FAQ - English & Grammar

What Is a Conjunction? Definition, Types, & Examples.

What Is a Conjunction?

A conjunction is a word used to join words, dependent or independent clauses, or phrases. Three of the most common ones include and, but, and or. A conjunction is one of the eight parts of speech in the English language.

 

Examples:

 

·         Mario and Beverly went to the movies.

·         Elissa was going to go, but she had too much homework.

·         “Do you want popcorn or nachos?” he asked.

·         She didn’t bring her umbrella because she didn’t know it was going to rain.

·         I’m not going if Craig isn’t going.

 

Types of Conjunctions

 

There are four types of conjunctions:

 

·         Coordinating

·         Subordinating

·         Correlative

·         Compound

 

Coordinating Conjunctions

 

Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect two equal sections of a sentence together. For example, they can link two adjectives, two nouns, two independent clauses, or two phrases. There are seven coordinating conjunctions, which can be easily remembered by the acronym FANBOYS.

 

F – for

A – and

N – nor

B – but

O – or

Y – yet

S – so

 

Examples:

 

·         Rhody was tired, so she took a nap.

·         Cuba bought her a new bike and a new helmet.

·         Manuel seemed excited yet scared at the same time.

Coordinating Conjunction Rules

 

The primary rule to keep in mind when using coordinating conjunctions involves comma usage. When a coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses, a comma must be placed before the conjunction. For example, Kelly likes seafood, but Jamar hates it. If the coordinating conjunction connects two words or phrases, a comma is not necessary and would not be correct. For example, Jeffrey has a dog and a cat.

 

To determine if a comma is needed before a coordinating conjunction, ask if there is a subject and a predicate on either side of it. In the first example above, “Kelly” and “likes seafood” appear before the conjunction. “Kelly” is the subject, and “likes seafood” is the predicate. On the other side of the conjunction is “Jamar” as the second subject and “hates it” as the second predicate. Since a subject and predicate appears before and after the conjunction, a comma is required.

 

In the second example, there is a subject (Jeffrey) and predicate (has a dog) before the conjunction. There is a noun (cat) after the conjunction, but there is no verb. Therefore, there is no subject performing an action, and so there is no need for a comma before the conjunction.

 

Subordinating Conjunctions

 

Subordinating conjunctions connect dependent clauses with independent clauses. There are dozens of subordinating conjunctions, including because, if, and once.

 

Examples:

 

·         The chocolate will melt if you leave it in the car.

·         Chris will return his video games as soon as he sees he’s passing all his classes.

·         I didn’t like asparagus until I was an adult.

 

Correlative Conjunctions

 

Correlative conjunctions are similar to coordinating conjunctions in that they join two equal parts of a sentence. However, the difference is that correlative conjunctions always involve a pair of words that work in tandem. This pair is always separated by the other words in the sentence.

 

Examples:

 

·         Tomas can either have ice cream or cupcakes for dessert.

·         Miranda is both extroverted and shy.

·         Brock not only ran the fastest but also walked the fastest.

 

Compound Conjunctions

 

Compound conjunctions are similar to correlative conjunctions in that they involve more than one word. However, the difference is that compound conjunctions do not involve a pair of words separated by other words. Instead, they involve two or more together that connect to the rest of the sentence.

 

Examples:

 

·         Ivan plays disc golf as well as tennis.

·         Irma will refund his money as soon as he returns the package.

·         Chelsea said her friends could stay for as long as they wanted.

 

List of Common Conjunctions

 

The following is a list of some of the most common conjunctions. Keep in mind that some words can belong to more than one part of speech, depending on they are used in a sentence.

 

Afterwards

Actually

Also

And

Another

As soon as

Because

But

Finally

 

First

Further

However

In addition to

In conclusion

In spite of

Meanwhile

Moreover

Nevertheless

 

Nor

Second

So

Soon

Still

To begin with

Too

While

Yet

 

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