TOEFL Transition Words

TOEFL transition words help you to express the relationship of ideas in your speaking and writing tasks.  In this 7,440 word lesson, you will learn why these words are important. Moreover, you will learn how to learn them as you create a personalized study path to help you conquer the speaking and writing sections. Next, you will see an extensive list of transition words/phrases along with sample sentences so that you can see how these words/phrases are used grammatically for meaning. In addition, some additional links will take you to more web pages so that you can continue practicing these important connecting words. Finally, you will learn how you can send me your speaking and writing practice tests for evaluation.

Why should  you learn TOEFL transition words?

These important connecting words

  • Make it easier for you to understand the organization of reading and listening passages.
  • Give you important relationships among ideas so that you can have more effective note-taking during all sections of the TOEFL exam. It certain that you will see and hear many of the TOEFL transition words in this lesson during the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections.
  • Help you to clearly show how your speaking and writing tasks are organized. Thus, the TOEFL iBT human raters and ETS’s scoring engine for writing will give you higher scores.
TOEFL transition words
TOEFL Transition Words

How do you learn these TOEFL transition words?

Research shows that, if you use a new word or phrase 5-15 times, it will become part of your long-term memory. Thus, you need to use the words that you are studying.  “How do I use these TOEFL transition words?” you may be thinking.  Here are some guidelines:

Create note cards with the word or phrase on one side and a sample sentence on the other.  One of the sentences you write should be the sentence that you see on this web page. The other should be a new sentence that you came up with.  Note the front and back of an example single notecard:

TOEFL transition words
Note-card side 1
TOEFL transtion words
Note-card side 2

As you do your speaking and writing practice, find opportunities to use these TOEFL transition words.

Using them increases your chances of remembering these words. As a result, it will be more likely that you will use these TOEFL transition words during the speaking and writing sections of the exam.

In addition, if you use these words and study them on your note-cards, you will more likely recognize these types of words during the reading and listening sections.

TOEFL Transition Words: To argue/make a suggestion

During the independent speaking tasks, you may be asked to present an argument or make a suggestion. The speaking integrated tasks may ask you to explain someone else’s argument or suggestion. Whatever the case, the following transition words will help you learn how to present and argument or suggestion from you or from someone else.

  • . . . seems to warrant:  The speaker’s assertion seems to warrant the claim that spending too much time on reading documents will slow employees’ productivity.
  • . . . contend/s: The author in the reading passage contends that employees should read all documents in their entirety.
  • . . . argue/s:  The students disagrees with the new policy about bicycling parking on campus. He argues that bike riders will be unnecessarily fined when they park too close to their classrooms.
  • . . . justify/ies:  The speaker justifies his argument by giving a personal example of why he needs to park close to his classes.
  • This observation is supported byThis observation is then supported by his classmate who also shares a similar concern.
  • To plead:   The defendant in the murder trial decided to plead not guilty to the charges.
  • . . . suggest/s:  As a result, the judged suggested that the attorneys in the case agree on a trial date for the defendant within the next six months.
  • The suggestion is valid: The woman feels that the man’s suggestion is valid. In other words, she also does not want any increases in parking fees on campus.
  • . . . propose/s:  According to the new policy, the president of the university is proposing an increased tuition fee.
  • . . . claim/s:  The president claims that the added revenue will allow officials to modernize classrooms so that they can become  smart classrooms.
  • . . .state/s: The president states that modernizing classrooms will facilitate student learning.
  • . . . clearly proof enough: According to the man, that the classrooms do not have smartboards or any other type of computer technology is clearly proof enough that they should be modernized by using new revenue streams from tuition increases.
  • If I had the choiceIf I had the choice, I would choose having the woman talk to her advisor to find out why the admissions office placed a hold on her grades.
  • . . . examine/s:  After the man examines the school policy closely, he concludes that cell phones should not be restricted during classroom instruction.
  • . . . assert/s: In fact, to support his argument, the man asserts that cell phones can be useful educational devices for students.

TOEFL Transition Words: To choose one option in preference to another

During the independent speaking task,  you make be asked to choose one idea over another. Or, in an integrated speaking task, you may have to explain some’s else preference.  In particular, during integrated speaking task 5, you will be asked to summarize two solutions to a problem. Then you will need to explain which solution is better and why. Please note that TOEFL integrated speaking task 5 will be eliminated from the TOEFL speaking section in August 2019. You can certainly find uses for the following TOEFL transition words during the writing section, especially if you are asked to agree or disagree to two controversial statements.

