a brief explanation of conjunctions

a brief explanation of conjunctions

A conjunction is a word that links words, phrases, or clauses. There are three types of conjunctions:coordinatingconjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinatingconjunctions. 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+verb phrase, 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 are included in this list.

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

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 the conjunction.


EXAMPLES AND SENTENCES

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

CONJUNCTION WHAT IS LINKED SAMPLE SENTENCES
and noun phrase+noun phrase We have tickets for the symphonyand the opera.
but sentence+sentence The orchestra rehearses on Tuesday, butthe 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.

CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS

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 is singular or plural.

EXAMPLES AND SENTENCES

CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS

 

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 iseitherMozartor Beethoven.
neither…nor subject+subject Neither the orchestra nor the chorus was able to overcome the terrible acoustics in the church
not only…but also sentence+sentence Not onlydoes Sue raise money for the symphony, but she alsoushers at all of their concerts.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

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 of multi-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.

EXAMPLES AND SENTENCES

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

CONJUNCTION SAMPLE SENTENCE
after We are going out to eat afterwe finish taking the test.
since Since we have lived in Atlanta, we have gone to every exhibit at the High Musuem.
while While I was waiting in line for the Matisse Exhibit, I ate my lunch.
although Although the line was long and the wait over two hours, the exhibit was well worth it
even if Even if you have already bought your ticket, you will still need to wait in line.
because I love Matisse’s works because he uses color so brilliantly.
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