English Conjunctions | Types of Conjunctions

A complete guide to English conjunctions: grammar rules and examples.

What is a Conjunction?

In grammar, an English conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, phrases or clauses together. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a “conjunction” should be defined for each language. In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle, and it may or may not stand between the items it conjoins.

The definition can also be extended to idiomatic phrases that behave as a unit with the same function as a single-word conjunction (as well as, provided that, etc.).You can use a conjunction to link words, phrases, and clauses, as in the following example:

  • 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 English Conjunctions

There are three types of conjunctions: Coordinating Conjunctions, Correlative Conjunctions and Subordinating Conjunctions.
English Conjunctions | Types of Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

You use a coordinating conjunction “for,” “and,” “nor,” “but,” “or,” “yet” or “so” to join individual words, phrases, and independent clauses. If a clause can stand alone as a sentence, it is an independent clause.

An easy way to remember these six conjunctions is to think of the word FANBOYS. Each of the letters in this somewhat unlikely word is the first letter of one of the coordinating conjunctions.

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction is a word which joins together a dependent clause and an independent clause. A subordinating conjunction introduces a dependent clause and indicates the nature of the relationship among the dependent clause(s) and the independent clause(s).

The most common subordinating conjunctions in the English language include afteralthough, asas far asas ifas long asas soon asas thoughbecausebeforeeven ifeven thoughevery timeifin order thatsincesoso thatthanthoughunlessuntilwhenwheneverwherewhereas, wherever, and while.

NOTE:

What is a dependent clause? It is a unit which contains a subject and a verb. For example, “It was raining” is a dependent clause; the subject is “it,” and the verb is “was raining.” A dependent clause is a clause which cannot exist on its own; it needs a independent clause to go with it.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions which work together to coordinate two items. They always appear in pairs. This means that you use them to link equivalent sentence elements.

There are many different pairs of correlative conjunctions:

  • either…or
  • not only…but (also)
  • neither…nor
  • both…and
  • whether…or
  • just as…so
  • the…the
  • as…as
  • as much…as
  • no sooner…than
  • rather…than

Technically speaking, correlative conjunctions consist simply of a coordinating conjunction linked to an adjective or adverb.

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