  • . . . might be the better option:  The woman’s solution of having the man postpone his job interview might be the better option.
  • . . . make/s it a better policy:  Instead of having the students’ postpone their writing projects, the man’s makes it a better policy for them to complete the assignment as a take-home exam.
  • It’s beneficial/better/positive:  As a result it is more beneficial to have the students complete the assignment as soon as possible since they will have more assignment later on in the school year.
  • It’s detrimental/worse/negative:  However, postponing the assignment is detrimental since the students will have to complete that project along with other assignments simultaneously, hence causing them unnecessary stress.
  • . . . is true/false: Even though a growing number of flat Earthers exist, that the Earth is flat is false.
  • The assertion that…:  The assertion that the Earth is flat represents flawed, uneducated thinking.
  • . . . seem/s to offer strong arguments for/against: In the listening passage, the woman seems to offer strong arguments for why the man should ask his professor for a postponement of his research project.
  • . . . is/are better/worse than:  Postponing the research paper is better than not turning the paper in at all.

TOEFL Transition Words: To emphasize

Emphasizing ideas at times can highlight important information during the TOEFL speaking and writing sections. Read over the following example transition words of emphasis. Think about how you might use these words to more effectively emphasize your ideas.

  • Above allAbove all, the man believes that the university should not impose any additional hardships, so any possible tuition increases are out of the question.
  • ObviouslyObviously, living in California is very expensive, especially since the average price of a home is $450,000.
  • Clearly:  The speaker clearly believes that snake shedding is a normal activity to ensure that snakes remain in optimal health throughout the year.
  • EvidentlyEvidently, according to the professor, shallow earthquakes cause more extensive damage than deeper ones.
  • Actually: Some believe that the stronger the wind, the more dangerous the tornado. Actually, according to the professor, other factors other than wind speed need to be considered when determining the strength of a tornado.
  • In fact:  Most people, in fact, who are killed in tornadoes, are struck by flying debris.
  • Certainly: Certainly, meteorologists want to decrease the number of people who die in tornadoes.
  • Definitely:  The professor definitely believes that governmental policies directly impact a country’s economy.
  • Extremely: Death Valley’s location and low altitude create extremely hot temperatures, often reaching above 120 F during the summer.
  • Indeed: Indeed, Death Valley set a world record two years ago by having 10 consecutive days with temperatures above 120 F.
  • Absolutely:  In contrast to the man, the woman absolutely believes that the new tuition increase policy should be reconsidered.
  • Positively: The woman’s belief that students should be able to critique each other positively gives them chances to evaluate, an important critical thinking activity.
  • Surprisingly: In the listening passage, the man surprisingly believes that students will pay extra money in their tuition if they can park closer to their classrooms.
  • Unquestionably:  In the listening passage, the professor unquestionably believes that man is not alone in the universe.
  • Without a doubt: Without a doubt, the professor believes that human activities affect our climate negatively.
  • Objectively:  During TOEFL writing task 1, test-takers should objectively discuss how the points in the listening passage relate to the information in the reading passage.
  • In fact: In fact, you should also use a neutral tone during integrated speaking task, except for integrated speaking task 5 in which case you are asked to explain which of the two solutions you prefer.

TOEFL Transition Words: To further an argument

To show the relationship of your speaking and writing responses, you will need to add to what you have already said.  Therefore, you are adding to your or someone’s else argument that you are explaining. Here is a thorough list of “addition” words that you should be putting into your speaking and writing practice tests right now. Remember that, if you use the words in your speaking and writing practice tests, you will be more likely to use them during the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL exam.

