A conjunction is a word that connects other words or groups of words. There are many kinds of conjunctions.  

In the sentence ‘Bob and Dan are friends’ the conjunction and connects two nouns and in the sentence ‘He will drive or fly’, the conjunction or connects two verbs.  In the sentence ‘It is early but we can go’, the conjunction but connects two groups of words.

Conjunctions are words used as joiners.

There are two types of conjunctions, but in order to use them correctly, we must first understand the role each type plays within the structure of a sentence.

Learning how to use conjunctions correctly, you can improve the quality of your written communications.


  1. Coordinating Conjunctions
  2. Subordinating Conjunctions
  • Coordinating conjunctions   join equals to one another:

            Words to words,          phrases to phrases,          clauses to clauses.


for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so


word to word                  Players must have energy and stamina.

phrase to phrase            Students shall do their class work in the classroom or in the garden

clause to clause             What you say and what you do are two different things.

Coordinating conjunctions go in between items joined, not at the beginning or end.

The Seven Different Coordinating Conjunctions

There are seven coordinating conjunction: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so; and they’re used to connect words, clauses, or phrases of equal grammatical weight. For example, they might be used to connect two or more nouns, phrases, independent clauses, phrases, etc. They also establish certain relationships:

  • And = means addition
  • Or = establishes positive choice
  • But = means contrast
  • Nor = establishes negative choice
  • Yet = shows contrast
  • So = shows results
  • For = shows reason

Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions

Tom and Sue got married on April Fool’s Day. (Two nouns)

In football match player attack and defend. (Two verbs)

Tom wanted to devote all his time to writing, so Sue worked two full-time jobs. (Two clauses)

On vacations, students shall play or go for travel.  (Two phrases)

Kinds of Coordinating Conjunction:

  1. Cumulative or copulative conjunction
  2. Adversative conjunction
  3. Disjunctive or alternative conjunction
  4. Illative conjunction.
  1. Cumulative or copulative conjunction

A cumulative conjunction joins two statements of facts.

  1. He came to me and asked for alms.
  2. They were both shocked and grieved to hear the news.
  3. He is misled as well as you.


  1. Adversative conjunction

Adversative conjunction expresses opposition or contrast between two statements.

  1. He was rich but not contented.
  2. He was all right; only he was fatigued.
  1. Disjunctive or alternative conjunction

Disjunctive or alternative conjunction expresses a choice between two alternatives.

  1. He must participate or he will be fined.
  2. Either you should pay or work for it.
  3. Neither is he hard working nor is he resourceful.


  1. Illative conjunction

                                                            Illative conjunction expresses an inference (result).

  1. He will be rewarded, for he is trustworthy.
  2. They are liked, for they are good.
  3. He was guilty; so he was punished.

Punctuation Note:

  • When a coordinating conjunction joins two words, or phrases, no comma should be placed before the conjunction.     
  • A coordinating conjunction joining three or more words, or phrases creates a series and requires commas between the elements.

Words:          peanuts, cookies, and milk.

Phrases:       in the mountains, at the beach, or by the lakeside.        

A coordinating conjunction joining two independent clauses creates a compound sentence and requires a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

          Ex_   Tom ate all the peanuts, so Phil ate the cookies.

                         I don’t care for the beach, but I enjoy a good vacation in the mountains.                                                                                                                    

  • Subordinating Conjunctions

    joins a clause to another on which it depends for its full meaning.

They happen at the beginning of a sentence (with a comma in the middle separating the clauses) or in the middle of a sentence without comma.

  1. I shall help you if you need my help.
  2. I read the paper because it interests me.

Subordinating conjunctions also join two clauses together, but in doing so, they make one clause dependent (or “subordinate”) upon the other.


A subordinating conjunction may appear at a sentence beginning or between two clauses in a sentence.

Punctuation Note:
When the dependent clause is placed first in a sentence, use a comma between the two clauses. When the independent clause is placed first and the dependent clause second, do not separate the two clauses with a comma.

  After – later than the time that : later than when.
Example: “Call me after you arrive at work”

Although – despite the fact that : used to introduce a fact that makes another fact unusual or surprising.
Example: “Although she was tired, she couldn’t sleep”

As – used to introduce a statement which indicates that something being mentioned was known, expected, etc.
Example: “As we explained last class, coordinating conjunctions are sentence connectors”

Because – for the reason that.
Example: “I painted the house because it was a horrible colour”

Before – earlier than the time that : earlier than when.
Example: “Come and visit me before you leave”

How – in what manner or way.
Example: “Let me show you how to knit”

If -used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true.
Example: “It would be fantastic if you could come to the party”

Once – at the moment when : as soon as.
Example: “Once you’ve learnt how to cycle, it’s very easy”

Since – used to introduce a statement that explains the reason for another statement.
Example: “Since you’ve studied so well, you can go outside and play”

Than – used to introduce the second or last of two or more things or people that are being compared — used with the comparative form of an adjective or adverb.
Example: “My sister is older than I am”

That – used to introduce a clause that states a reason or purpose.
Example: “Olivia is so happy that it’s summer again”

When – at or during the time that something happened.
Example: “A teacher is good when he inspires his students”

Where – at or in the place that something happened.
Example: “We went to the bar where there most shade”

While – during the time that something happened”
Example: “While we were in Paris, it snowed”

Until – up to the time or point that something happened”
Example: “We stayed up talking until the sun came up

Kinds of subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are of nine types depending on their meaning.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of time

  E.g.  1.  We went after you left.                      2. It was done before we wanted it


  1. Subordinating conjunction of place

 E.g.  1.  You may go wherever you like.      

   2. I searched where I was asked to.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of reason

 E.g. 1. I shall do it because I like it.              

    2. We did not go out as it was raining.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of manner g.

    1. Teachers teach students how to behave.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of purpose

E.g.   1. We eat that we may live.
2. The farmer manures well so that he might get a rich crop.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of result or consequence

E.g. 1. It was so clear that all could understand it.        2.  It rained so heavily that all tanks breached.             

  1. Subordinating conjunction of condition

 E.g. 1. You should do it whether you like it or not.      2.  If you agree I shall accompany you.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of comparison

E.g.  1. She is intelligent as we were told.                      2.  You are latter than I.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of concession

E.g.  1.  Though he is ill, he has come.                              2.  He is strong although he is old.


  • Correlative Conjunctions
  • Compound Conjunctions

Correlative(s)/ Conjunction: Either-or, neither-nor, both-and etc are conjunctions used to surround words/phases that are closely related to each other.

These are the primary correlative conjunctions in English:
both . . . and,   either . . . or,   neither . . . nor,   not . . . but,   not only . . . but also,   as . . . as,                  just as . . . so,     the more . . . the less,   the more . . . the more,   no sooner . . . than,   so . . . as,  

whether . . . or


  1. Either take it or leave it.
  2. It is neither useful nor ornamental.
  3. We both love and honor him.
  4. Wrong way: He not only visited Agra, but also Delhi.
  5. Correct way: He visited not only Agra, but also Delhi.

Compound Conjunctions:

Compound conjunctions come as phrases, where several words together act as joiners.


  1. The notice was published in order that all might know the facts.
  2. I will forgive you on condition that you do not repeat the offence.
  3. Such an act would not be kind even if it were just.

Note: Coordinating conjunctions usually form looser connections than other conjunctions do.


Peter was late in the class, and his teacher cut his marks.         (Very loose)

Peter was late in the class, so his teacher cut his marks.           (Loose)

Because Peter was late in the class, his teacher cut his marks.

(The subordinate conjunction because creates a tighter link between the two ideas.)

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