What are Conjunctions? Its Types, definition and Examples

Alis Mihaela

Conjunctions are like glue in the English language, helping link words, phrases, and clauses in sentences. Despite their small size, they play a crucial role in making sentences coherent. In this article, let’s explore the basics of conjunctions, including their types, rules, examples, and a list of common ones to make our writing clearer.

What are Conjunctions?

Conjunctions are words that connect elements within a sentence, creating relationships between words, phrases, or clauses. They make our sentences flow better and improve overall clarity.

What are the Types of Conjunctions?

Conjunctions fall into a few categories based on their functions in a sentence:

Coordinating Conjunctions

Connect words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance. The common ones are For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So. You can remember them by using the mnemonic device FANBOYS.

FANBOYSExample
ForShe went home, for it was getting late.
AndHe likes to read and write.
NorShe neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.
ButThe weather was cold, but they went for a picnic.
OrYou can have tea or coffee.
YetThe movie was long, yet it was captivating.
SoShe studied hard, so she aced the exam.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Introduce subordinate clauses, adding information that can’t stand alone as a sentence. Examples include Although, Because, If, Since, and Unless.

Subordinating ConjunctionsExample
AlthoughAlthough it was raining, they went for a walk.
BecauseThey canceled the event because of bad weather.
IfIf you study hard, you will succeed.
SinceShe has been playing the piano since she was five.
UnlessYou won’t succeed unless you try.

Correlative Conjunctions

Work in pairs to connect similar elements.

Examples are Both…and, Either…or, Neither…nor, Not only…but also, Whether…or, and So…that.

Correlative ConjunctionsExample
Both…andShe is both intelligent and hardworking.
Either…orYou can either study or go out.
Neither…norNeither the teacher nor the students were happy with the decision.
Not only…but alsoNot only is she talented, but she is also dedicated.
Whether…orI am unsure whether he will come or not.
So…thatThe rain was so heavy that the streets flooded.

Paired Conjunctions

Also known as correlatives, these are used in pairs to connect similar grammatical elements.

Examples include Either…or, Neither…nor, Both…and, Not only…but also, and Whether…or.

Paired ConjunctionsExample
Either…orYou can either study or go out.
Neither…norNeither the teacher nor the students were happy with the decision.
Both…andShe is both intelligent and hardworking.
Not only…but alsoNot only is she talented, but she is also dedicated.
Whether…orI am unsure whether he will come or not.

What are Common Conjunctions?

Here’s a list of commonly used conjunctions:

  • And
  • But
  • Or
  • Nor
  • For
  • Yet
  • So
  • Although
  • Because
  • If
  • Since
  • Unless
  • Both…and
  • Either…or
  • Neither…nor
  • Not only…but also
  • Whether…or

Rules for Using Conjunctions:

Punctuation with Coordinating Conjunctions:

  • Use a comma before coordinating conjunctions that connect independent clauses.
    • Example: The sun was shining, and the birds were singing.

Placement of Subordinating Conjunctions:

  • Place subordinating conjunctions at the beginning of the subordinate clause.
    • Example: Although it was late, they continued the meeting.

Use of Correlative Conjunction Pairs:

  • Maintain parallel structure when using correlative conjunctions in pairs.
    • Example: She not only dances gracefully but also sings beautifully.

Examples for Better Understanding:

Coordinating Conjunctions:

  • Sentence: The cat is playful, but the dog is lazy.
    • Here, ‘but’ is a coordinating conjunction joining two independent clauses.

Subordinating Conjunctions:

  • Sentence: If you exercise regularly, you will stay healthy.
    • ‘If’ introduces a condition, making the second clause dependent on the first.

Correlative Conjunctions:

  • Sentence: Both the cat and the dog enjoy sleeping.
    • ‘Both…and’ connects two elements, emphasizing their shared trait.

Paired Conjunctions:

  • Sentence: Either you complete the assignment, or you face the consequences.
    • ‘Either…or’ presents a choice between two options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: Can conjunctions start a sentence?

While it’s generally avoided in formal writing, conjunctions can start sentences in more casual or creative contexts.

Q2: Do I always need a comma before ‘and’ or ‘but’?

Use a comma before ‘and’ or ‘but’ when connecting independent clauses. If the clauses are short, a comma may be optional.

Q3: Are there different rules for using ‘although’ and ‘while’?

Yes, ‘although’ introduces a concessive clause, indicating a contrast, while ‘while’ usually introduces a clause indicating simultaneous actions.

Q4: Can I use multiple conjunctions in a sentence?

You can, but it might be clearer to split your ideas into different sentences or clauses.

Conclusion:

Conjunctions are essential for clear and cohesive writing. By understanding their types, rules, examples, and common usage, we can improve our communication skills. Whether it’s coordinating, subordinating, correlative, or paired, these connectors play a vital role in creating well-structured and meaningful expressions in the English language.