What is a conjunction?
A conjunction is a part of speech that connects. It can connect sentences, clauses, groups of words, or two individual words.
- Sometimes a conjunction is a single word: because, and, so, but, etc.
- Other conjunctions consist of two or more words: neither . . . nor, either . . . or, so that, etc.
We divide conjunctions into three types: coordinating, subordinating and correlative.
The seven coordinating conjunctions are so, and, but, or, yet, for, nor.
A coordinating conjunction joins words, groups of words, or clauses, and gives them equal importance:
- I like summer, but I don’t like winter.
- Do you prefer summer or winter?
- He’s been working all day, so he’s very tired.
See more examples and a full explanation: Coordinating conjunctions: but, so, or, . . .
A subordinating conjunction connects a main (independent) and subordinate (dependent) clause. The clause beginning with a subordinating conjunction is always the subordinate clause, which depends on the main clause and cannot exist without it.
Common subordinating conjunctions include:
|because, so that, as, since||to express cause or reason|
|before, after, until, when, as soon as, whenever, while||to express time|
|unless, if, even if, in case, providing||to express condition|
|although, even though, whereas||to express contrast or concession|
See more examples: Subordinating conjunctions: if, before, until, although, . . .
Correlative conjunctions are pairs. They connect balanced clauses, phrases or words. The elements which they connect are usually similar in structure or length.
|either . . . or||We can go to either Greece or Spain for our holiday.|
|both . . . and||Both rugby and football are popular in France.|
|not only . . . but also||Not only is he a professional footballer, but he’s also a successful businessman.|
|neither . . . nor||Neither Norway nor Switzerland is in the EU.|
|not . . . but||There are not two but three Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.|