Conjunction - An Overview

What is a Conjunction?

A conjunction is a word class that joins clauses together. Conjunctions not only join clauses together; they also show how the meanings of the two clauses are related.  

What are the Types of Conjunctions?

Most grammar books classify conjunctions into two types: coordinators and subordinators. Other references add another type: correlatives. Below is the preview of each type: 

1. Co-ordinating Conjunctions

This type of conjunction joins pair of clauses that are independent or equal in grammatical rank. Co-ordinating conjunctions (coordinators) connect two equal and independent ideas. Clauses joined by coordinators are called independent clauses.

  • Examples: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so (FANBOYS)

2. Subodinating Conjunctions

When one idea is more important than another, or is inherently dependent on it, subordinating conjunctions (or subordinators) are used to link them into a sentence. Majority of all the conjunctions are subordinators. In grammar, clauses that follow subordinators are called dependent clauses.

  • Examples: after, although, as, as if, as long as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, in order that, inasmuch as, lest, now that, once, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, till, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, while

3. Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words used to join sentence elements of equal importance (similar to the function of coordinators). The only difference between coordinators and correlatives is that the latter comes in pairs. 

  • Examples: Either...or, Both...and, Nor...neither, Not (only)...but

Each type of conjunctions will be fully explained in subsequent lessons. 

Note: Conjunctive adverbs relate clauses or sentences by showing comparison, contrast, cause-and-effect, sequence, and other kinds of relationships just like true conjunctions. Note, however, that conjunctive adverbs are different from real conjunctions in how they position themselves in sentences, and in the kind of punctuation they require. 

References:

  • English Plain and Simple by Jose A. Carillo (The Manila Times Publishing Corp., 2008)
  • Practical English Usage by Michael Swan (Oxford University Press, 2009)

 

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