      In reality, I don't

      Furthermore, I really don't...

      The truth is that I really don't...

      In the second example, you are using "as" in an introductory phrase, which is another way to vary your sentences besides just using a sentence starter transition word. When you are trying to decide how to write a sentence differently, you need to decide what that sentence is doing. Is it adding to what you've already said? Then use words like "Additionally" or "Furthermore." Is it contradicting or changing the direction? Use "However," "In contrast" or "On the other hand." In your two examples, you are talking about the cause, so the best choices are "Because," "Since":

      Since this book is not useful to me, I really don't want it on my shelf.

      Because this book wasn't useful to me, I don't want it on my shelf.

      You can also vary the meaning a bit with sentences like this:

      In general, this book wasn't really useful to me, so I don't want it on my shelf.

    • profile image

      Himabindu 13 months ago

      hi.. this post is very useful. If I have to use transition words that means, 'so' or 'as' or 'that's why' what I have to use? For example, I say " So, I don't want to use this in my book" or " As this book is not useful to me, I don't want to see this on my shelf." If I have to say the same sentences in a different way, how can I say?

      Please help.

    • profile image

      Fatima Roque 13 months ago

      Thank you so much, this will help me in my IELTS preparation especially in writing and speaking as well. :)

    • profile image

      Ronald Cole 13 months ago

      This information has helped me a great deal. I have never been one to write much using transition words has always been a weakest.

      Thanks

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 14 months ago from United States

      Hi "Hannah Baker," I'm so glad to hear that you are writing a book. My teenage daughter is also a writer and I think it is really wonderful that anyone can now write something and post it online for others to read. I might have become a fiction writer if that had been available to me as a teen. Thank you for spending the time to know that I've helped you. I teach college students but I have found many younger people are also looking at my articles and I'm thinking about creating some information just for them. I'd love to hear what younger people want to know about how to write better.

    • profile image

      Hannah Baker 14 months ago

      My name is not really Hannah Baker though, just a cover up. I'm a teen I and love writting. I'm recently stuck on a book that I'm writting, called "The Chosen One," and I was getting for frustrated because I kept using the same words or phrases. I ended up finding this website and it really helped me, so thank you very much.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 14 months ago from United States

      Hi Jodah! I'm often trying to force myself to use some new transition words in my writing as well. Along with the words I put in this article, you can also use different kinds of phrases at the start of a sentence. I especially like gerund phrases like "Walking down the street," "Thinking about my children," or "Writing in a new way."

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is very helpful Virginia. I never start sentences in a paragraph with the same word, and do use transition words, but I probably only use the same favourites over and over (about 10) as you mentioned in your comment to Bianca.

    • profile image

      Hammad 15 months ago

      Solved my biggest problem as I always tend to use same transitions again and again in a paragraph. Thanks, I appreciate your effort.

    • profile image

      Collin 15 months ago

      this really helped thanks

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 15 months ago from United States

      Bianca--I generally find the adding and contrasting words are the most useful for me. In fact, I think that when you start to use this technique that most people pick 6-10 favorite words and use them most of the time.

    • profile image

      Bianca di'Angelo 15 months ago

      Thank you for this. I'm writing an essay on how advertising affects youth but I keep needing to pause every few words to try and find just the right one. Another or additionally... overall or in conclusion. I think the most helpful ones for me were the words to add ideas

    • profile image

      Eriurhukpe 15 months ago

      This is a lifeline for me.thank you

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 15 months ago from United States

      Michaela--Whether this will work as a subject for your paper depends on your assignment. You could do "legends about elves" and find evidence on that.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 15 months ago from United States

      Hi, Liv-I have two articles that could help you. One is about writing a thesis sentence and the other is about writing topic sentences in paragraphs. Often, these sentence starters can be used to write better topic sentences because they can help you link your ideas and show how one topic sentence either adds or contrasts to the ideas before.

    • profile image

      Liv 15 months ago

      I don't understand how to start the topic sentence of the paragraph, so I suggest that this page should include starting words for topic sentences in paragraphs

    • profile image

      Jorge Oliveira 15 months ago

      Thank you so much for showing me how to use transitions with accuracy!

    • profile image

      Kendall Kincaid 17 months ago

      Thank you for the help!

    • profile image

      Kayla Miller 17 months ago

      Thank you soo much for the Article! That will come in handy in writing assignments

    • profile image

      Russell Morrison 17 months ago

      Reading this has given me some new words to start my paragraphs with. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Oscar 17 months ago

      This helped me improve my writing.Thanks :)

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