We use “and, but, or, so” in our everyday sentences. But have you ever wondered what these words are called? And why are they used in a sentence? These words are conjunctions. They play a very crucial role in our sentences. In this article you will learn about conjunctions, their uses, different types and fascinating examples.

What is a conjunction?

A conjunction is a part of speech used to join words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. It plays a significant role in constructing meaningful sentences. There are a number of conjunctions with different meanings. The most commonly used conjunctions are and, but, or, so, for, yet, because. 

Examples of conjunctions:

She wanted to go to the party, but she was feeling tired.

Rahul and Rohit scored good marks in exams.

What would you like to have cake or ice-cream for dessert?

She passed the exam because she studied hard.

I like to swim and my brother likes to play soccer.

I read poems and short stories.

Where do we use conjunctions? 

In English grammar, conjunctions have several purposes. They connect words, clauses, and phrases to form a meaningful sentence. Below are the functions of conjunctions:

  • Connecting two words Conjunctions connect two similar words in a sentence. For example, “bread and butter”, “Siya and Riya”, “water bottle and tiffin”, etc. 
  • To join two clauses- They also join clauses to frame compound and complex sentences.

Conjunctions connect two independent clauses to form a compound sentence. For example- “My father is an engineer and my mother is a teacher”.   

Conjunctions also connect a dependent and an independent clause to form a complex sentence. For example- “Although it was raining, we went for a walk.”

  • To join two phrases They associate two different phrases. Example – “She is clever but also kind”. 
  • To express two alternatives Conjunction presents two choices like -“tea or coffee”, “jeans or skirt”.
  • To join two contrasting statements- Conjunction joins two contrasting statements like “She is thin but strong.”, “He studied hard for exams but failed in it.”
  • To express reason– It expresses a reason for something. Example- “She couldn’t attend the party because it was raining outside.”

Where can we place a conjunction in a sentence?

Conjunction can be placed at various positions within a sentence. It depends on the function they perform. Here are some common placements for conjunctions:

  • Beginning of a sentence– we can use them at the start of a sentence. It serves to add additional information. 

Here is a list of conjunctions used in the beginning of a sentence: however, although, consequently, additionally, moreover, therefore, furthermore, on the other hand, etc. 

Ex- However, I will still attend the meeting.

Nevertheless, he decided to pursue his dreams.

On the other hand, she was interested in building her career in dance.

 

  • Middle of a sentence- When conjunctions connect two clauses, phrases or words, it is placed in the middle of a sentence.

Example- My hobbies are dancing and swimming.

I like to eat burgers but I don’t like to have pizza.

Either we can take a taxi or we can take a bus.

 

  • End of a sentence- Conjunction is used in the end to connect clauses and phrases. 

Ex- “She doesn’t like coffee; she prefers tea, though.”

“We went to the beach; it started raining, though.”

Types of Conjunctions

  • Coordinating conjunction

Coordinating conjunctions connect two words, phrases or clauses. They can connect two similar or contrasting clauses. Coordinating conjunctions contain only one word. So, they are also known as single word conjunctions.

There are 7 coordinating conjunctions. An acronym used for these coordinating conjunctions is “FANBOYS”.

FANBOYS:

F- For

A- And

N- Nor

B- But

O- Or

Y- Yet

S- So

Uses of Coordinating Conjunctions

  • AND

 Coordinating conjunction “And” is commonly used in our conversations. It is mainly used for joining two similar words or sentences. There should be something common between them.

For example- Riya and Siya are playing basketball.

In this example, “Riya” and “Siya” are joined by using conjunction “and”. It is because they both are similar in playing basketball.

Likewise, there are more such examples:

I read and write every day.

Dancing and singing are my hobbies.

I like to read fictional and romantic novels

 

  • But

This coordinating conjunction attaches two contrasting phrases or clauses.

For example- She is thin but strong.

I wanted to buy this dress but didn’t have enough money.

He studied hard for exams but couldn’t score good grades.

Rohit is good in English but not well in Maths.

 

  • Or

 It presents two alternatives before someone. When someone has to choose any one option.

For example– What would you like to have tea or coffee?

Which color should I select for a dress, red or blue?

What would you like to eat pizza or burger?

What do you prefer the most, cheese or butter? 

 

  • For

It provides a reason for something. It connects two independent clauses to present a justification for the previous statement.

For example- I bought vegetables, for make a new dish.

I packed the bags for the upcoming trip.

She cooked dinner for the guests arriving at dinner.

I bought a gift for my friend’s birthday today. 

