Master French Transition Words and Speak Like a Native

french transition wordsIf you have plans to sit in French cafés this summer sipping espressos and discussing French philosophy and literature, connect your ideas in the language of Molière with the right transition word vocabulary. Transition words are used to connect ideas between paragraphs and sentences, and within sentences. They lead the reader from point to point. Many different types of relationships are made through transition words. These powerful words and phrases help us compare, contrast, emphasize, and illustrate ideas. Even if you only have basic conversational French, you will sound like a native speaker if you know French transition words. More accurately, to make transitions, we use both transition words and phrases. Many transition phrases are conjunctive phrases made up of two or more words and ending in que. They introduce subordinating phrases or clauses, which alone do not constitute a complete sentence. Some subordinating clauses use the subjunctive form. I can see you scratching your head and asking, When do I use the subjunctive? Since you willusethe subjunctive withsometransition phrases, it is a good time to review the subjunctive. Here, the subordinate clause is the subject of the sentence, so we use the subjunctive of pouvoir puisse. Je vais l’aider afin qu’elle puisse réussir dans sa classe de Chinois. Iamgoingtohelphimso that he can succeed in his Chinese class. Whether you are a beginner or advanced student, French transition words will help you speak French with ease.


The French like to put a strong accent on their comments. Thus, they have lots of transition words to emphasize points. ainsi que                         as well as, along with, together with de même                         furthermore de plus                             moreover, what’s more, furthermore, also de surcroît                      what is more, moreover également                      equally, too, also etpuis                              and finally, and what’s more en outre                          besides, additionally non seulement mais encore             not only but also S’il étudie ainsi que participe dans la classe, il réussira. If he studies, as well as participates in the class, he will succeed.

Cause and Effect

ainsi,                                 in this way, like this, thus alors                                  therefore car                                     because/as c’est pourquoi,              this is why, that’s why conséquemment/        consequently en consequence donc                                 therefore, so then en raison de                   on account of, because of, owing to par conséquent,           consequently, as a result, therefore parce que                       because Il n’a pas étudié l’année dernière et en conséquence, il a échoué. He did not study last year and consequently he failed.


alors que                         while, when, even though au contraire                   on the contrary au lieu de                       instead of cependant                      however, thus d’un autre côté             from another angle/side d’une partd’autre part          onthe one hand on the other hand en dépit de                     despite en revanche                   on the other hand mais                                  but malgré                             despite/in spite of néanmoins                     nevertheless, nonetheless, however or                                       but, yet pourtant                          however tandis que                      whereas, while, when Malgré un examen difficile à mi-parcours, il peut encore passer de bonnes notes. Despite a difficult mid-term exam, he can still pass with good marks.



attendu que                   whereas comme                             as, like, as well as de même qua               as well as, in the same way as autant que                     as much as de la même façon que              in the same way/manner as semblablement            similarily pareillement                  in the same way selon que                        according to whether tandis que                      whereas, while comme si                         as if Il a de mauvaises habitudes de travail alors que sa sœur est très studieuse. He has bad study habits whereas his sister is very studious.


The French are well known for their understated c’est pas mal (it’s not bad), which really means, they really like it. Here are more words of emphasis used by this passionate language. en effet                                          indeed effectivement,                             indeed, actually vu que                                            given that, seeing that étant donné qua                         given that grâce à                                           through, by meansof à cause de                                     because of

More Emphasis Words

afin que                                         in order that, with a view to dans la mesure où                      to the extent that, inasmuch as, insofar as aussi                                 too, also, as well alors,                                so then, then, in that case si bien que,                     so much sothat, to the extent that par suite,                         thereafter, consequently de façon que,                so that, such that de manière que,           in such a way that, so that  


à savoir,                                         namely, that is to say c’est-à-dire, so it                         that is to say par exemple                                 for example notamment                                  notably entre autres                                 among other things en particulier,                              in particular comme l’illustre                          as illustrated/shown comme le souligne                     as underlined Entre autres choses, il joue trop de jeux vidéo. Among other things, he plays too many video games.  


après                                after that d’abord                            first of all enfin                                 finally ensuite                             then puis                                   next par suite                          following suivant                               next Il veut aller en Chine mais d’abord il doit obtenir des notes élevées. He wants to go to China but first of all he must get high marks.


While some transition words are optional, those showing time relationships are often critical to the meaning of a sentence. Time transition words provide important context, and therefore are often placed at the beginning of a sentence. quand,                             when lorsque,                           when, as soon as alors que,                        while, when, even though après que                       after au moment où               at the moment when avant que                       before dès lors que                   as, since, from the moment dès qua                          assoon as depuis que                     since en même temps que   at the same time as pendant que                 while Dès qu’il améliore ses Chinoise, nous pouvons commencer à planifier le voyage. As soon as he improves his Chinese, we can start to plan the trip.


en bref                             in brief, in summary en conclusion                in conclusion, to conclude en résumé, pour résumé          in summary, in short   Mastering the language of romance is easy. Learn French Grammar for Beginners, and practice your French transitions words and you will sound like a native French speaker. Start with Beginner French Part 1: Au Café to learn more about the language and etiquette of French café culture.