Think of transitions as the links that help your writing flow.You can also think of a transition as a sort of bridge between ideas or between paragraphs.After, afterward, before, then, once, next, last, at last, at length, first, second, etc., at first, formerly, rarely, usually, another, finally, soon, meanwhile, at the same time, for a minute, hour, day, etc., during the morning, day, week, etc., most important, later, ordinarily, to begin with, afterwards, generally, in order to, subsequently, previously, in the meantime, immediately, eventually, concurrently, simultaneously.
What follows is a handy list of common transition words and their functions.
If you open sentences appropriately with these words it will help your writing to flow.
To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ.
A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.
This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays.
For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.
This page only provides a list of transitional words; be certain you understand their meanings before you use them.
Often, there exists a slight, but significant, difference between two apparently similar words.
One caveat though: Always keep the literal meaning of a transition word in mind as you use it—therefore, do not use "for example" unless you are introducing an example that links to the preceding information; do not use "nevertheless" unless you are offering a contrasting point.
Note how this paragraph has required a minimal use of transition words; they should not be forced in where they do not belong.