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Easy Words to Use as Sentence Starters to Write Better Essays

Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

You've heard of sentence starters, but how do you use them? Read on to learn how!

You've heard of sentence starters, but how do you use them? Read on to learn how!

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?

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

In this article, I break down how to choose transition phrases, use different words for points within your argument, and conclude your essay smoothly.

What Is a Transition Word?

A transition word is a word or phrase that shows the relationship between ideas. Usually, a transition word is used at the start of a sentence. use sequential transitions, and conclude your argument in an interesting way!

Finding the perfect words can be tricky, but what's more important than 'perfect' words are 'different' words.

Finding the perfect words can be tricky, but what's more important than 'perfect' words are 'different' words.

How to Use This Sentence Starter Resource

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

Start every sentence in a paragraph with a different word.

How can one accomplish this? There are two different approaches:

  1. 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 in the table below. Are you writing about steps in a process or building an argument? Then use the "Adding to an Idea" transition words below. When writing about something that happened, use the "Sequence/Time" transitions list.
  2. 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:
  • Go through your first draft and circle the first word in every sentence.
  • 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 based on what type of paper you are writing.

How to Choose the Beginning of a Sentence

Transitions improve your writing by forcing you to explain the connections between your ideas. With this in mind, what is the best way to choose a beginning word or phrase for each sentence? Ask yourself:

  1. What does the sentence before this one say?
  2. What does the sentence before this one mean?
  3. How does this sentence relate to the following sentence?
  4. Scan the list for a transition that seems to fit best based on your answers to the above.

More Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Transition

You can also use these questions to determine what type of transition is appropriate:

  • 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 contrast 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. Alternatively, use another sequential transition.
  • Does this sentence add evidence? Use: for example, consequently, for this reason, or another addition transition.
  • Does the sentence emphasize an idea? Use: obviously, especially, as a rule, particularly, or another emphasis transition.
  • Does the sentence start your conclusion? Use: finally, in conclusion, in sum, obviously, or another conclusion transition.

Tips for Using Transition Words and Phrases

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 can make or break an essay.

Choosing the right word to start, end, and transition topics can make or break an essay.

Transition Words for Each Argument

As I've mentioned above, it's critical to choose a transition word based on the type of argument you're making and what the previous sentence was about. Here I list out the most appropriate transition words for

  • contrasting ideas,
  • adding more information to a prior idea,
  • cause and effect situations, and
  • ideas that emphasize your former sentence/idea.
Words to Show ContrastWords to Add to an IdeaWords That Show CauseWords That Add Emphasis







as a result

above all




as a rule

in contrast

as well as


as usual


another reason

due to


in comparison

along with

for this reason




for this purpose



coupled with







on the one hand…on the other hand

for example


generally speaking

on the contrary

in addition

so then

for the most part

other than



in this situation

outside of

in fact


no doubt (undoubtedly)







this is why

of course









different from


following this


even though


as you can see



one other thing

for all of those reasons


Use a Variety of Words When Citing Examples

It's likely that throughout your argument, you will use examples to support your claims. The following transition words and phrases will help you smoothly move into your example or citation.

Example: Using Transition Words to Cite Examples

They should be used when the following structure is implemented:

  • Idea, [example/citation transition] example or citation.

For example:

  • Despite being many different colors in the wild, foxes are often depicted as red-orange in movies. This can be seen in the movie The Fox and the Hound, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Robin Hood.
  • Broken down: Despite being many different colors in the wild, foxes are often depicted as red-orange in movies [idea]. This can be seen in [example/citation transition] the movie The Fox and the Hound, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Robin Hood [example(s)].

Use any of these alternatives to add clarity and variety to your writing.


as an illustration


this can be seen in


for one thing

in particular (particularly)


for/as an example

illustrated with/by


such as

for instance

in this case


in fact

These simple suggestions can take your essay all the way to an 'A' grade!

These simple suggestions can take your essay all the way to an 'A' grade!

Use Different Words to Order Events

When writing about a sequential or linear event, it's important to maintain clarity by noting the specific order of the ideas as they occur. We're straying from our fox example here in order to illustrate a longer narrative.