  • First (of all) . . . Second . . .ThirdSecond, studying alone creates fewer distractions, so I can prepare my study guides quickly.
  • In additionIn addition, I can concentrate better when I am studying alone; ultimately, studying alone will help me score high on my examinations.
  • There are three reasons why: There are three reasons why I prefer to study alone: fewer distractions, better concentration, and higher test scores.
  • Similarly:  Many students prefer not to study in groups. Similarly, I prefer to study alone because I do not have to worry about having to engage in small talk with others.
  • Furthermore: Furthermore, instead of small talk, I can study the important concepts that I need to learn.
  • MoreoverMoreover, I will spend less time learning these important concepts.
  • FurtherFurther, if I studied in a group, I would have to spend more time learning the important concepts for my test.
  • As an example: As an example, last year, I spent about 4 hours over several days  preparing for a biology exam.
  • For instanceFor instance, one of my friends who studied for his biology exam had to spend 14 hours over several days to prepare because he studied with three other students from his class.
  • What’s more: What’s more is that my friend scored lower on the same biology test that I took even though he spent more time preparing for the exam with his group.
  • Not only . . . but also: Not only do I believe that individual study has fewer distractions, but I also believe that it allows me to concentrate better on what I am learning.
  • . . . including:  Studying alone has so many benefits over group study, including saving me time from pointless chit-chat that will not help me prepare effectively for the exam.
  • More than: Because of all these reasons, individual study is more effective for me than group study.
  • Also: Concentrating better on my school work is also why I prefer to study alone when preparing for an exam.
  • . . . coupled with: Better concentration coupled with higher test scores represent why I like to study alone.
  • Both . . . and: Others believe that both group and individual study will properly prepare them for exams.

TOEFL Transition Words: To generalize

In the beginning and end of your speaking and writing responses, you can include some generalizations. Further, generalizations can be appropriate in the topic sentences of your responses. Do NOT forget that, once you include a generalization, you now need to include specific details. In fact, make it a point to not use any of the below transition words + example sentences in the middle of the body paragraphs of your speaking and writing responses.

  • OverallOverall, having a roommate who is responsible and clean will create more harmony in the living spaces that s/he shares.
  • For the most partFor the most part, unlike the woman, the man believes that the new policy about bicycle parking on campus has negative effects on the student body.
  • In general: The speaker in the lecture, in general, argues that climate change by 2100 will cause sea levels to rise, hence forcing many coastal communities to relocate their citizens.
  • Generally speakingGenerally speaking, roommates who are dirty and disrespectful could have trouble getting along with others in their apartments.
  • By and large: Most students, by and large, do not want bicycle restrictions on campus since they want to park close to their classrooms.

TOEFL Transition Words: To give an opinion

During the independent speaking tasks 1-2 and during the integrated speaking task 5, which will soon be eliminated from the test on August 1, 2019, you will need to give an opinion. Learning the below transition words will help you to create an argumentative tone, after which you should use your personal experience to defend your stance.

  • (Why) I believeI believe being respectful to others is an important quality in a good roommate.
  • I’d like to explain why: I’d like to explain why these three qualities are important in a good co-worker.
  • Personally: Personally, I think co-workers need to show up to work on time.
  • I’d enjoy: I’d also enjoy co-workers who work well on teams.
  • I would prefer: Rather than having a roommate that I cannot get along with, I would prefer a roommate who shows respect to me and others.
  • I think: In this regard, I think I would get along much better if my roommates were courteous to me and others.
  • In my opinion:  Co-workers who show up to work late, in my opinion, are disrespecting others in the workplace.
  • As far as I’m concerned: Talking to the librarian about the research paper, as far as I am concerned, will help the woman find the sources she needs to complete the project.
  • It seems to me:  Having the students postpone their presentation, it seems to me, will allow them more time to complete the difficult assignment.
  • I suggestI suggest that the woman consult her advisor who can figure out exactly what financial aid options are available.

TOEFL Transition Words: To restate an argument

In the independent and integrated speaking and writing tasks, you may want to restate either your own or someone else’s argument.  As you do your speaking and writing practice, find opportunities to use these TOEFL transition words.

  • To put it differently: The speaker believes that most organisms can adapt to their environments. To put it differently, he sees evolution as a way of helping the animals survive when their conditions slowly change.
  • To repeat: To repeat, animals will change their behaviors and even their biology according to whatever is happening around them.
  • Namely: People who become overweight can become sick, namely suffering from diabetes.
  • That is: To control the obesity epidemic, people need to avoid sedentary lifestyles; that is, they need to exercise regularly and to avoid watching too much television or playing video games for long periods.
  • In other words:  To get along with my roommate, I would hope that he is not too obnoxious. In other words, I do not want a roommate who is annoyingly bothersome by talking to me incessantly when I am trying to study for an examination.

TOEFL Transition Words: To set up a condition

During an independent speaking  or independent writing task, you may find a chance to set up a condition. If you have that chance but do not use a conditional sentence, it will show TOEFL iBT human raters and ETS’s eRater scoring engine for writing that you have grammar limitations. Consequently, you will score lower. To supplement this web page, use Google to find relevant web pages related to the following conditional grammar concepts: “real and unreal conditionals,” “present possible” and “present impossible conditional statements,” and “past impossible conditional statements.” Make sure that you understand this complex grammar inside and out. Then, make it a point in your speaking and writing practice to find opportunities to use this grammar. The more you use this, the better control you will have.

