What are transition words?

Transition words or Connector wordsTransition words also known as connector words are an important part of the PSC language exams. We use transition words to connect two sentences or thoughts together.

There are many transition words. We can use different ones for different situations. We can use them for contrasting a thought, or to add more information.

  • e.g. I watched Titanic last night, therefore, I don’t want to watch it again.
The transition word is “therefore” in the example above.  We use “therefore” when we want to indicate cause, purpose or result.  There are different transition words that have similar meanings, for example, “consequently” is another option for the example above .

Punctuation and transition words

When we use a transition word at the start of a sentence you put a comma right after it.
  • e.g. Furthermore, I think we should choose the Toronto Argonauts for the Grey Cup winners.
A transition word in the middle of a sentence requires a comma before and after it.
  • e.g. The Toronto Argonauts will win the Grey Cup, furthermore, we should bet on them.
A transition word is at the end of a sentence requires a comma before it. N.B Transition words are rarely put at the end of a sentence.
  • e.g. The Toronto Argonauts will win the Grey Cup. We should attend a game of theirs, therefore.

PSC Language exams and transitions words

The PSC language exams use transition words to trick you. Transition words can mix you up in the PSC writing exam because they need certain punctuation. Make sure to pay special attention to where the comma is in the sentence. The test will have answers with transition words followed by a comma, and some will not.

Use transition words when you do the PSC oral exam. Choose transition words that you know how to use. This will show the examiner that you have a good understanding of the English language.

Also, make sure you know some similar connector or transition words for the reading exam. There are a few questions where they may ask for a synonym.

For more information on the PSC language exams check this post out.

List of transition words

Here is a small list of connector words you might see.

Use: Cause, purpose or result

  • As a result
  • Therefore
  • Consequently

Use: Contrast of ideas

  • However
  • On the other hand
  • In contrast

Use: Chronology

  • First, second, third
  • To begin
  • Finally


3 Things to remember when reading a newspaper

Photo by Jon S
Newspapers are great for ESL learners

As an English as a Second Language learner, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when you read the newspaper.

1. Not everything in a Newspaper is grammatically correct

When you read a quote in a newspaper chances are that what’s in the quote probably isn’t grammatically correct. Writers use made up words sometimes to emphasize their point.

2. Newspapers use many expressions

Expressions are  hard to understand when you are new to a language, so be sure to  write expressions down and check them on the internet to find out what exactly they mean. You can use these expressions to showcase your skills in the PSC exams.

3. Newspapers use fancy words

Fancy words in a newspaper can make the message unclear, so check definitions of words that you don’t know. It will help you increase your vocabulary and clarify the message. You can use the new words you have learned in an oral conversation to help remember the new word.

A couple of my favourite newspapers are The Globe and Mail and The Montreal Gazette.