Example: Using Transition Words to Indicate Sequence/Order of Events

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. Joy's phone rang. Luckily, 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!"

Use a wide variety of words to show how ideas are chronologically related.

generally . . . furthermore . . . finally


for now

later on

first . . . second . . . third . . .


with this in mind

in turn

in the first place . . . also . . . lastly




to be sure . . . additionally . . . lastly


in the meantime


first . . . just in the same way . . . finally


for the time being


basically . . . similarly . . . as well as

first of all

the next step



to begin with

in conclusion


at first

in the first place

in time


Paragraph Starters When Summarizing an Argument

When wrapping up an argument, it's crucial to keep the reader engaged all the way to the end. Use a phrase that flows naturally given your prior argument (and be sure you've thoroughly proven your point throughout your paper!)

Example: Using Transition Words to Conclude an Argument

Transitions to indicate the summary should be used when the following structure is implemented:

  • [transition], concluding idea/thesis statement.

For example:

  • In short, foxes are many different colors but are often portrayed as orange and red in films.
  • Broken down: In short, [transition] foxes are many different colors but are often portrayed as orange and red in films [concluding idea].

Use a wide variety of words to sum up the point you are making.

all in all

in brief

in short

that is (that is to say)

after all

in any event

in other words

on balance

all things considered

in conclusion

in brief



in essence

in summary

to put it differently

by and large


in the final analysis

to sum up


on the whole

in the long run

to summarize

in any case





once and for all


at the end

Commonly Asked Questions About Transitions and Essays

You may have a number of questions about different types of essays, how they are structured, and how transition words relate to the essay type. I've answered some commonly asked questions below!

How Many Types of Essays Are There? Can I Use Transitions in All of Them?

There are four common essay types, and you can use transitions in all of them! The types of essays are:

  • Expository
  • Descriptive
  • Narrative
  • Argumentative

Most examples in this article focus on the expository and argumentive essay types.

How Do I Structure a Simple Expository Essay or Argumentative Essay?

Many expository and argumentative essays have similar organization and can be broken down as follows:

  • First paragraph: Thesis statement/argument
  • Second paragraph: One example
  • Third paragraph: Another reason
  • Fourth paragraph: A third explanation
  • Fourth paragraph: First, second, and third reasons
  • Fifth paragraph: Furthermore, an important point
  • Fifth paragraph: Moreover, the most compelling reason
  • Fifth paragraph: Connect prior points all together
  • Sixth paragraph: Conclusion/summary

Can You Use Too Many Transitions?

Notice how transition words and phrases create a context for the story even when they're not used in every sentence? Transitions bring to light the implications of a paragraph where a lack of transitions leaves the story flat.

Please note that it's important to use transitions, but not to overdo it! Starting a sentence in the same way time and again (transition, idea) can bog down your writing. One way to maximize the efficiency of your transitions is to use them to start a paragraph and finish a paragraph in the last or second to last sentence. This would take the form:

  • [Transition linking idea from prior paragraph to new idea in new paragraph]. [Argument for new idea (several sentences)]. [Transition linking new idea to next idea].

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 practice placing transition words, the more you will use the technique when writing your first draft.

This technique trains you to think about how your ideas relate to one another. Transitions will help you write essays that are deeper, more connected, and logically sound. If you've found this technique helpful, or if you have other sentence-starting techniques, please add your comments below to help out other writers.

More Sentence and Paragraph Starter Resources

  • Transitions from the Purdue Online Writing Lab
    Transition words and phrases are used to relate ideas. Writers may use transitions within paragraphs or between paragraphs so that ideas flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs. This resource details common transitions.
  • Transitional Devices from the Purdue Online Writing Lab
    Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. This resource details some examples of transitional devices and how to use them.
  • Sentence Starters, Transitions, and Other Useful Words
    It can sometimes be difficult to start a sentence to express ideas or find words to show the relationship between ideas. This is a list of possible sentence starters, transitions, and other words that may be useful.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are other words can I use instead of "I" when writing an essay?

Answer: If you are writing in the first person, you can't avoid using "I" all the time. However, a good strategy is to avoid putting "I" at the beginning of every sentence. Using the "Easy Words to use as Sentence Starters" lists before the "I" can help you to make the sentences seem more varied. You can also use phrases such as:

As a person with an education background, I feel that...

