Coordinating Conjunctions (FANBOYS): Its Usage and Examples

Karoline Chaplin

Coordinating conjunctions, commonly remembered as FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So), are a simple yet vital aspect of constructing clear and effective sentences. In this guide, we’ll break down the definition, usage, and examples of coordinating conjunctions to make this grammatical concept more accessible.

What Are Coordinating Conjunctions?

Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect equal grammatical elements within a sentence. The FANBOYS acronym helps remember these connectors easily.

How to Use Coordinating Conjunctions?

1. For (Reason):

  • Indicates a reason or cause.
  • Example: I love to travel, for it broadens my perspective on different cultures.

2. And (Addition):

  • Connects elements to show addition or agreement.
  • Example: She enjoys hiking and camping in the great outdoors.

3. Nor (Negative Alternatives):

  • Presents a negative alternative.
  • Example: Neither the rain nor the storm could dampen their spirits.

4. But (Contrast):

  • Introduces a contrast or contradiction.
  • Example: He wanted to go to the party, but he had too much work to finish.

5. Or (Choice):

  • Presents an alternative or choice between options.
  • Example: You can have tea or coffee with your breakfast.

6. Yet (Contrast/Concession):

  • Indicates a contrast or introduces a concession in spite of an expectation.
  • Example: She is tired, yet she refuses to take a break.

7. So (Result/Effect):

  • Expresses a consequence or result.
  • Example: The weather was beautiful, so we decided to have a picnic.

Examples in Everyday Sentences

Here are some examples to see how coordinating conjunctions work in sentences:

Sentence StructureExample
Single Independent ClauseShe loves to read, and she often visits the library.
Compound SubjectNor the dog nor the cat wants to go outside.
Compound PredicateHe will swim and fish during the summer vacation, but he won’t go hiking.
Connecting PhrasesI need to finish my report, so I’ll stay late at the office.
Combining Independent and Dependent ClausesBut the weather was terrible, so the picnic was canceled.
Alternative ChoicesYou can either join us for dinner or meet us later at the movie theater.

Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions

When it comes to conjunctions, understanding the differences between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions is essential. Here’s a table that helps you in understanding the difference:

AspectCoordinating Conjunctions (FANBOYS)Subordinating Conjunctions
Connection Between ClausesConnects independent clauses of equal importance.Introduces dependent clauses, creating hierarchy.
Type of ConnectionProvides a link between similar or equal elements.Establishes a connection between dependent and independent clauses.
Number of ClausesJoins two independent clauses or elements of the same rank.Connects an independent clause with a dependent clause.
ExamplesFor, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So (FANBOYS).Because, Since, Although, If, When, While, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are coordinating conjunctions and how do you use them?

Coordinating conjunctions, remembered as FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So), connect equal elements in a sentence. Use them to indicate reasons, additions, negative alternatives, contrasts, choices, concessions, or results. Examples illustrate their application in constructing clear and effective sentences.

2. What is the primary function of coordinating conjunctions?

The main function of coordinating conjunctions is to join elements in a sentence, providing cohesion and indicating the relationship between those elements.

3. Can you provide examples of coordinating conjunctions in sentences?

Sure, here are some examples:

  • She likes both coffee and tea.
  • I wanted to go to the beach, but it started raining.

4. What differences subordinating conjunctions from coordinating conjunctions?

Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent (subordinate) clauses and create a relationship of dependence between the main and subordinate clauses. Coordinating conjunctions, on the other hand, connect elements of equal grammatical rank.

5. Is there a difference in the number of clauses connected by coordinating and subordinating conjunctions?

Yes, coordinating conjunctions typically join two independent clauses or elements of the same grammatical rank. Subordinating conjunctions, however, connect an independent clause with a dependent clause, forming a complex sentence.

6. Are there other types of conjunctions besides coordinating and subordinating conjunctions?

Yes, besides coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, there are also correlative conjunctions (e.g., both…and, either…or) that work in pairs to connect elements.

7. How can I remember coordinating conjunctions easily?

The acronym FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) serves as a helpful memory aid for recalling coordinating conjunctions.


In a conclusion, FANBOYS are your allies in crafting well-structured sentences. Whether you’re a student, professional, or aspiring writer, understanding and using coordinating conjunctions enhances your ability to communicate effectively in writing.