Conjunction (abbreviated CONJ or CNJ) is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a “conjunction” must 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 may also be extended to idiomatic phrases that behave as a unit with the same single-word conjunction (as well as, provided that, etc.).
List of Conjunctions
They may be small words, but conjunctions are highly functional and very important for constructing sentences. As you can see in the first sentence I used the coordinating conjunction “and” to link different parts of the sentence, which is the main job of conjunctions. Basically, conjunctions join words, phrases and clauses together. This article provides a brief overview of the different types of conjunctions and their function in sentences.
And, But, Or, Nor, For, Yet, So
The words above are called coordinating conjunctions. They join words, phrases, or independent clauses of a sentence together. The word coordinate (verb) means “of the same order or importance; equal in rank.” So, coordinating conjunctions often link similar grammatical parts of a sentence together (i.e. parts of speech + parts of speech; phrase + phrase; clause + clause).
- On Friday night we watched TV and a movie.
- We went to the park, but we did not have time for the museum.
- She has to work late tonight, so she cannot make it to party.
- Let’s meet at the beach or in front of the hotel.
As you can see from the above examples coordinating conjunctions come in between the individual words, phrases, and independent clauses they are joining.
In the sentences above:
- “and” is between two nouns
- “but” is between two independent phrases
- “so” is between two independent phrases
- “or” is between two prepositional phrases
Here’s a list of some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:
After, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, while
Subordinating conjunctions join an independent clause (contains both a subject and a verb and can act as a complete sentence) and a dependent clause (also contains a subject and a verb, but is not a complete sentence). Basically, dependent clauses cannot exist on their own; they need to be joined to an independent clause. Subordinating conjunctions do just that. The word subordinate (adjective) means something of lesser or unequal value, which also gives you a clue about its position in a sentence in relation to an independent clause.
They went running (independent clause), although it was very hot (dependent clause).
We decided to take a couple of French classes this summer (independent clause), since we could not go away on vacation (dependent clause).
Monica went to law school in New York, while her brother went to law school in California.
Subordinating conjunctions always come at the beginning of a dependent clause. It’s important to note, however, that dependent clauses can sometimes (not always) come before an independent clause. We could write the above sentences this way:
Although it was very hot, they went running.
Since we could not go away on vacation (dependent clause), we decided to take a couple of French classes this summer (independent clause).
While her brother went to law school in California, Monica went to law school in California.
While coordinating conjunctions join parts of sentence that are similar, subordinating conjunctions often shows a contrasting or unequal relationship.
Both / and, not only / but also, either / or, neither / nor, whether / or
Correlative conjunctions come in pairs. The word correlative (adjective) means a similar relationship of some kind. Thus correlative conjunctions join similar concepts in a sentence together.
We talked both to her parents and her doctor.
Jason not only speaks Chinese, but also Japanese and Korean.
You can have either pie or a cake.
She neither liked the hotel nor the restaurant.
Everything depends on whether he gets the teaching job in June or the one in September.
Similar to coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions joins similar grammatical parts of a sentence (parts of speech + parts of speech; phrase + phrase; clause + clause).
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