When studying English grammar you are likely to come across the conjunction, but what is it’s purpose? In this article, we are going to take a look at what exactly a conjunction is and how it can be used within a sentence. We are also going to take a look at some examples of conjunctions being used in a sentence as a way to gain a greater understanding of their function.
What is a Conjunction?
A conjunction is a word which is used to link thoughts and ideas within a sentence. You might think of them as being ‘the glue’ of the phrase. Without the use of a conjunction, you would not be able to express your thoughts and ideas in a manner which flows. Your sentences would be forced into being simple and concise. Let’s take a look at an example. Consider the following sentence.
- The girl is pretty and kind. She has blonde hair with green eyes and she is wearing a blue jacket on top of a white t-shirt.
You can see how the words highlighted in bold (the conjunctions) bring each of the ideas together to create a flowing sentence. Without the use of a conjunction, the wording would be much more different.
- The girl is pretty. The girl is kind. She has blonde hair. She has green eyes. She is wearing a blue jacket. She is wearing a white t-shirt.
This does not sound as audibly appealing and uses far too many words and sentences, making it impractical. It is important to make sure that when you are using conjunctions that you make sure that they are consistent, for example:
- He runs quickly and gracefully
- He runs quickly and graceful.
The first sentence is consistent and therefore correct, the second sentence is not.
Generally, what is a conjunction? In grammar, English conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, phrases or clauses together. You can use a conjunction to link words, phrases, and clauses, as in the following examples:
- The park is empty now, but it will be filled with children after school.
- You can stay on the bus until you reach London.
Types of Conjunctions with Examples
Learn a useful list of conjunctions in English with different types and example sentences. As with various forms of English grammar, there is more than one type of conjunction, we are now going to take a look at each type in a litter more detail.
The coordinating conjunction is a way of joining phrases, clauses and words together which have an equal rank, grammatically speaking. There are many coordinating conjunctions, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently used ones.
When most people think of conjunction, these are the words that will spring to mind. Let’s take a look at some examples of these conjunctions being used within a sentence.
- I would like a hamburger or a chicken burger for my dinner.
- She needed to be somewhere quiet, so she took her bag and went to the park.
- My parents never had much money when I was growing up, but they managed somehow.
It is worth noting that, as we see in the above examples, when a conjunction is being used to join two independent clauses, a comma is used before the conjunction.
A subordinating conjunction can be used to join dependent and independent clauses. This type of conjunction can be used as a way of showing case and effect relationships between two clauses or a contrast, as well as various other relationships which might occur. Let’s now take a look at some of the most frequently used subordinating conjunctions.
Notice that some of the above examples are adverbs-these can commonly function as a subordinating conjunction as a way of linking the two thoughts. A good example of this is the sentence ‘Cinderella could stay at the ball until the clock struck midnight.’ The independent clause, which is the first part of this sentence could be used as a standalone phrase, however the dependent clause cannot and so the use of the conjunction connects it to the first thought and causes it to make sense. That being said, it is important to remember that when using a subordinating conjunction, it must become a part of the dependent clause, whether that comes before or after the independent clause. Look at the following example where the clauses are switched. The subordinating conjunction still stays with the dependent clause.
- Until the clock struck midnight, Cinderella could stay at the ball.
- Let’s look at some further examples of this:
- Before she leaves, ask her to say goodbye
- Ask her to say goodbye before she leaves.
You will notice that when the dependent clause starts the sentence, a comma is used to separate the two clauses.
Common subordinating conjunctions List:
Than, rather than, whether, as much as, whereas, that, whatever, which, whichever, after, as soon as, as long as, before, by the time, now that, once, since, till, until, when, whenever, while, though, although, even though, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, where, wherever, if, only if, unless, provided that, assuming that, even if, in case (that), lest, how, as though, as if, because, since, so that, in order (that), that, as …
The correlative conjunction is one which is used in a pair. They are used as a way of relating one sentence to another and one of the golden rules of a correlative conjunction is that they must be equal in a grammatical sense. For example, when using the correlative conjunction of both/and, if a noun comes after the word both, one must also come after the word and.
Examples of correlative conjunctions are as follows;
- not only/but also
- just as/so
- as much/as
- no sooner/than
We are now going to take a look at some examples of correlative conjunctions being used within a sentence.
- I do not like either the blue ones or the red ones.
- Neither my brother nor my sister live with my parents anymore.
- I went not only to China but also to Mongolia.
- I’m not sure whether he will become a teacher or a doctor when he is older.
Using A Conjunction To Start A Sentence
It is a common misconception that a conjunction cannot be used to start a sentence, but as we have seen, a subordinating conjunction can be used at the start of a sentence provided a comma is used to separate the two clauses.
You may also use a coordinating conjunction to begin a sentence. However, it is important to do this sparingly as using too many conjunctions at the start of sentences can make your speech or writing sound weak.
A conjunction is a way of linking together two thoughts or ideas in the same sentence. They are a useful device for avoiding the use of repetitive and choppy, short sentences and cause your speech and writing to flow.