CONJUNCTIONS

ou can spend your life writing or speaking short sentences, but (and that’s a conjunction) if you want your English to flow a bit more naturally you need to learn how to join sentences together and (another conjunction) you need some linking words to do this.

Basically a conjunction connects two words, sentences or clauses together:

ALTHOUGH, AND, BECAUSE, BUT, IF, OR, SO, UNLESS, WHEN, WHILE …

There are two types of conjunction: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

You can also use conjunctions in pairs, these are called correlatives.

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

A coordinating conjunction, also called a coordinator, links parts of a sentence. This could be two independent (main) clauses, two noun phrases, adjectives, adverbials etc of equal importance.

They include: for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so,

There’s a mnemonic for remembering them: FANBOYS.

For example:-

It was cold. I wore a coat.

Both sentences are valid on their own, but they can be written so that they’re obviously linked; “It was cold, so I wore a coat.”

The three most used coordinating conjunctions are and, or, and but.

The coordinating conjunction and usually expresses addition or combination.

For example:-

I attended the meeting. + My friend attended the meeting. = My friend and I attended the meeting.

The coordinating conjunction but expresses a contrast.

We were tired. + We were happy. = We were tired but happy.

The coordinating conjunction or expresses choice.

For example:-

Would you like tea? + Would you like coffee? = Would you like tea or coffee?

There are two negative coordinating conjunctions: neither and nor.

For example:-

She spoke neither German nor French. (Here, “nor” is part of the “neither … nor” construction).

!Note – nor, for, and so can only join independent clauses.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

A subordinating conjunction, also called a subordinator, joins a dependent / subordinate clause to a main verb. They are used to show any relationship between them and they turn the clause into something that is dependant on the rest of the sentence for its meaning.

For example:-

Because it was snowing … makes no sense on its own.
We went skiing, because it was snowing. Aha!

Be warned, there are a lot of them.

Subordinating conjunctions include: after, although, because, before, if, in case, so that, therefore, unless, when, while …

For example:

Before you came here, you thought you understood English grammar.
We left the party when the police arrived.

!Note – The subordinate clause sometimes comes at the beginning of a sentence.

CORRELATIVES

Some conjunctions are used in pairs, they are called correlative conjunctions. They are used to show the relationship between ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence.

Most are coordinating correlatives. These link words and phrases.

They include:-

both … and
either … or
neither … nor
not only … but also

For example:-

He was not only a scoundrel, but also a cruel man.

We use either…or together when we want to link two positives:-

For example:-

Either the president or the vice-president will go to the conference. (The president will go to the conference, or the vice-president will go, not both of them.)

We use neither…nor together when we want to link two negative ideas:-

For example:-

Neither the president nor the vice-president was able to solve the problem. (The president couldn’t solve the problem and the vice-president couldn’t solve it either.)

Some are subordinating correlatives.

if … (then)
less … than
more … than
so … that

For example:-

 If Barbie is so popular, (then) why do we have to buy her friends and boyfriends?

There is less water in the aquarium than there was last week.

She ate more gummy bears than usual.

She was so hungry that she could have eaten a horse.

 

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