English Conjunctions

Conjunctions are the ‘joining words’ of a language. A sentence is broken up into parts and joined together as a whole by using these connecting words of the English language.

Conjunctions help to make a sentence flow smoothly by joining phrases and clauses, showing the relationship between connected ideas.


Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses. Some common coordinating conjunctions are:

and, but, or, however, while, yet, so.

For example:

The man ate the sandwich, but he did not want the cake.

The cat ran around in the garden, however, it could not run very quickly.

The children want to go to the park and the zoo at the weekend.


In this first example, ‘The man eats the sandwich’ is the first clause in the larger two part sentence. The second clause is ‘he does not want the cake’. The conjunction (or connecting word) used here is ‘but’.

In the second example, the conjunction word connecting the two clauses is ‘however’.

In the third example, the coordinating conjunction used here is ‘and’.


Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are used to connect two clauses when one clause is dependent on the other. Some common subordinating conjunctions are:

because, unless, since, until, that, although, as if/though, as much as.

For example:

The woman was famous because she had written a successful book.

This is the book that I chose for Mary’s present.

The boy watched the film, although he did not enjoy it.


In this first example, the clause ‘The woman was famous’ depends on the clause ‘because she had written a successful book’.

In the second example, the second clause ‘I chose for Mary’s present’ is dependent on the first clause ‘This is the book’.

The third example has ‘he did not enjoy it’ dependent on ‘the boy watched the film’.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that must be used together as a pair. For example:

either/or, neither/nor, both/and, rather/than, whether/or

For example:

Neither Jacob nor Laura could open the gate without falling over

I want either roast chicken or roast lamb for dinner

She would rather go to Italy than France on holiday this summer

He didn’t know whether to wear the red shirt or the blue one


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