73 Spanish Transition Words to Connect Your Thoughts Like a Native Speaker
Transition words are the knots that hold sentences together.
Imagine a world where all we have are one-verb, simple sentences: I went to the park. I went to the gym. I went to the store.
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with these types of sentences, but your speech will sound choppy.
This is where transition words come in to help things blend together: I went to the park, then the gym and finally the store.
This post will introduce you to transition words in Spanish and how to use them to sound more fluid (and fluent).
- What Are Transition Words?
- What Types of Spanish Transition Words Are There?
- And One More Thing…
What Are Transition Words?
Transition words in Spanish are words and phrases that help us connect ideas between sentences.
When we connect sentences with transition words, we add only a couple of words, but we make the meaning of what we are saying much clearer. Have a look:
No tengo mucho tiempo. Voy a ir a la fiesta.
(I don’t have much time. I will go to the party.)
The sentences may be correct, but what is the relation between them? By adding transition words to the mix, everything starts to make sense:
No tengo mucho tiempo pero voy a ir a la fiesta.
(I don’t have much time but I will go to the party.)
Como no tengo mucho tiempo, voy a ir a la fiesta.
(Since I don’t have much time, I will go to the party.)
No tengo mucho tiempo. Además, voy a ir a la fiesta.
(I don’t have much time. Besides, I am going to the party.)
What Types of Spanish Transition Words Are There?
Depending on the meaning of your sentence, you will want to use a different set of transition words to help you with it.
Looking at different grammar books and online sites, there does not seem to be a total consensus as to how to classify them. Some pages have six big groups of transition words, others have 10 and there are even sites that mention 14.
Based on these resources, I came up with eight types of transition words that seem to be the most often referred to:
- Comparison and contrast
If you pay attention to how native speakers converse, you’ll notice how these transition words can come into play and help a sentence flow.
1. Transition Words for Time
The first type of transition words have to do with time, whether we’re talking about something that already happened, will happen or maybe just constructing a timeline:
|Ya||Already||Ya hemos llegado.
(We have already arrived.)
|Todavía||Still||Todavía tengo tiempo.
(I still have time.)
|Todavía no||Not yet||Todavía no lo entiendo.
(I don't understand it yet.)
|Primero||Firstly, first||Primero, pela la cebolla.
(First, peel the onion.)
|En primer lugar||First of all||En primer lugar, quiero dar las gracias a mi hermano.
(First of all, I would like to thank my brother.)
|Segundo||Secondly||Segundo, córtala en cubos.
(Secondly, cut it into cubes.)
|Luego||Then, later, next||Luego revisa la gramática.
(Then, review the grammar.)
|Después||After(wards)||Después calienta la sartén.
(Afterwards, heat up the pan.)
|Más tarde||Later||Regresaré más tarde.
(I will return later.)
|Entonces||Then, at that moment||Entonces entendió que estaba solo.
(At that moment, he understood he was alone.)
(They will arrive soon.)
|Al final||At the end||Al final, cerró la puerta.
(At the end, he closed the door.)
|Finalmente||Finally||¡Has llegado finalmente!
(You have come at last!)
|Para continuar||Next, further||Para continuar quiero mostraros mi próximo proyecto.
(Next, I want to show you my next project.)
|Para terminar||Lastly||Para terminar escuchemos esta canción.
(Lastly, let's listen to this song.)
|Por último||Lastly||Por último, debemos analizar los resultados.
(Lastly, we should analyze the results.)
|Cuando||When||Se lo diré cuando lo vea.
(I will tell him when I see him.)
|En cuanto||Once, no sooner than, as soon as||En cuanto llegue, lo llamaré.
(Once I arrive, I will call him.)
|Tan pronto||As soon as||Tan pronto llegue, lo llamaré.
(As soon as I arrive, I will call him.)
|Mientras||While, as long as||Estudiaré español mientras cocinas.
(I will study Spanish while you cook.)
|Mientras tanto||In the meantime, meanwhile||Mientras tanto, Juan estaba llamando a su mamá.
(Meanwhile, Juan was calling his mom.)
|Al mismo tiempo||At the same time||Estudiaba al mismo tiempo que yo cocinaba.
(He was studying at the same time I was cooking.)
There are some things to note when it comes to some of these words:
- You can use ya before or after the verb.
- You can use todavía no together or apart.
