Conjunctions



Conjunctions: Coordination, Correlation, Conjunction, and Subordination

A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words or phrases.

Learning Objectives

Choose the correct conjunction to connect two clauses

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases, or clauses.
  • Conjunctions help add variety to your writing because they can be used to create  sentences with different styles and meanings.
  • The different kinds of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs.

Key Terms

  • coordinating conjunction: A word that joins words and phrases of equal syntactic importance.
  • conjunction: A part of speech that connects words or phrases.
  • subordinating conjunction: A word that joins together the separate sections of a complex sentence.

In English grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases, or clauses. There are several different types of conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are conjunctions that join, or “coordinate,” two or more items (such as words, clauses, or sentences) of equal importance. The major coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. (You can use the acronym FANBOYS to remember these!) The most common coordinating conjunctions out of these are and, or, and but.

And

“And” connects non-contrasting items or ideas:

  • They want hamburgers and hot dogs.
  • She likes swimming at the pool and in the river.
  • I will go to the grocery store and pick up the kids.

Or

“Or” presents an alternative item or idea.

  • They want either hamburgers or hot dogs.
  • She likes swimming at the pool or in the river depending on how hot it is.
  • I will either go to the grocery store or pick up the kids.

But

“But” presents a contrast or exception.

  • They want hamburgers, but not hot dogs.
  • She likes swimming at the pool, but not in the river.
  • I will go to the grocery store, but I won’t pick up the kids.

Nor

“Nor” presents a non-contrasting negative idea.

  • They want neither hamburgers nor hot dogs.
  • She doesn’t like swimming at the pool, nor in the river.
  • I will neither go to the grocery store nor pick up the kids.

Yet

“Yet” presents a contrast or exception (usually, one more surprising than “but”).

  • They want hamburgers, yet they don’t want hot dogs.
  • She likes swimming at the pool, yet not in the river.
  • I can go to the grocery store, and yet I somehow don’t have time to pick up the kids.

So

“So” presents a consequence.

  • They ate hamburgers, so they’re too full for hot dogs.
  • She likes swimming at the pool so she doesn’t have to drive to the river.
  • I am going to the grocery store, so I can pick up the kids on the way home.

For

“For” presents a rationale.

  • They want hamburgers, for they are hungry.
  • She likes swimming at the pool, for she wants to stay cool.
  • I will go to the grocery store, for we need to buy ingredients.

Schoolhouse Rock: This famous video from 1973 might have taught your parents the basics of grammar! “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?”

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are conjunctions that join two separate clauses. The most common subordinating conjunctions in the English language include after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, every time, if, in order that, since, so, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, and while.

  • Joe went to the store because he needed some orange juice.
  • After the movie is over, we can have dinner at my house.
  • He likes horses, even though a pony bit him once.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions work in pairs in order to join words and groups of words of equal weight in a sentence. There are many pairs of correlative conjunctions, including: either/or; not only / but also; neither/nor; both/and; whether/or. 

  • You either do your work or prepare for a trip to the office.
  • Not only is he handsome, but he is also brilliant.
  • Neither the basketball team nor the football team is doing well.
  • Both the cross-country team and the swimming team are doing well.
  • Whether you stay or go is your decision.
image

Not only is the Sphinx in the picture, but the Pyramids are too.: The title contains an example of a correlative conjunction: “not only… but also.” A correlative conjunction is just one type of conjunction, which is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases, or clauses. Conjunctions can assist in creating sentences of various styles and emphases.

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs express a relationship or transition between two separate parts of a complex sentence. Common conjunctive adverbs include so, otherwise, also, consequently, for example, furthermore, however, in addition, in contrast, in fact, instead, likewise, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, still, then, and therefore. For example:

  • The CEO will be attending the lecture; accordingly, the vice president will be available for the luncheon at noon.
  • Jaime wanted to see Billy Madison; however, Nick wanted to see Happy Gilmore.