Conjunction

Understanding the Uses of Conjunctions

Conjunctions are grammatical joiners, that serve to join other parts of a sentenceOpens in new window.

To give appropriate definition,
The conjunction is that part of speechOpens in new window, which include words such as “and,” “but,” “for,” etc., that serves to join words, phrasesOpens in new window, or clausesOpens in new window together to form a complex sentence Opens in new window.


For Example:
  • Two and eight make ten.
  • The principal and the science teacher were interrogated.
  • You can remain, but I shall go to London.

The word conjunction is said to derived from the Latin conjungo, meaning, “I join with” or “together”. Thus, conjunction is a part of speechOpens in new window used to connect words and sentences.

If there were no conjunctions, we should be obliged to make separate sentences; i.e.,

Were it not for the conjunction and, we should have to say,

Types of Conjunction

Subtypes of conjunctions include the following:

1.   Coordinating Conjunctions

There are seven coordinating conjunctionsOpens in new window in English:

It may help you remember these conjunctions by recalling that they all have fewer than four letters. Also, remember the acronym FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

These words are used to connect any two units that are to be considered jointly or of the same type. For example, they can connect two syntactical units, such as: two nouns, two verbs, two adjectives, etc.

For Example:
  • People study medicine or dentistry (nouns) when they enroll at that institution.
  • The spectators had juice and cookies (nouns).
  • That restaurant is known for healthy and nutritious (adjectives) food.
  • I’m buying either the striped or paisley (adjectives) wallpaper.

Notice in the sentences below the units joined by the coordinating conjunctions are of the same word class (as, nouns, adjectives etc.)

2.   Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctionsOpens in new window include the words: after, because, although, if, before, since, though, unless, when, now that, even though, only if, while, as, whereas, whether or not, since, in order that, while, even if, until, so, in case, etc.

These words always function to introduce a subordinate, or dependent clause.

The subordinating conjunction is always the first word of the dependent clause, and answers one of the adverb questionsOpens in new window (how? When? Where? Why?) about something in another clause.

A subordinating conjunction will always introduce an adverb Opens in new window that modifies a verb Opens in new window, adjective Opens in new window, or adverb in another clause.

Survey the Examples below:
  • He continued arguing until everyone finally agreed with him.
  • They came out to play football when the rain started falling.
  • John will renew his renew his rent once he gets his salary.
  • She listened to him politely, even though his comments sounded silly.
  • They couldn’t get into the house since they misplaced the keys.

In all the examples we’ve seen so far, the dependent clause has come after the main sentence.

But sometimes the dependent clause comes before the main sentence.

In the following examples, the subordinating conjunctions are in bold, and the main sentences are identified in italics:

  • If he knew the truth, her father would throw the doll away.
  • When I brought my first paycheck home, I wanted to frame it.
  • Once he gets his salary, John will renew his rent.
  • Since since they misplaced the keys, they couldn’t get into the house.

3.   Correlative Conjunction

Correlative conjunctionsOpens in new window are a sort of conjunctions used in pairs. They connect equal sentence elements: words to words, phrases to phrases, and clauses to clauses.

The main correlative conjunctions are both-and, either-or, neither-nor, not only-but (also), and whether-or.

For Example:
  • You may be judged either by your words or by your actions.
    either-or are correlative conjunctions, connecting the phrases by your words and by your actions.
  • Dyke proofread his resume both quickly and carefully.
    both-and are correlative conjunctions, connecting the adverbs quickly and carefully.