- Luego, después and más tarde can be used interchangeably when you are describing a succession of events or giving instructions.
- Entonces normally refers to a specific past moment in time.
- Pronto has a sense of immediacy, something happening shortly or shortly after something else.
- Use al final when you want to talk about what happens at the end of a series of events or when you have a result at the end of a process.
- Use finalmente when something took its time to happen or with the last step in instructions.
2. Transition Words for Location
If we’re looking at where one thing is relative to another, we can use these transitional phrases:
|Aquí/acá||Here||Vámonos. No hay nadie aquí.
(Let's go. There's no one here.)
(There you go.)
|Allí/allá||Over there||Allá voy.
(There I go.)
3. Transition Words for Explaining
If we need some help in explaining something smoothly, we can use these words to provide context:
|Por ejemplo||For example||Vendemos artículos de papelería, por ejemplo: lápices, bolígrafos, cuadernos y papel.
(We sell stationary, for example pencils, pens, notebooks and paper.)
|Es decir||That is to say, that is||He entrenado tres horas, es decir, estoy muy cansado.
(I have worked out for three hours, that is, I am very tired.)
|Como||Since||Como no había clientes, cerré la tienda.
(Since there were no clients, I closed the shop.)
|Entre ellos/ellas||Including||Me gustan los colores cálidos, entre ellos el amarillo y el naranja.
(I like warm colors, including yellow and orange.)
|Ya que||Since||Voy sola, ya que tú no quieres ir.
(I'm going alone, since you don't want to go.)
|Entre otros/otras||Among others||Hay muchas frutas diferentes: manzanas, peras, uvas, entre otras.
(There are many different fruits: apples, pears, grapes among others.)
4. Transition Words for Add-ons
If you’ve made one statement, but have additional details to add, you can tack them on with these words:
|Y||And||Estoy cansado y me duele la cabeza.
(I am tired and I have a headache.)
|Además (de)||In addition (to), furthermore, moreover, besides||Además, me dijo que no tenía dinero.
(In addition, he told me he did not have any money.)
|También||Also, as well, too||Quiero el rojo también.
(I want the red one, too.)
|Asimismo||Also, similarly, likewise, furthermore||Necesitamos terminar el proyecto. Asimismo, deberíamos llamar al cliente.
(We need to finish the project. Also, we should call the client.)
|Igualmente||Similarly, likewise, furthermore||Igualmente, el contrato será firmado por todas las partes.
(Likewise, the contract will be signed by all the parties.)
|Del mismo modo||Similarly, likewise, by the same token||Del mismo modo, todos los estudiantes deben aprobar el examen.
(By the same token, all students must past the test.)
|Por otro lado||On the other hand, what's more||Por otro lado, todavía estamos esperando su respuesta.
(What's more, we are still waiting for his answer.)
|Por otra parte||Moreover, on the other hand||Por otra parte, me gustaría volver a París.
(On the other hand, I would like to go back to Paris.)
|Aparte||Besides||Podemos pasar por la casa, aparte, olvidé mi cartera.
(We can stop by the house, besides, I forgot my wallet.)
Just remember that y can only connect two words, phrases or sentences of the same category. This is called coordination, and y is a coordinating conjunction.
As we’re seeing, a lot of this vocabulary is nuanced. Because of this, the best way to learn how to use them properly is by seeing and hearing them used in context. And don’t worry—even if you don’t have a native friend to talk to, you can immerse yourself in Spanish media from home and pick up on transition words that way.
Another great way of doing this is with FluentU, a language learning program that immerses you through real Spanish video clips.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
5. Transition Words for Results
When referring to cause and effects, you can use these phrases to transition from one to the other:
|Como resultado||As a result||Como resultado, se mudó a Polonia.
(As a result, he moved to Poland.)
|En consecuencia||As a consequence, accordingly||En consecuencia, desde ahora hablaremos solo en español.
(Accordingly, we will only speak Spanish from now on.)
|Como consecuencia de||As a consequence of||Llegué tarde y, como consecuencia de ello, no pude ver a mi hermano.
(I arrived late and, as a consequence of that, I wasn't able to see my brother.)
|Por eso/esto/ello||Therefore, for this reason, that's why||Me quedé dormido; por eso llegué tarde.
(I overslept, that's why I arrived late.)
|Por lo tanto||Therefore, thus||Por lo tanto, debemos tomar medidas preventivas.