Having experience in the military, I understand...

With five children in elementary school, my experience has enabled me to...

Personally, the story told by the author seemed irrelevant to the discussion...

For me, the experiences in this article are a valid argument about...

Considering the question carefully, this author feels that the most important point is...

This writer feels that people who are born in California are more likely to...

In my opinion, the facts stated are sufficient to prove...

Although they can be somewhat awkward, you can also use phrases like: "this writer." "people like myself who are born in California, " or "in my opinion" to indicate yourself.

Question: What would be another way to say, "I believe that...?"

Answer: Here are some ideas:

"I concur..."

"Without a doubt, I accept the concept that..."

"Truthfully, I agree with.....that..."

Question: What is a good way to start a sentence?

Answer: 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.

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

Answer: 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:

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

Question: What is the best way to start a story?

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

Question: I keep on using "this" to start a sentence, like I will say "this disruption caused..." or "this corruption later created a...". Is there any way that I can use a different word, or transition to get rid of the repetition?

Answer: Avoiding "this" is an excellent way to improve your writing. You can certainly use any of these sentence starters to help you out. With a sentence starter, you might still use "this," but it won't stand out as repetitive. Additionally, you might want to think about other ways to state the point or combine two ideas together into one longer sentence. See the following:

Inevitably, this disruption caused a problem in society because corruption began to be seen at all levels. Bribes were expected by all public officials. Therefore, the disruption...Moreover, the problem started...Furthermore, without having any way to stop it, the officials in charge began to....this system of corruption.

Question: Are you a real person?

Answer: 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.

Question: Is there another way of saying "suddenly?"

Answer: Other words or phrases you could use are:


Just at that moment


All of a sudden

In an instant


Question: What are transitive verbs?

Answer: Transitive verbs are verbs (action words) which need to have something after them( an object-a noun or pronoun) in order to form a complete sentence. Intransitive verbs don't need anything after them to complete the sentence. Here are some examples:

Intransitive verb sentences:

Jacob turned on (the stove, the oven etc.)

Can you hold (the bag, the book etc.)

Transitive (you can add something after these but you don't have to in order for the sentence to be complete)

Jane ran.

Mollie swept.

My mother teaches.

Question: What other words can I use instead of "many"?

Answer: Numerous








A great number

Question: What are other words to use instead of "it"?

Answer: "It" is a pronoun that is used for an object. So you can replace "it" by using the name of the object, a synonym, or a phrase that describes the object. For example, if the object is a book, you could use any of the following:

the book

a book



the blue one on the corner of the couch

that large tome

my favorite reading material

Question: Can I have some helpful sentence starters for children in grades K-3?

Answer: Here are the best sentence starters for children who are just learning to write:

Sequence Words: First, Second, Third, Next, After, Afterwards, Before, During

Words that Show Time: At noon, In the morning, At bedtime, Later, Soon

Words that Show Place: Around, Behind, Above, In front of, Under, Near, Over, Outside

Words Indicating Days: Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday, Next Week, Sunday.

Question: What are some words to use besides "the"?

Answer: "The" is the only definite article we have in the English language and there isn't an actual substitute for saying "the lawn," "the dog" or "the man." We use "the" when there is only one possible thing it could be talking about, and the audience knows exactly which one it would be.

In general, you really can't overuse the word "the." However, your question is probably referring to the problem of your sentences sounding too simple and general. To get rid of that problem, you can substitute a clearer and more specific description of the thing you are referring to rather than the simple "the ...." Here are some samples:

"The man" could be John (his name), our dentist (our relationship to him), that man I met in the subway (a description of a situation), that rather thin and older man (a description of his appearance).

Question: What are other sentence starters for "This is because?"

Answer: What you are describing is a "cause" transition. Here are some possibilities:


As a result...

Because of this... then...

On account of


The reason for

When XX occurred, it caused XX

One thing that resulted was...

One thing that caused this situation was...

Question: My article is about the benefits and the drawbacks of learning a foreign language. How should I finish the third paragraph of my article?

