Conjunctions are the words we use to link two (or more) words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.

The most well-known conjunction, these connect two elements that are considered equal parts of a sentence. The mnemonic device FANBOYS can help you remember them:

For (reason or explanation)
And (additional item or idea)
Nor (additional item or idea)
But (contrast or exception)
Or (alternative item or idea)
Yet (contrast or exception)
So (consequence)

NB: the words FOR, YET, and SO can also act as other parts of speech.

Why does it matter?
Some teachers, editors, and style guides maintain the rule of not beginning a sentence with a coordinating conjunction.

These conjunctions join a subordinate (dependent) clause to a main (independent) clause. Examples include although, as, because, before, even though, since, so, unless, etc.

NB: many of these conjunctions can also function as other parts of speech.

Why does it matter?
Subordinating conjunctions help vary sentence length and structure, which may be the best tool a writer can use.

Like coordinating conjunctions, these word pairs join two equal parts of a sentence, for example: either/or; neither/nor; not only/but (also); rather/than; etc.

Why does it matter?
With correlative conjunctions, everything must be equal. A sentence like “Sasha both walked to the store, and Stacy ran a race” doesn’t work. Since the conjunction “both” is placed after the subject “Sasha” she has to be the subject of both verbs.

Any questions?

Read more of my Grammar Guide.


Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s