A conjunction is a word that links words, phrases, or clauses. There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions may join single words, or they may join groups of words, but they must always join similar elements: e.g. subject+subject, verb phrase+verbphrase, sentence+sentence. When a coordinating conjunction is used to join elements, the element becomes a compound element. Correlative conjunctions also connect sentence elements of the same kind: however, unlike coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. Subordinating conjunctions, the largest class of conjunctions, connect subordinate clauses to a main clause.These conjunctions are adverbs used as conjunctions.
The following tables show examples of the various types of conjunctions and some sample sentences using the conjunctions. Since coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions are closed sets of words, all are included in the list. Subordinating conjunctions are a larger class of words; therefore, only a few of the more common ones areincluded in this list.
F | A | N | B | O | Y | S |
For | and | nor | but | or | yet | so |
An easy way to remember these six conjunctions is to think of the word FANBOYS. Each of the letters in this somewhat unlikely word is the first letter of one of the coordinating conjunctions. Remember, when using a conjunction to join two sentences, use a comma before theconjunction.
EXAMPLES AND SENTENCES
CONJUNCTION | WHAT IS LINKED | SAMPLE SENTENCES |
And | noun phrase+noun phrase | We have tickets for the symphony and the opera. |
But | sentence+sentence | The orchestra rehearses on Tuesday, but the chorus rehearses on Wednesday. |
Or | verb+verb | Have you seen or heard the opera by Scott Joplin? |
So |sentence+sentence | I wanted to sit in the front of the balcony, so I ordered my tickets early. |
both...and | not only...but also | either...or | neither...nor | whether...or |
Remember, correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. They join similar elements. When joining singular and plural subjects; the subject closest to the verb determines whether the verb issingular or plural.
EXAMPLES AND SENTENCES
CONJUNCTIONS | WHAT IS LINKED | SAMPLE SENTENCE |
both...and | subject+subject | Both my sister and my brother play the piano. |
either...or | noun+noun | Tonight's program is either Mozart or Beethoven. |
neither...nor | subject+subject | Neither the orchestra nor the chorus was able to overcome the terrible acousticsin the church |
not only...but also | sentence+sentence | Not only does Sue raise money for the symphony, but she also ushers at all of their concerts. |
TIME | CAUSE + EFFECT | OPPOSITION | CONDITION |
after | Because | although | if |
before | Since | though | unless |
when | now that | even though | only if |
while | As | whereas | whether or not |since | in order that | while | even if |
until | So | | in case (that) |
Subordinating conjunctions, (subordinators) are most important in creating subordinating clauses. These adverbs that act like conjunctions are placed at the front of the clause. The adverbial clause can come either before or after the main clause. Subordinators are usually a single word, but there are also a number ofmulti-word subordinators that function like a single subordinating conjunction. They can be classified according to their use in regard to time, cause and effect, opposition, or condition. Remember: put a comma at the end of the adverbial phrase when it precedes the main clause.
CONJUNCTION | SAMPLE SENTENCE |
After | We are going out to eat after we finish...