Spanish Transition Words: Simple Guide to Connecting Words


Have you ever had the impression that, when speaking or writing Spanish, your sentences are independent thoughts that don’t seem to flow? Don’t worry. This happens to many learners! To improve your coherence and fluency, you must learn transition words in Spanish. 

Whether it’s for an essay or a conversation, linking your ideas together is fundamental to sounding cohesive and coherent. Since they help you achieve this, in this guide, you’ll learn how to use connecting words and transitional phrases in Spanish. 

Here is an overview of the topics we’ll cover:

What Are Spanish Transition Words?

Spanish transition words, also called transitional, connecting, or linking words, have a primary function: to connect ideas and describe the relation between them.

Confused? Let’s see an example.

Charlotte está enojada. Rompí su teléfono.
Charlotte is mad. I broke her phone.

The example above expresses two ideas. #1 Charlotte is mad, and #2 I broke her phone. Is there a connection between these facts? Yes! But since it’s unclear, I’m forcing you to make that assumption.

Things will sound more fluid and make more sense if you use a Spanish transition word to express causation (cause and effect). 

Charlotte está enojada porque rompí su teléfono.
Charlotte is mad because I broke her phone.

With this rewritten example, ‘porque’ (because) is the connecting word, linking the two ideas together. Now the reason why Charlotte is mad is perfectly clear.

So, Spanish transition words link your ideas together while describing how those ideas relate to each other. Since connecting words in Spanish can be used to link ideas, sentences, or paragraphs together, they help others understand what you’re saying.

Take Note: Connectors in Spanish can be made by one word, such as porque. However, transitional phrases are built with two or more words. For example, ‘ya que’, ‘debido a’ or ‘a cause de’, are all more complex ways of saying ‘because’.

List of Connecting Words in Spanish

Connecting words in Spanish are classified based on the type of relationship they express. 

  • Addition
  • Cause and effect
  • Contrast
  • Explanation or examples
  • Emphasize
  • Purpose
  • Sequence and time
  • Similarity 

In the sections below, you’ll find lists with common transition words and phrases in Spanish and examples of how to use them. 

Tip: Transition words in Spanish are often associated with writing essays. But you’d also use these connectors in daily conversations.  

Addition

As its name suggests, Spanish transitional words of addition allow you to introduce new information.

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
AdemásIn addition, also, what’s more, furthermore
AsimismoLikewise, also, as well, in addition, additionally
Encima deOn top of
Es másWhat’s more, furthermore, for that matter
Más aúnEven more so, furthermore
Por añadiduraIn addition, as well
Por otra parteBesides, moreover
Sumado a estoAdded to, in addition to
TambiénAlso, as well, too

Examples:

Lucas dobló la ropa, también preparó la cena.
Lucas folded the clothes; he also prepared dinner.

No pude venir porque estaba ocupada. Además, me sentía mal.
I couldn’t come because I was busy. Also, I was feeling sick.

Cause and effect or Reason

As shown at the beginning of this article, this type of Spanish transitional word helps you describe the cause and effect of an action or behavior. 

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
A causa deBecause of, due to
Así puesSo
Así queSo
Como resultadoAs a result
Dado queSince, given that
De ahí queThus, therefore, hence
De manera queSo, so that
De tal forma queSo that, in a way that
Debido aOn account of, because, due to
EntoncesSo
Gracias aThanks to, due to
Por consiguienteTherefore, as a result
Por endeConsequently, as a result, therefore
Por esta razónFor that reason
Por lo cualFor that reason, as a result
Por lo tantoTherefore, hence
PorqueBecause
Puesto queGiven that, since, because
Ya queSince, given that, because

Examples

Llegué tarde debido al tráfico.
I’m late due to the traffic.

Carlos está enfermo, así que no vendrá esta noche.
Carlos is sick, so he won’t be coming tonight.

Mañana es día feriado. Por lo tanto, no se trabaja.
Tomorrow is a public holiday. Therefore, people don’t have to work.

Take Note: Just as in English, some transitional words in Spanish may be more formal than others. 

Contrast or opposition 

Spanish transition words of contrast express an opposite relationship between ideas. When writing essays, these words are helpful to contrast ideas, theories or someone’s position about a certain issue.  

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
A menos queUnless
Ahora bienHowever, but, having said that
Al mismo tiempoAt the same time
Antes bienRather
Aún asíEven so, still, even then
AunqueAlthough, even though, even if
Con todo y esoDespite that, even then, even so, nevertheless
De otro modoOtherwise
En cambioHowever, whereas
En contrasteIn contrast
Más queRather
No obstanteNonetheless, however, despite, nevertheless
Por el contrarioOn the contrary
PeroBut
Por otro ladoOn the other hand
Sin embargoHowever, but, nevertheless

Examples:

Me gustaría ir, pero tengo trabajo.
I would like to go, but I have work to do.

Aunque te cueste trabajo, debes practicar tu español.
Although it may be difficult, you should practice your Spanish.