  • IfIf I did inherit 10 million dollars, I would donate half of that money to my local hospital.
  • Even ifEven if the hospital did not need the money, they could still modernize their facilities by buying new x-ray machines and heart monitor equipment.
  • If I couldIf I could give this hospital at least 5 million dollars, it would be able to better serve the residents of my city.
  • Whether (or not):  The first speaker is not sure whether or not the tuition increase will benefit the student community.
  • . . .may/might: The first speaker believes that the new changes in the cafeteria might encourage more students to purchase meal plans.
  • . . .can be:  According to the professor, the new policy of offering free public transportation can be an advantage to those students who do not have cars.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show cause/ reason and effect/result

TOEFL transition words

You will need to show cause-effect relationships during your TOEFL speaking and writing tasks in one way or another. For example, during integrated speaking task 4, the reading passage might introduce an academic concept, and then the speaker in the lecture explains some possible effects of this idea. In this case, you will want to show the cause-effect relationship between the two passages. The following cause/effect words/phrases will give you some examples of how you can present this casual relationship.

  • Consequently: Greenhouse gases, according to the professor, cause warming trends. Consequently, the rapid melting of the glaciers at the polar ice caps has been accelerating in recent years.
  • Because (of): Because of the torrential rain in the Midwest, the Arkansas River is flowing at 557,000 cubit feet per second, the highest volume of water ever recorded for this waterway.
  • Due to: Due to the additional homework, most of the students will be busy all weekend.
  • Thanks to: Thanks to the more than 600 inches of snow in the high Sierra Mountains, California’s reservoirs are at full capacity, thus ending the drought that lasted more than 7 years.
  • If this occurs, then: If this ample rainfall occurs in California next season, then cities in the north will need stronger levees on the American, Sacramento, and Yuba Rivers to prevent mass flooding.
  • To this end: To this end, California state legislators have allocated more money to help the state to strengthen the levees lining waterways.
  • SinceSince the artic fox does not want to be eaten, its fur coat changes to white during the winter to make it more difficult for predators to spot them.
  • For this reason: Large tsunamis have pummeled Japan’s coast in recent years; for this reason, Japan has an early warning tsunami system so that its citizens can get to high ground in case of another large earthquake in the ocean.
  • As a result: Tornadoes occur in Oklahoma frequently. As a result, many residents build tornado shelters underground in their backyards so that they can be protected by these massive whirlwinds.
  • Caused by: Obesity is caused by eating unhealthy foods and sedentary lifestyles.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show contrast/make an exception

TOEFL transition words

You may need to show some type of contrast as you complete TOEFL speaking and writing tasks. To illustrate, typically, during the integrated writing task, the lecture opposes three specific ideas mentioned in the reading passage. As a result, using various transition words of contrast will help you to show how the information in the lecture contradicts the information in the reading passage. Spending time learning the transition words of contrast listed below, which will help you to better express your ideas.