(Therefore, we have to take preventive measures.)
|Por consiguiente||Therefore, thus||Por consiguiente, el resultado será publicado mañana.
(Therefore, the result will be published tomorrow.)
|Por esta razón||For this reason||Por esta razón, las botellas de plástico están prohibidas.
(For this reason, plastic bottles are forbidden.)
|Así que||So||La tienda estaba cerrada, así que volvimos a casa.
(The shop was closed, so we went back home.)
|Así||So, thus||Estudié mucho y así pude aprobar el examen.
(I studied a lot and thus I could pass the exam.)
6. Transition Words for Emphasis
Using these transition words correctly will really strengthen whichever part of your phrase that you emphasize it with:
|Sobre todo||Particularly, especially, above all||Eso es muy peligroso, sobre todo para niños.
(That is very dangerous, especially for children.)
|Especialmente||Especially||Vamos mucho a la playa, especialmente en agosto.
(We go to the beach very often, especially in August.)
|Efectivamente||Effectively, indeed, actually, really, truly||Efectivamente, los estudiantes nuevos no han venido.
(Indeed, the new students have not come.)
|Realmente||Effectively, indeed, actually, really, truly||Realmente te ves cansado.
(You really look tired.)
|De hecho||In fact, indeed, as a matter of fact||No fui yo. De hecho, nunca he estado alli.
(It wasn't me. In fact, I have never been there.)
|Principalmente||Especially, particularly, mainly||Los usamos principalmente para exportar.
(We use them mainly for export.)
|En efecto||Indeed||En efecto, creo que deberías decirle.
(Indeed, I think you should tell her.)
7. Transition Words for Comparison and Contrast
Comparing and contrasting requires lots of transition words in order to flow and make sense:
|Como||Like||Ella es fuerte como una vaca.
(She is strong like a cow.)
|Viceversa||Conversely, vice-versa||Él la cuida y viceversa.
(He takes care of her and vice-versa.)
|Pero||But||No lo necesito, pero lo compraré.
(I don't need it, but I'll buy it.)
|Sino||But||No había dos, sino tres.
(There weren't two but three.)
|Aunque||Although, while, even though, even if||Iremos aunque llueva.
(We'll go even if it rains.)
|No obstante||However, nevertheless, notwithstanding||La amo. No obstante, no podemos estar juntos.
(I love her. However, we can't be together.)
|Aun así||Still, even so, nevertheless||Estaba muy cansado. Aun así, fui a la fiesta.
(I was very tired. Still, I went to the party.)
|Sin embargo||However, nevertheless||Dice que no tiene dinero. Sin embargo, la semana pasada compró un coche nuevo.
(He says he doesn't have any money. However, last week he bought a new car.)
|A pesar de||Despite, in spite of||A pesar de la lluvia, fuimos al zoo.
(In spite of the rain, we went to the zoo.)
|Al contrario||On the contrary||Al contrario, nunca dijo la verdad.
(On the contrary, he never told the truth.)
|Contrario a||Contrary to, as opposed to||Contrario a lo esperado, ganamos el partido.
(Contrary to expectations, we won the match.)
|Por el contrario||By contrast, on the other hand||Por el contrario, cualquier violación del contrato será castigada.
(On the other hand, any contract violation shall be punished.)
Note that are three “sinos” in Spanish (si no and sino, on the one hand, and sino as a noun, on the other hand). Make sure you use the correct one.
8. Transition Words for Summarizing
Sometimes we need some help transitioning into a concluding statement, which is why these terms can come in handy:
|En síntesis/resumen||In short, in a nutshell, in summary, in essence||En resumen, es uno de los mejores coches del mercado.
(In essence, it is one of the best cars in the market.)
|Para resumir||To sum up||Para resumir, veamos nuestras notas una vez más.
(To sum up, we'll look at our notes one more time.)
|En general||In general||En general, podemos decir que la campaña no fue un éxito.
(In general, we can say the campaign was not a success.)
|Después de todo||After all, all in all||Después de todo, seguimos juntos.
(All in all, we are still together.)
|En conclusión||In conclusion||En conclusión, este año ha sido muy bueno.
(In conclusion, this has been a very good year.)
These small but powerful words help us to convey exact meaning we want and sound more fluent, so be sure to practice them!
Stay curious my friends and as always, happy learning!
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Sign up by November 28th to receive a 60% discount with our Black Friday sale!