 

  • So

It expresses the consequence or result of something. So connects the first statement with its result in the second statement.

For example- It started raining so we grabbed all the clothes from outside.

It was my exam today, so I studied all night. 

I wasn’t satisfied with my job, so I decided to quit.

I was completing some urgent work, so I arrived late to the party.

 

  • Yet

It is used to denote contrast between two independent clauses.

For example- She was exhausted, yet she continued her work.

He is hardworking, yet he always fails to achieve his goal.

Rahul is a fast runner, yet he was defeated in the race.

Correlative conjunction

Correlative conjunctions are multi-word conjunctions. They are pairs of words which connect two clauses of equal importance. They perform various functions:

  • Correlative conjunctions present alternative options.
  • They are also used to denote negation of alternatives.
  • They help to add extra information.
  • These conjunctions introduce conditional statements.

Some commonly used correlative conjunctions are: 

Either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, both….and, No sooner…than.       

Either…or This correlative conjunction presents a choice between two alternatives.  You can select any one option between the given two. 

ExampleEither you can travel by bus or you can travel by train.

Either you can have tea or you can have buttermilk.

Either she can buy jeans or she can buy a skirt.

 

Neither….nor- It denotes that both the alternatives are not applicable. It presents two negative options.

Example- She likes neither tea nor coffee.

She neither likes to travel nor to watch movies.

Neither the dog nor the cat wanted to go out in the rain.

 

Not only…but also- It highlights two points in a sentence in which both are significant. It adds another element in a given element. 

Example- She is not only beautiful but also intelligent.

He not only reads novels but also writes them.

He not only studies English but also French.

 

Both…..and– It combines two elements that are expressing the same idea.

Examples- Both cat and dog are living together.

She is both a painter and a musician.

He enjoys both playing football and basketball.

 

No sooner…..than– This conjunction expresses that one event happens immediately after another.

Example- No sooner I left the house than it started raining.

No sooner had he arrived than the train left the station. 

No sooner he finished his song than the audience began to applaud. 

 

Whether….or- It introduces a condition where only one option is applicable from the given two possibilities.

Example- I am not sure whether she will like it or not.

I don’t know whether he will attend the party or not.

She has to decide whether to go for a movie or to stay at home. 

 

As…as- It compares two equal qualities. 

Example- She is as beautiful as a flower.

He is as cunning as a fox.

My grandmother is as cool as a cucumber.

Subordinating conjunction

The subordinating conjunction joins a dependent and an independent clause together. It indicates that two clauses are dependent on each other. Some commonly used subordinating conjunctions are: 

although, because, if, since, until, unless, while, etc. 

Example- If you hurry, we will miss the train.

I don’t know whether he will attend the party or not.

Although it was difficult, he managed to complete the task.

She couldn’t attend the meeting because of urgent work.

 

There are several subordinating conjunctions that serve specific purposes. Here is the list of subordinating conjunctions with their functions:

To express time:

After: After he finished his work, he went home.

Before: She brushed her teeth before going to bed.

When: I’ll call you when I arrive.

 

  • To designate reason

Because: I stayed home because I felt sick.

Since: Since it’s raining, we should stay indoors.

As: As she was tired, she decided to take a nap.

 

  • To express a condition

If: If you study hard, you will pass the exam.

Unless: I won’t go out unless it stops raining.

For: I bought a gift for him to show my appreciation.

 

  • Result:

So: I was running late, so I had to take a taxi.

Therefore: He missed the train, therefore he was late for work.

Thus: She forgot her passport, thus she couldn’t travel.

 

  • Place:

Where: This is the place where we first met.

Wherever: I’ll follow you wherever you go.

 

  • Contrast:

Although: Although it was cold, he went outside without a jacket.

Even though: Even though she was tired, she went for a run.

Though: Though he studied hard, he didn’t get a good grade.

 

  • Purpose:

So that: I bought an umbrella so that I wouldn’t get wet.

Are conjunctions and connectors the same?

Conjunctions and connectors are approximately similar. They both are used to join words, phrases, clauses and sentences. They are used to establish relationships between these elements. But there is a slight difference between conjunctions and connectors:

Conjunctions have a limited scope while connectors have a wide scope.  Connectors can be a variety of words or phrases that connect different parts of text. Some commonly used connectors are- Meanwhile, on the other hand, to illustrate, in conclusion, etc. 

Example of connectors:

He loves chocolate; on the other hand, his sister prefers vanilla.

The heavy rain caused flooding, and as a result, many roads were closed. 

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