Answer: I assume that you are talking about the conclusion of your article. A great way to conclude is to tell the reader your recommendations. You can also refute any objections that you expect your reader might have. Remember that when you are in a conversation with someone, they can ask you questions and point out flaws they see in your arguments, or other points of view. When you write, your reader has those thoughts in their head, and those alternative points of view can make them disagree with you and feel that your paper doesn't really seem very convincing. A way to get around that problem is to bring up those objections and then answer them. Ideally, you should answer the objections and then conclude by telling the reader how you want them to think, believe, or respond to what you are saying. Here is how to do that:

Some people might think (put objection here, something like: learning a language is too hard). However, in my experience, (answer the objection)...Another reason people may not want to learn a foreign language is...

If you can't think of any objections, then ask other people for help. Have them read your paper, or just tell them your ideas and ask them what sorts of arguments they think people might have against what you are saying. If you don't have anyone nearby that you can ask, send your paper to your parents, or a friend that you know would help you out. You might also consider asking a friend in your class to read and respond.

Question: What is another way to say, "As you can see...?"

Answer: That phrase is a conclusion phrase, and other words for this would be:


As a result

In summary


Question: While writing essays, how can I avoid starting all my sentences with the same word?

Answer: 1. Don't always start the sentence with the subject. Use an introductory phrase instead.

2. Use one of the sentence starters on some sentences.

3. Combine short sentences together.

For explanations of these three techniques ane more ideas, you can see my article: Five Tips to Write Better Sentences:

Question: How do I start an essay?

Answer: A good way to start an essay is to decide on your topic question and then answer it. That will make a thesis or main idea for your essay. You can read more about it in this article:

Question: What other words can I use instead of "I"?

Answer: If you are writing in the first person, you really can't get away from using "I" but you can put these sentence starters in front of the "I" so that it doesn't jump out at the reader. As a matter of fact, I usually introduce sentence starters to my class when we are doing a personal essay. I have them notice how many times they start a sentence in the personal essay with "I" and then I have them circle all of those "I" sentences. Next, I have them scan the list of words and put one or more in front of the "I" sentences. Another trick is to take a sentence and invert it so that the "I" is not the first word. Here is an example:

Bad Example: I wanted to explain how to use sentence starters and so I used many "I" sentences in this answer.

Rewrite: Because I wanted to explain how sentence starters work, I used many "I sentences in this answer. Go back and see what I did to "eliminate" the "I"!

Question: What word can I use instead of nowadays to start an essay?

Answer: At this period in history


Most of us know think

In general

In the present moment

Question: How do I start a paragraph?

Answer: There are several ways to answer this question, and so, I will try to cover all of the information possible on this topic.

1. Sentence starters are excellent words to use as the first word in a paragraph because they will help you link the ideas of each paragraph together. For example, if the essay is about reasons that Indian food is so tasty, these possible first sentences of the body could be done:

1. First of all, Indian food is wonderful because it uses so many spices...

2. Furthermore, the wonderful taste of Indian food comes from the preparation...

3. Ultimately, the taste of Indian food comes from the variety of ingredients and the creativity of cooks...

2. There are many correct ways to start a paragraph, but in standard English, it is typical to begin each paragraph (except for the first paragraph in an essay) with the topic sentence. A topic sentence tells the main idea of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph will explain the topic sentence and give examples and reasons to back up that assertion.

In the first paragraph of an essay, you will generally give examples first and then put the thesis sentence at the end of the paragraph. The thesis sentence is the main idea of the whole essay.

3. Finally, in case the question is actually about the formatting of the paragraph, it is important to know that each paragraph in English is indented, and starts with a capital letter (as do all first words in an English sentence).

Question: Can you end a sentence with “that is"?

Answer: I don't think that phrase would make an effective ending of a sentence unless you were using it in a conversation.

Question: How can I motivate a reader in the first sentence of an open letter?

Answer: I often advise students to use a question as an opening statement because that helps to get the reader to think about the topic. Another good way to motivate a reader of a letter is to present them with a startling statistic, dramatic story, or interesting fact. Sometimes sentence starters can be helpful in making your sentence more interesting. Here are some sample openings to sentences:

Have you ever wondered what would happen if...?

Did you know that 59% of all African-American men believe...?

