Conjunctions


When you want to write about more than one subject or action in the same sentence, it’s time for a conjunction. It helps to understand phrases and clauses when studying the more advanced uses of conjunctions.

Conjunction (conj.)

A conjunction connects words or groups of words. Conjunctions are described as coordinating, subordinating, correlative, and adverbial.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases, and independent clauses. Unfortunately, some writers use coordinating conjunctions to join sentences, creating run-on sentences.

Coordinating conjunctions include:

and
or
but
yet
so

And and or are the most common coordinating conjunctions, joining most anything in a sentence. The conjunctions but, yet, and so join phrases and clauses to sentences. The word for can be a coordinating conjunction.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions join dependent clauses to independent clauses within sentences. The conjunction allows additional information to be added to the sentence, improving the sentence’s clarity.

Subordinating conjunctions include:

after
although
as
as if
because
before
for
if
once
since
so
so that
than
that
though
till
unless
until
where
whereas
wherever
when
whenever
whether
while

We partied all night once the book was published.

I write poetry whenever I find myself alone.

Correlative Conjunctions

The correlative conjunctions correlate two items, actions, or ideas. Not only do the correlative conjunctions compare two words, but they also work in pairs:

both/and
either/or
neither/nor
whether/or

There is a common correlative pair that is four words: not only/but also.

I want to either paint or write.

She is neither talented nor driven.

It was not only boring, but also poorly written.

Adverbial Conjunctions

Adverbial conjunctions join clauses of equal importance. These conjunctions are also known as transitional adverbs. Sometimes these conjunctions follow semicolons and link two independent clauses. If the conjunction connects a clause of lesser importance to a primary clause, use a comma in place of the semicolon. When an adverbial conjunction begins a sentence, use a comma after the conjunction.

Common adverbial conjunctions include:

accordingly
besides
consequently
furthermore
hence
however
likewise
nevertheless
so
still
therefore
thus

Carefully punctuate adverbial conjunctions. Too many or too few commas are common mistakes.

The money was found under his bed; consequently we assumed he was the thief.

She lied about knowing him, so we suspect her of being an accomplice.

Thus, we arrested her, too.


Sources

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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 27-May-2014
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach