English Grammar Part 5: Conjunctions

Level: Basic
Time taken to Complete: 200 minutes


English is a complicated language.  It’s rather annoyingly difficult in many respects, and somewhat simplified in others.  Many people have difficulty with English spelling.  The grammar has it’s ups and downs, but here is some help. This series is for those who would like to brush up on or learn about grammar and grammar terminology.

Here we will talk about Conjunctions.  There are three types of conjunctions: Coordinating, Correlative, and Subordinating.  Conjunctions joins some phrases, words, and clauses.  First we might want to define what a clause is.  A clause is a complete thought and needs a subject and a verb.  Most clauses are called Independent, meaning they can stand alone, and in some cases they are Dependent, meaning they cannot stand alone.  More examples will come up later when we go over certain conjunctions.  Remember that there only a limited amount of conjunctions (although there are conjunctive phrases sometimes).

The first type of Conjunction is Coordinating.  The most common of this kind are And, But, and Or.   And is the basic connector.  If you can replace it with “in addition to” then and is the best conjunction.  In sentences like, “The boy ran to the store and he decided to get gum.”  It is also used in listing, like “He needs to get toilet paper, toothpaste, razors, and deodorant.”  But is more for a contrary instance or begins to show a contradiction.  “I wanted to go to the mall, but I don’t have a ride.”  Or is used to show a case of options or possibilities.  “John or Billy will win the championship.”
Other coordinating conjunctions are nor, yet, for, and so.

Then there are Correlative Conjunctions.  These come in pairs, because it involves an duel element.  Examples include phrases like Either…or,  Both…and, and Neither…nor.  These phrases involve combining an early element with a standard conjunction.  Sentence like “Either Kelly or Betty will be leaving for Cornwall soon.”  and “I know that both the dog and the cat like to sleep in their master’s bed.”

The last kind of conjunction is Subordinating Conjunctions.  These conjunctions combine dependent clauses with independent ones.  Some of these are after, once, if, although, and because.  Some traits of these clauses involve the fact that the dependent clause can move from the beginning of the sentence to the end as well.  Some examples are “Once I finish school, I’m going to become a cop.”  “I’m going to become a cop once I finish school.”  “Because he likes harsh sounds, he loves the bagpipes.”  “He loves the bagpipes, because he likes harsh sounds.”

Relative clauses which are formed from relative pronouns.  They are a form of subordinating conjunctions.  However they are listed and spoken of in the Pronoun section.