You may not believe it, but the truth is that...

Suddenly, with no warning from anyone...

Nothing can prepare you for...

On the one hand we all know...., but, on the other hand, none of us does anything about it.

Question: What's a good way to start a paragraph when you are comparing two characters?

Answer: Start with describing the two characters and contrasting them.

Question: Are there different types of essays?

Answer: There are many different types of essays that I have written articles about, including:





Cause and Effect



Visual Image

Summary, Analysis and Response



Problem Solution


You can find many sample topics on these types of essays on my web pages. You can also find step by step instructions on how to write these essays.

Question: What are other words can I use instead of "So"?

Answer: Therefore


In conclusion

As a result

Question: What are other ways to start an essay?

Answer: Good ways to start an essay are to use:

a real-life story from the news or history

a story from your own life or someone you know (a personal story)

a story from fiction, T.V., or a movie

an example of a typical situation which illustrates the problem or situation you are talking about

a conversation between two people about the issue (real or made up)

facts that everyone knows about the situation

statistics about the situation


an explanation of the problem

more than one of the above.

For example, I often suggest that students start with a personal example of the situation to draw in the reader's attention and then have them give statistics to show the scope of the problem. With any of these examples, you can still use the sentence starters in this article to make your sentences pop out.

Question: Does an essay have to have a bibliography?

Answer: If an essay uses sources, it should include a bibliography which lists the works cited in the essay.

Question: Instead of saying "I believe" at the start of a sentence what could I say?

Answer: You can add manyof the other sentence starters in front of "I believe" to make a change. You can also say:

After reading the conclusion, I thought...

Ultimately, I am convinced...

The writer's argument is not convincing in some points....

What seems authentic to me in this piece is...

Here are some alternatives to "I believe"

Sometimes, instructors want you to keep the first person "I" out of the essay. If that is the case, you can say:

In conclusion, there seems to be...

The meaning which the reader takes from this is...

The writer's intention seems to be...

Ultimately, the reader is left feeling...

Question: Can I start a sentence using the word "My"? Example: My hoarding of unnecessary things is getting out of hand.

Answer: My answer has to be yes! As long as you use "my" as the possessive of something it works. In my example "my answer" uses "my" with a noun and describes whose answer it is. In your example, the "my" is used with a phrase describing an action "hoarding of unnecessary things" which is the subject of the sentence.

Question: What sentence starters should I use when writing a persuasive essay?

Answer: Sentence starters are especially important in persuasive writing because they intensify your language and point the reader towards what you feel is most important. Any of these sentence starters will work, but persuasive writing sometimes focuses on the more common or emotionally charged language, avoiding the more academic-sounding words. Here are some examples,

Indeed, you can see that...

In fact, the result of not following this policy is...

Conversely, we know that...

No doubt, the answer is...

Less persuasive (unless you are appealing to an academic audience) would be:

Hence we believe that...

Accordingly, the answer is...

For this reason, we have chosen to say...

Question: What words can I start an essay with?

Answer: Any words can be used to start an essay and there isn't really any particular words or phrase that works best. Generally, I tell students to begin a first draft of an essay by setting a timer and just writing down everything they think or know about the paper topic. This does not have to be full sentences. You can write down just words or phrases. After you've written for about 5-10 minutes, stop and re-read what you have. If you haven't yet decided on a thesis question, this is a good time to choose one. The next step is to answer that question, which makes your thesis answer (main thesis statement). From there, you can decide on your introduction, body, and conclusion. I have many different articles on how to write different kinds of essays. You can Google the type of essay you are writing with my name and this website and you can find a full set of instructions.

Question: What is a good sentence to end an introductory paragraph with?

Answer: End your introduction with the topic question. The thesis will be the answer to that question and it can be put after the question or as the beginning of the next paragraph. Here is information about writing thesis sentences from my article:

Question: What would be another way to say "in the middle of the story...?"

Answer: Here are some other ways to talk about the middle of a story:

At the climax of the action

Before the final ending

After establishing the beginning situation

The story continues

At the mid-point in the story

Halfway through, the story continues with

In the meantime

Question: Which words can I use to start a paragraph? Can we start the paragraph with transition words?