  • Some may argue that:   Although some may argue that climate change occurs due to natural factors, I believe that human activities also play a huge role in global warming.
  • Although: Although some prefer studying alone, I think that studying in a group in more effective.
  • Even thoughEven though my first roommate was considerate, he never paid his rent in a timely manner.
  • Whereas: I tend to do my homework at the library of my university, whereas my roommate prefers to complete his assignments in our apartment.
  • Instead of: Instead of increasing tuition to pay for the new parking structures on campus, the man believes that students should be encouraged to carpool more or to ride their bikes.
  • In contrast: Running equipment is relatively inexpensive. In contrast, bicycling equipment can cost 1000’s of dollars since bikes are so expensive nowadays.
  • On the one hand; on the other handOn the one hand, riding a bike enables me to cover a lot of distance; on the other hand, I stand a higher chance of being hit by a car.
  • However: The hottest and most hostile desert in the United States, Death Valley receives less than two inches of rain annually; however, the arid region is quite popular with tourists who visit that national park all during the year.
  • In spite of: In spite of the ample rainfall for two consecutive seasons, California residents are still fined once they go beyond the expected water use.
  • Despite: Despite the high winds and stinging rain, race officials decided not to cancel the marathon.
  • Unlike: Unlike the man, the woman believes that the new policy will benefit her and her fellow students.
  • On the contrary: The man argues that the new policy will force students to take part-time jobs to pay for their tuition hikes. On the contrary, the woman thinks that the tuition will not hurt most students since they receive financial aid.
  • But: I certainly want a roommate who likes talking to me, but, if he talks to me when I am trying to study, it  will disrupt my concentration.
  • Yet: I enjoy going to my parents, yet every time that I go there someone always ends up in an argument.
  • Rather than: Rather than attend the concert alone, the man can wait until the next concert and attend that one with his friends.
  • Either:  The woman has no desire to go to the movies, and the man doesn’t want to go either.
  • Or:  The man will need to talk to the professor to get an extension on the due date for his project, or he will need to turn in the project in an uncompleted form.
  • Nor: The woman believes that she cannot complete the writing project on time, nor does she need to discuss the assignment further with her professor.
  • Neither: The students will not be attending the anti-Trump protest on campus and neither will the professor.
  • Either . . . or: According to the listening passage, either the woman has to choose between wearing an off-white shirt to her job or she will have to go to the mall to try to buy a new one before she starts her shift.
  • Neither . . . nor: Neither the other students nor Tomas is attending the lecture in the  San Manual Student Center.
  • Nevertheless: I ran about 95 miles last week as I continue to prepare for my upcoming marathon. Nevertheless, my legs do not feel that tired right now.
  • Nonetheless: The climate changes due to global warming are impacting our Earth negatively; nonetheless, many politicians and regular folk are doing nothing to lessen the emission of greenhouses gases.
  • Sometimes: A lot of friends do not like to swim in the ocean off the coast of California because the water is too cold. Sometimes, however, I swim in the ocean because I like to look for sea shells.
  • Once in a while: Every once in a while, some of my friends join me for a swim in the ocean.
  • Occasionally: Occasionally, I might study with others as I prepare for examinations, but in most situations I prefer to study alone.
  • Someother(s): Some tourists like to travel with a tour guide, whereas others tend to travel with just their family and friends.
  • Other(s): One section of Geology 101 went to study the San Andreas Fault behind California State University, San Bernardino. The other classes went to study the Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley, California.
  • Often: According to the listening passage, the man has no need to use his cell phone while he is on campus.  The woman, however, claims she often uses her cell phone while she is at school.
  • None: California urges its citizens to have emergency preparedness kits. However, none of my friends have their 72 hour kits.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show evidence/exemplify

Once you include a general statement about a topic in a speaking or writing task, you need to give an example to further illustrate the idea. For example, when you agree or disagree with some idea during an independent speaking or writing task, you will need to present some examples to support and thus strengthen your argument. The “example” transition words compiled here help you introduce specific information. Study these words/phrases, and then practice using them as you complete your speaking and writing practice.

  • As evidence of: As evidence of climate change, the professor points to the rapid melting of the glaciers at the polar icecaps.
  • The legitimacy of: The legitimacy of the woman’s solution of having the man delay his trip to see his parents is established as she points out the many pressing issues that the man needs to work on.
  • Such as: In support of the campus announcement about shortening final exam days, the man says he has effective study habits such as breaking up his study routine into 2-3 hour blocks which helps him to master the content in his courses in a short period of time.
  • For example: To increase my energy levels and help me move around easier, I started an exercise regimen six days a week. For example, I  do a full-body workout for 20 minutes, and then I run 3-5 miles.
  • A few of these are: The man objects to the new campus policy forcing first-year students for several reasons. A few of these are first-year students who may choose to commute to campus from their homes, others may want to live off-campus in apartments with friends or relatives, and others may not be able to afford to pay the high costs of living on campus in dorms. In any case, first-year students should not be forced to live on campus.
  • In the case of:  According to the professor, animals have innate mechanisms to make it harder for predators to eat them. In the case of the artic fox, its coat turns pure white during the winter. As a result, wolves, polar bears, and leopard seals have a harder time seeing the artic fox because it blends in so easily to the snow landscape.
  • In addition: The reading passage introduces an economic concept called NIMBY. In addition, the professor in the lecture gives an example to further illustrate the idea.
  • For one thing . . . for another: I totally agree with the idea that two heads are better than one.  For one thing, students studying together can help each other fill in the gaps of misunderstanding as they prepare for exams. For another, working together as a team can help employees fulfill their company’s goals much faster.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show disagreement

TOEFL transition words

The perfect opportunity to show disagreement is when you disagree with an idea presented in a speaking or writing task. In addition, you will use “disagreement” transition words as you show the relationship between the information in the reading and listening passage during the integrated writing task. During the integrated writing task, you will show how the listening passage disagrees with the information in the reading passage. Carefully, look over these “disagreement” transition words. Then practice using them as you complete your speaking and writing practice.