Samantha se distrae fácilmente. Sin embargo, sus calificaciones son buenas.
Samantha gets easily distracted. However, her grades are good.

Tip: In Spanish, these transition words can be placed at the beginning or the middle of a sentence. Notice that, if they start the sentence, they are always followed by commas. 

Explanation or examples

Whether you’re writing or having a conversation, sometimes you need to explain or clarify what you’re saying. To do this, you can use the following transition words and phrases in Spanish:

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
Dicho de otro modoIn other words
En otras palabrasIn other words
En pocas palabrasIn short
En resumenIn summary, in short
Es decirMeaning, that is
Esto esThat is
Mejor dichoTo put it another way, rather
O seaI mean, rather
Por ejemploFor example

Examples

Cocinar es muy difícil. Mejor dicho, a mí me cuesta mucho trabajo.
Cooking is very difficult. Or rather, it’s very difficult for me.

El libro relata hechos fantásticos, es decir, hechos que no son reales.
The book tells fantastic stories, meaning, unreal facts.

Creo que todos podemos ayudar. Por ejemplo, yo puedo limpiar la casa.
I think we all can help. For example, I can clean the house.

Take Note: In Mexican Spanish, o sea is a popular filler word. 

Emphasis

As their name suggests, these Spanish connecting words are used to emphasize important ideas that people should pay attention to. 

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
Cabe señalar / Cabe resaltarIt should be noted
En efectoIndeed
En particularParticularly, in particular, especially
EspecialmenteEspecially
Más aúnEven more so
PrincipalmenteMainly, chiefly, primarily
Sin dudaWithout a doubt, doubtlessly
Sobre todoChiefly, above all, especially, mainly

Examples

Sin duda, este año fue muy difícil para todos.
Without a doubt, this year was difficult for all of us.

Me gustan mucho las películas, especialmente, las de terror.
I like movies very much, especially horror movies.

Purpose

When it comes to transition words for essays and formal writing in Spanish, terms and phrases that express purposes are very important because they help you describe the goal of the text itself or a section within it.  

Some examples of these transitional words include:

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
A fin deIn order to, so as to, for the purpose of
Con el fin deWith the purpose of, in order to
Con el objetivo deWith the objective of
De manera que / De forma queSo, so that
El objetivo deThe objective of, the purpose of
ParaFor
Por dicha razonFor that reason

Example

Incluí ejemplos con el fin de que este artículo sea más fácil de entender.
I included examples in order to make this article easier to understand.

El objetivo de este artículo es enseñarte a usar conectores en español.
The purpose of this article is to teach how to use connectors in Spanish.

Sequence and time

Spanish transition words and phrases also allow you to describe the order or sequence of your ideas or the time when specific actions occur. These connections are helpful when you need to establish chronological order or the steps of a process.

Here are some examples of these words: 

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
A continuaciónNext, followed by
Al mismo tiempoAt the same time, simultaneously
AnteriormentePreviously, before
Como conclusiónIn conclusion
DespuésAfter
DuranteDuring
En conclusiónIn conclusion, in summary
En resumenIn summary, to sum up
En primer lugarFirstly, first and foremost, in the first place
En sumaBasically, in short
FinalmenteFinally
LuegoThen
Para comenzarTo start
Por últimoLastly, finally
PrimeroFirst

Examples:

Primero encuentra tus llaves y, después, nos podemos ir.
First, find your keys and, then, we can leave. 

Finalmente, los resultados encontrados no prueban…
Finally, the results found do not prove…

Por último, me gustaría mencionar…
Lastly, I would like to mention…

Similarity 

If you need to point out similarities between two ideas or paragraphs, you can use the following Spanish connectors:

Spanish transition word/phraseEnglish transition word/phrase
Asimismo / Así mismoLikewise, by the same token
De igual maneraIn the same way, likewise, by the same token
De forma similarIn similar fashion, likewise
IgualmenteEqually

Examples:

Estos celulares son igualmente buenos.
These phones are equally good.

De igual manera, todos tienen que entregar su proyecto.
Likewise, every one must deliver their project.

Take Note: In Spanish, igualmente is also used as a response to ‘nice to meet you’ or ‘have a nice day’. 

Key Points

Transition words in Spanish are necessary to have a more fluid and natural conversation. 

Entonces, don’t be afraid to use them! (See what I did there?). Here are some key points you should keep in mind:

  • Transition words connect ideas and explain how those ideas relate to each other. 
  • The relation transitional words can help you express are:
    • Add new information
    • Describe cause and effect
    • Contrast two ideas
    • Provide explanations and introduce examples
    • Emphasize ideas
    • Express the purpose of a text or section
    • Describe the sequence your ideas follow
    • Point out the similarities between two or more ideas
  • These words and phrases are mostly placed at the beginning or middle of a sentence.
  • Unless they’re followed by a preposition, transition words that start a new sentence or paragraph must be accompanied by a comma

Now that you know this new vocabulary, it’s time for you to go and apply it! ¡Buena suerte!

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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