Answer: Transition words make an excellent first word in a paragraph because they help you explain how that paragraph is linked to the ideas in the previous paragraph.

Question: How do I write my essay introduction when comparing two texts?

Answer: Your introduction should explain the main point of your essay and what you think is the main differences and/or similarities in the two texts. You can start with a description or short story from each of the two which shows that comparison.

Question: l always start sentences with ''the'' can you help me to stop, please?

Answer: "The" is not an incorrect word to use to start a sentence but you never want to use the same word over and over because it makes your sentences sound repetative and not as professional. If you are using "the" repeatedly, it probably means you are always writing sentences which start with the subject. To fix that, you can switch sentences around to put the object first, add one of these transition sentence starters, or just reword the sentence. For examples and information about writing different kinds of sentences, see my article about "5 Easy Tips to Write Better Sentences in English

Question: If I had to self-evaluate myself in a speech, How would I start?

Answer: I'd start with a story that would show both your good and bad points. For example, a time that you spent a whole day getting ready for a friend's birthday only to find out that you'd gotten the wrong day. Then you could say what that reveals about you. I this example you could say, "This shows that I'm a thoughtful person, but not always very careful about the details."

Question: What are other words can I use instead of "My" when writing an essay?

Answer: The word "my" is a possessive pronoun which doesn't really have a substitute. "The pen" is not the same as "my pen" or "his pen," and you would want to use the "my" if it is important to note that the pen belongs to you. You could write, "the pen belonging to me was stolen" instead of "my pen was stolen" but that is a rather awkward and archaic phrasing. It is probably better to use "my" when you need it to indicate that it belongs to you and to work on varying your sentences by using my methods in my 5 Easy Tips to Write Better Sentences:

Question: Is there a better wording for "I am?"

Answer: You can replace the "am" with a more active verb which describes what you are saying. You can also add an adverb (word ending in "ly" which describes the verb). A final way to vary your word choice is to add some of these sentence starters. Here are some examples:

I hike...

I prefer...

I enjoy...

I often say...

I sometimes defer...

I occasionally decline...

Moreover, I feel that...

Additionally, I don't care for...

However, I've never liked...

Conclusively, I represent a person who...

Question: What are the best transitions to use with my body paragraphs when I'm writing an essay?

Answer: Most of these sentence starters can be used as a transition to a body paragraph. To choose the right one, you need to decide what connection that body paragraph has to the paragraphs before. Are you adding information? Contrasting? Concluding? Use the different types of transitions listed under those categories. A few of the most popular ones to use are: Additionally, Therefore, In contrast, In conclusion.

Question: How many sentences should there be in a five-paragraph essay?

Answer: Generally, if you are trying to write just the minimum, you would expect to write five sentences for each paragraph. So 25 sentences in a 5 paragraph essay would be the least you should do.

Question: What other words can I use instead of "that" in essays?

Answer: "That" is a pronoun used to identify a specific thing or person, so, alternatively, you can:

1. use the name of the thing or person

2. use a description of the thing or person

3. use the pronoun: he, she, it

4. use an alternative name for that thing or person

However, I wouldn't worry too much about overusing any particular word because the best way to avoid repetitive sentences is to use these easy sentence starters and to combine your short sentences. See my article about writing effective sentences:

Question: What are other ways to start a sentence instead of "I will explain"?

Answer: "I will explain" is the way that a person might speak when talking to someone but it is never appropriate in an essay because "I will explain" is really the answer to a question someone asks you and in an essay, you are the only one talking. What really works better is just to state the question and then give an answer without talking to the audience directly. Here are some other phrases you could use:

1. Three reasons exist for this problem and they are easy to explain. The first reason is...

2. Clearly, the answer may be simple but requires some explanation.

3. Undoubtedly, the best explanation is really that...

Question: What sentence starter can I use instead of "the"?

Answer: Any of the words in these lists would work. You should also think of different ways to address your subject. For example, if your subject is "the school" you could also say:

1. The actual name of the school.

2. A description of the place.

3. Some part of the school (our class, a hallway).

4. A synonym: this educational establishment, our place of learning.

5. The name of the school with an adjective or possessive: our friendly school, this horrible school, this exciting school.