  • . . . object/s (to): The speaker objects to the assertion by the author in the reading passage that employees should attend all required meetings.
  • . . . disagree/s with: In the lecture, the speaker disagrees with the author’s claim that victims should run away if a bear charges.
  • . . . contradict/s: According to the author, businesses can succeed if they follow three basic principles. The speaker in the lecture, however, contradicts each principle that the speaker explains.
  • . . . doesn’t/don’t support: According to the new policy, students will need to pay an extra 15% parking fee.  Both the man and the woman do not support this new policy.
  • . . . is/are invalid:  The speaker believes that the author’s assertion that motivation should always come from within is invalid.
  • These arguments, one by one, can be challenged: In the reading passage, the author claims that bloggers are unprofessional,  are inexperienced, and lack integrity.  These arguments, one by one, are challenged by the speaker in the listening passage.
  • . . . is absurd/ridiculous/unfounded/illogical:  The speaker believes that the author’s claim that bears are more likely to attack humans when bears lose their fear of them is unfounded.
  • . . . not to be taken seriously: Even though the author argues that bloggers lack the experience to write professionally, the speaker does not take this claim seriously.
  • . . . has/have no scientific basis: The author in the reading passage claims that dinosaurs might have become extinct because they ate poisonous plants which caused the great beasts to overdose. However, the speaker believes that this “overdose” theory has no scientific basis in fact.
  • . . . dispute/s: The campus announcement claims that the new cafeteria changes will benefit the student body by providing a more healthy variety of food choices.  However, the student disputes this claim by providing two reasons.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show purpose

TOEFL transition words

Similar to showing reason, you will need to show purpose in pretty much every speaking and writing task you complete. These transition words/phrases teach you how to show purpose in a way that you helps you to use advanced grammar. Study them, and begin using them in your speaking and writing practice.

  • In order to: In order to get to Las Vegas without being stuck in a traffic jam, I advised that my friend leave Monday morning.
  • For:  Typically, I travel to Los Angeles on a Saturday, for the traffic is sometimes better on that day.
  • So that: I will let my friend borrow my car so that he can take his friend to the airport.
  • So as to: The professor gave an example so as to further illustrate the concept discussed in the reading passage.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show similarity

TOEFL transition words

When you show similarity, you show how two things are alike.  You will need to do this if you are asked to compare two things in an independent speaking or writing task. In addition, you may want to show how a speaker’s opinion in similar to a campus announcement during integrated speaking task 3. The collection of words below exemplify “similarity” transition words that you can use in these speaking and writing tasks.

  • Just as: Just as the woman believes that the campus announcement about bicycle parking is harmful, the man believes that students will not be helped by this new policy.
  • In the same way: The man doesn’t not want the final exam week shortened by two days. In the same way, the woman believes that the current length of time for final exams is appropriate and thus should not be reduced.
  • Similarly:  Georgia has a small population and has a hot, humid climate during the summer. Similarly, Mississippi has no more than about 3 million residents who live in the searingly hot and humid summer-time weather.
  • Likewise:  The man doesn’t like the idea of making class attendance optional. Likewise, the woman believes that students should be required to attend their classes, especially the ones in their majors.
  • As in/as with/as was/etc. After a large earthquake, a giant Tsunami pummeled Japan’s coast as was the case with Indonesia, when it was hit by a large wave on its coastline.

TOEFL Transition Words: To show spatial relationships

During the independent speaking and writing tasks, you may be asked to describe something. As part of that description, you need to use words that can show location or spatial relationships. In other cases, you may have to explain a reading or listening passage that describes location or space. These words in this part of my lesson help you to do exactly that. Examine these words and begin using them as you complete your speaking and writing practice.

  • at the left: At the left of the cabinet are the water bottles we need.
  • at the right: Parking is only allowed at the right of the building.
  • in the center: The classroom has 25 desks, in the center of which is a group of laptop computers.
  • on the side: After ordering his dinner, the students asked to have some French fries on the side.
  • along the edge: We hiked along the edge of the Grand Canyon for a few hours in one of the most breathtaking trips I have ever been on.
  • on top, below: The professor placed the papers on top of his file cabinet to await grading, and the trash basket always remained below the desk.
  • beneath: If a tornado approaches, residents should get in a storm shelter that is located beneath the ground’s surface.
  • under:  Most students put their books under their desks when they sit down.
  • around: The 5 kilometer race went around Fairmont Park two times.
  • above:  The geese flew above the lake for two miles before landing in the forest to rest.
  • over: Dreaded hurricane Maria slowly passed over Puerto Rico as high winds, heavy rain, and storm surges pummeled the tiny territory.
  • straight ahead:  As the car went straight ahead through the intersection, it was hit in the side as a drunk driver went through a red light.
  • at the top: At the top of Mount Baldy are scattered rocks with a few small bushes and Lodgepole Pines.
  • at the bottom: Once hikers arrive at the bottom of Mount Baldy, they can go to the Ranger Station to check in.
  • surrounding: Surrounding my house in almost every direction are Desert Juniper and Joshua trees.
  • opposite:  A vacant parking lot is opposite the elementary school.
  • at the rear –  at the front –  in front of: At the rear of most cars on the back axles which support the rear tires. At the front of the car are the axels supporting the two tires propelling the car.
  • beside – behind: I usually park behind University Hall, which is where I attend most of my college classes, and I place my backpack beside me in the passenger seat so that I do not forget to bring it to class.
  • next to: Bicycle parking is not allowed next to any campus buildings.
  • nearby:  However, students can park their bicycles nearby in the grassy area by the soccer fields.
  • in the distance: The storm chaser saw a tornado forming in the distance approximately two miles from where he was set up.
  • beyond: Most hikers in Death Valley National Park do not go beyond Badwater since water is not available after that.
  • in the forefrontin the foreground:  Most directors put their most prominent actors in the foreground during plays because they want the audience to see these cast members up close.
  • within sightout of sight: My mother always kept us sons within sight when we were playing outside because she did not want anything bad to happen to us. Kenneth fired his toy rocket, and it went straight up in the air until it was out of sight.
  • across: Incredibly, he threw the heavy stone across the lake without it falling into the water.
  • under: When I was younger, I could hold my breath under water for almost three minutes.
  • nearer: After the researchers had collaborated for more than three weeks, they were nearer to solving the nuclear fusion puzzle. Perhaps, a promising theory may emerge soon.
  • adjacentAdjacent to our backyard is my neighbor’s back fence.
  • in the background: Elderly people sometimes have trouble hearing each other when there is a lot noise in the background.

To show time relationships

Organizing ideas according to time can help you to tell stories and make it easier for others to understand them. Thus, you will need to use these types of words during the independent speaking and writing tasks. As a result, look over this list to see the different types of words expressing time relationships. Then, begin using them as you do your speaking and writing practice.

  • Immediately: Immediately, when an earthquake occurs, victims should crawl under a desk or some other support surface and place their hands around their face and head to protect themselves from falling debris.
  • Then:  An angler should cast his line into the water. Then he needs to wait until he feels a tugging of the line.
  • Later: Typically, I tend to exercise later in the day during the summer when the temperature is not as hot.
  • Afterwards:  Polpot ate a healthy dinner, and he had dessert afterwards.
  • AfterAfter Georgia finishes her homework assignment, she will give her friend a birthday present.
  • Before: Before athletes complete intense cardiovascular workouts, they should perform some flexibility exercises.
  • WhileWhile I was closing the door, I realized that my keys were inside the car.
  • DuringDuring the concert, a middle-aged gentlemen who was complaining of chest pains was taken to the hospital.
  • As soon as: As soon as the student had finished giving her oral presentation, the professor left the class due to a family emergency.
  • As: As a last resort, spray an attacking bear with pepper spray which may deter it from harming you.
  • SometimesSometimes moist air from Arizona comes to California in August and causes monsoonal rain.
  • Last:  Some distance runners runs strides in the last mile of their workout.
  • Frequently: If some users spend more than 3-4 hours daily using electronic gadgets, they will frequently get headaches.
  • WhenWhen the sirens went off in Kansas City, citizens knew that a tornado was approaching.
  • Once: Once he had finished the multiple choice section, the student began framing his responses for the two essay questions.
  • Often: In conversations, men often speak more directly than their female counterparts.
  • Oftentimes: During the summer in Southern California, oftentimes the temperatures exceed 95F.
  • SinceSince last year, the United States has had a booming economy with an unemployment rate for 3.6%.

To state the options

During integrated speaking task 5-Listening, Speaking, Campus-related- you will need to explain two solutions or options to a problem that the speaking is having.  You may have to explain something similar to this in an independent speaking or writing task. You can use the example “option” transition words to explain two options to a problem.

  • One option isOne option, according to the man, is to have the woman consult her academic advisor to help her choose a major.
  • The other option isThe other option, according to the speaker, is to have the woman complete an extensive career survey to see which types of jobs she is interested in.

To state the problem

Follow the example words in this section when you need to explain a problem that you or someone else is having.  Be sure to practice these words/phrases as you do your TOEFL speaking practice.

  • The problem is (how): The man’s problem is that he doesn’t have transportation to get to the academic debate.
  • The question is: According to the listening passage, the question is whether or not the man should ask his professor for an extension on his research project.
  • What is being asked/challenged: What is being challenged by the speaker is the author’s assertion that children only learn a language by memorizing words and phrases.

To state the reasons

TOEFL transition words

Expressing reasons helps listeners and readers understand how your ideas are connected.  Whether it is a speaking or writing task, you will certainly have opportunities to give your own or to explain someone else’s reasons. Here are some example phrases of how you can express reasons.

  • There are different reasons why:  In the listening passage, there are different reasons why the speaker disagrees with the three main arguments asserted by the author in the reading passage.
  • There are several explanations for:  In the reading passage, there are several explanations for why the author believes that dinosaurs became extinct.
  • There are many positive/negative reasons for:  Although many believe studying alone is preferable, there are many positive reasons for group study.
  • There are some/more/fewer benefits/disadvantages to: Instead of spending money on space exploration, there are more benefits to spending money to meet the needs of people on Earth.

To summarize/conclude

Ending with a conclusion, as short as it might be, shows iBT human raters that you have a good sense of structure during your speaking and writing tasks. Here are some examples of some signal words/phrases to help you close your responses.TOEFL transition words

  • In conclusion: In conclusion, most likely running will benefit most participants since it burn more calories.
  • Finally: Finally, the speaker believes that getting advice from parents will guide him so he can make the right choices.
  • As a result (of): As a result of consulting my parents, I decided to pursue pharmacy studies.
  • In summary: In summary, I prefer to attend a smaller university since it provides smaller classes, more interaction between students and professors, and less traffic when I am trying to park.
  • Therefore: Therefore, larger universities have better research facilities, more opportunities for extracurricular activities, and more internships after graduation.
  • To sum up: To sum up, the speaker casts doubt on the three suggestions for business success discussed by the author in the reading passage.
  • In other words: In other words, the speaker disagrees with the three main arguments posited by the author in the reading passage.
  • To summarize: To summarize, students should not work while they attend school inasmuch as it takes valuable time away from their studies, makes it more difficult for social interaction, and can impact their grades negatively.
  • In brief: In brief, the author in the reading passage and the speaker in the lecture have differing views regarding child language acquisition.
  • On the whole: On the whole, the speaker in the lecture uses the example of the Artic Fox to further the academic concept of defensive mechanisms discussed in the reading passage.
  • To conclude: To conclude, although many believe that universities should offer free tuition to everyone, I disagree with this notion since it will cost the tax payer way too much of their earnings.
  • As we have seen: As we have seen, without restriction, human activities will create far too many greenhouse gases which will cause erratic climactic changes that may be irreversible.
  • As has been said: As has been said, two heads are better than one.  Therefore, studying in groups will help me to master difficult concepts faster, will improve my social interaction skills, and will help me score higher on exams.

Relevant links to more practice with transition words

I’ve put together some additional resources to help you better connect your ideas during the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL exam. Every link leads you to further explanations + examples about transition words.

Get feedback on your speaking and writing practice tests

Are you ready for TOEFL speaking and writing practice? I am ready to help to improve your speaking and writing scores to at least 26 and 24 points. If I can create this 7,440 word TOEFL lesson on TOEFL transition words, I can certainly help you too.  Go to Online TOEFL Course and choose a course that fits your specific situation. Whatever course you choose, you will be able to complete speaking and writing practice daily.  In addition, I will provide you audio and written feedback so that you can monitor your progress.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,

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