Question: I am stuck on writing the first sentence which often determines whether or not the reader wants to continue. How do I write an effective "hook?"

Answer: Using one of these sentence starters is a good way to write a more interesting sentence for your "hook." It also helps to start with an example or a story which will get your reader involved in your paper. Questions can be a good starting sentence, or a vivid description or startling fact. Never start with something boring like "In all of human history..." For example, if you are writing about n start poverty, you can start with some startling facts or a story. Here are some sample first sentences on that topic:

Did you know that in America about 41% of children were living on the brink of poverty in 2016?

Getting ready for school in on a Monday morning, John Jefferson hoped the school breakfast would be a good one since he hadn't eaten anything but crackers since the school lunch on Friday.

Question: What is a good sentence starter for a third paragraph in an essay?

Answer: There is not just one sentence starter that works for any particular position in a paper. What you need to decide is what that sentence is doing in relation to the last paragraph. If you are adding information, use an adding transition. If you are contrasting, use a contrast transition etc.

Question: What other words can I use besides "he" while writing an essay?

Answer: Use the name of the person, their title, their relationship (boss, student, friend), or a description of them.

Question: What is the contrast between essay structure and paragraphs?

Answer: Paragraphs (which should all start with a topic sentence) make up the essay structure. The topic sentences should tell the main idea of each paragraph and should all work to answer the thesis question. That thesis question should come at the end of the introduction and the answer should come after that. I have complete instructions for organizing a variety of type of essays. Here is one for the explaining essay which gives many different ideas:

Question: How do I start the second point of my body paragraph for my informative essay?

Answer: Generally, you will use an additive or sequence transition word when doing your body paragraphs unless the information is contrary to what you've said before. Here are some suggestions:

Another important point is...

The second part of this situation is...


Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 02, 2020:

Hi Elisa, I have not written a phone voicemail in a narrative, but my instinct is to not write it inside the narrative to make it smoother. Here is my example: Glancing at my screen, I saw a voicemail and my stomach tightened in anxiety. Did I miss the call? Dialing seemed to take forever. Then I heard his voice, "Hello Chris, we hope..."

Elisa Fisher from Texas on September 01, 2020:

I'm writing my first book. I'm writing it as first-person narrative. do you know how I would write a phone voicemail? This is an example how I have it for now.

Phone. Voicemail


Hello Chris, we hope to see you at the game tonight. I say.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 07, 2020:

Hi Weird Girl! That is an interesting question. For the most part, the end of the sentence would not be where most people would try to add variety. However, there are different kinds of sentences that you can write, and using a mix of those kinds of sentences is definitely a way to make your writing better (and they would provide different "ends"). My best article on that would be "Writing Effective Sentences." You can find it by Googling my name, Owlcation and that title.

Weird girl on August 06, 2020:

Is there ending sentence starters?!

megan on July 14, 2020:

thanks so much you really helped me to complete my story for school hw! x

Raz on July 10, 2020:

Hi thank you so much

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on June 22, 2020:

Hi Anggi--I have not published this in book form, but I've thought about doing that and publishing on Amazon. You are motivating me to think about that more!

Anggi paramita on June 22, 2020:

This article help me for my research paper in college. But, how can I get this book? I need sentence starters book for my research.

Thank you

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on June 20, 2020:

Glad you find this helpful Kenneth. As of today, this article has been viewed over 2,500,000 times! Hopefully, that will help us have better writing. I'm so glad people find it useful!

Kenneth Therkildsen on June 20, 2020:

This is a great article. I know someone this would be perfect for. Getting too repetitive in our use of language can be off-putting to our readers.

oulida mzaidif on June 10, 2020:

it's a great article, keep doing that.

Thanks for this amazing post on June 09, 2020:

Thanks for this amazing post

George Xu from Philippines on May 25, 2020:

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

Cool Kid on April 30, 2020:

Thank You

Matt Barrow on April 29, 2020:

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.

Ben dover on April 16, 2020:

this helped

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on April 09, 2020:

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

Jessie on April 08, 2020:

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

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 15, 2020:

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.

Landyn Lindsey on March 10, 2020:

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?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 14, 2020:

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."

Ella Anderson on February 12, 2020:

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

mia on January 04, 2020:

thank you very much this website is very helpful.

Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on December 30, 2019:

Thanks for another informative, helpful article.

Jerry L. Harrell Sr. on December 24, 2019:

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.

Javier Martínez on November 10, 2019:

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

Sam Wally on October 23, 2019:

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

Virginia Kearn on October 22, 2019:

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

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 18, 2019:

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...

Virginia Kearn on October 18, 2019:

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.☺

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 16, 2019:

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.

Madison on October 15, 2019:

How should i start off my conclusion?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 14, 2019:

Thanks for sharing my website. I have over 100 articles on writing. You can find them by searching on the website or just type the kind of essay you are wirting in Google along with "Owlcation" and VirginiaLynne and you should find what I've written on that topic.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 14, 2019:

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.

Sharon Lopez from Philippines on October 14, 2019:

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.

yourfavlatina on October 13, 2019:

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

Ali lan on October 12, 2019:

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

formvsfunction on September 15, 2019:

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!!

Matilda6 on August 28, 2019:

Absolutely great for essay writing thanks!

Charlie on August 09, 2019:

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

prim on August 05, 2019:

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Ninja on August 01, 2019:

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Heaven on June 06, 2019:

It's so simple but helpful at the same time

lizzy on June 03, 2019:

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

Anonymous on May 25, 2019:

Very helpful, thanks!

Ann_VAL on May 20, 2019:

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



offical_Daddy on April 29, 2019:

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

John Wick on April 26, 2019:

Thank You

Nora on April 17, 2019:

Great help!! Thanks!!!

Lubna Shahnaz on April 06, 2019:

Very helpful indeed.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 28, 2019:

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.

Ariana on March 27, 2019:

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,


~*NightStorm*~ on March 27, 2019:

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.

Amaria on March 21, 2019:

This was great!!

selin on March 20, 2019:

so helpful thank you!

Spase on March 20, 2019:

Thank you brilliant help!

unknown on March 19, 2019:

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

Mathias Tommy on March 17, 2019:

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.

Shaymaa.alakbaree on February 10, 2019:

Thank you so much

heaven on December 10, 2018:

these are very good sentences starters.

zainab on November 19, 2018:

i love this website

Jackie on November 14, 2018:

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

angie on October 06, 2018:

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

Mandisa Madonda on October 06, 2018:

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

Andrew matenga on October 01, 2018:

it is very helpful

Ereta on September 17, 2018:

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feza byolenganya on September 17, 2018:

thank you for help me .

omar & hana on August 28, 2018:

this is very helpful

Cassie on August 12, 2018:

This is very helpful

Muhammad Abdullah on July 09, 2018:

Very effective and helpful thank you so much.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 02, 2018:

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.

Nicole on July 01, 2018:

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.

evan on June 12, 2018:

Helped me

SaraFPU on May 30, 2018:

This article was concise and helpful :)

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 06, 2018:

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...


Finally, Lindbergh made it to Paris...


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

Don't want to tell you my name.... on May 06, 2018:

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

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on April 27, 2018:

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

Helen Davies1 on April 27, 2018:

can you recommend an alternative for the words:

sizzling experience (food review)

Dilnoza on April 18, 2018:

thanks a million!!!

Pipit on April 07, 2018:

Thank you very much

Lovi on March 27, 2018:

Thanks mate! helps a lot

suzy on March 21, 2018:

thank you a lot!

Steven on March 13, 2018:

This is insightful, thank you so much

Fuat on March 13, 2018:

Thanks so much, Virginia.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 12, 2018:

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.

Fuat on March 12, 2018:

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.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 11, 2018:

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.

Fuat on March 11, 2018:

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

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 10, 2018:

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.

Fuat on March 10, 2018:

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.

logan paul on March 01, 2018:

thanks for this

Wolffy on February 07, 2018:

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

cheyenne hartsfield on January 26, 2018:

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

Prilum on January 19, 2018:

Very effective and helpful

Anand on January 18, 2018:

Very nice

Extremely helpful

Especially for me

I hope other s also enjoyed.

Thanks a lot.

JC on January 16, 2018:

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

DJ on January 10, 2018: