Conjunctions are parts of speech that connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating, paired, and subordinating. Conjunctions are called joining words. 

What are the Types of Conjunctions?

There are four categories of conjunctions:

  • Coordinating conjunctions (or, and, but)
  • Correlative conjunctions (and/or, not only/but also)
  • Subordinating conjunctions (since, because, when)
  • Conjunctive adverbs or transition words (however, therefore)

Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect words or phrases that serve the same grammatical purpose in a sentence. These join the elements that are the same, or of the same importance. There are seven main coordinating conjunctions in English, which form the acronym FANBOYS:

F: for: The teachers were frustrated, for the school had cut funding for all enrichment programs.*
A: and: In this course, I will write a literature review, a case study, and a final paper.**
N: nor: The students did not complete their homework, nor did they pass the test.
B: but: The study is several years old but still valuable to this study.
O: or: At the end of the class, the students can choose to write an essay or take a test.
Y: yet: The patient complained of chronic pain, yet she refused treatment.
S: so: I have only been a nurse for one year, so I have little experience with paper charting.

* “For” is rarely used as a conjunction in modern English.
** When the conjunctions “and” and “or” connect three or more words or phrases, use a serial comma to separate items in the series.

How do you use commas in fanboys?

The fanboys operate under two basic rules: (1) when the fanboys connect two ideas that could each be a sentence on its own, then we put a comma in front of the fanboys, and (2) when the fanboys do not connect two ideas that could each be a sentence, then we do not put a comma in front of the fanboys.

  • I would go for a walk, but it is snowing outside.
  • I bow to man, for I am not sheep.
  • I wanted to learn English, and I didn’t want to live in the cold, so I chose Miami instead of New York for my student exchange program.

Paired Conjunctions

Paired conjunctions consist of two words or phrases that help make a point or establish alternatives. Although paired conjunctions can be helpful in structuring a sentence, they can also make sentences wordier than necessary, so use these conjunctions sparingly.

  • both…and
    • The project will require significant investments of both time and money.
    • Both the students and the teachers were satisfied with the pilot program.
      • Note: When two subjects are connected by “both…and,” use a plural verb (such as “are” or “were”).
  • not only…but also
    • Students who did not complete the assignment received not only a poor grade but also a warning from the teacher.
    • Not only did the student include full sentences from the source without using quotation marks, but he also failed to properly cite paraphrased material.
  • either…or
    • Either the students were unprepared or the assessment was poorly written.
    • Participants in the survey could either choose from a list of possible answers or write in their own responses.
  • neither…nor
    • Students who did not complete the project received neither praise nor rewards.
    • The staff neither followed the new policy nor asked for clarification.

Examples of Parallel Construction

“Between” and “And”

We debated the difference between the weather in Minnesota in the winter and the weather in Minnesota in the summer.

“Both” and “And”

The films were enjoyable both to watch and to discuss.

“Neither” and “Nor”; “Either” and “Or”

Neither the responses to the questionnaire nor the responses to the survey were answered.

“Not Only” and “But Also”

It was surprising not only that the house sold but also that it sold well over the asking price.

Parallel Construction in a List

Sentences with lists require particular attention to parallel construction.

Example 1:

This paper will address No Child Left Behind benchmarks, effective teaching strategies, and multimedia instructional aids.

Now, the list has parallel elements (benchmarksstrategies, and aids are all plural nouns).

Example 2:

The students were under-prepared, poorly behaved, and disruptive.

Now, the list has parallel elements (“under-prepared,” “behaved,” and “disruptive” are all adjectives).

Subordinating Conjunctions

It joins the dependent adverb clause with the independent clause. Understand it this way, instead of joining two independent clauses of equal importance, Subordinating conjunction words make one clause less important than another.

Subordinating conjunctions join a subordinate clause to a main clause and establishes a relationship between the two.

There are two ways to structure a sentence using a subordinating conjunction:

  1. Main clause + subordinate clause
    • The teacher administered the test after giving instructions.
    • The author must avoid bias if she wants to maintain a scholarly tone.
    • I will turn in this assignment at midnight whether or not I complete it.
  2. Subordinate clause + , + main clause
    • After giving instructions, the teacher administered the test.
    • If she wants to maintain a scholarly tone, the author must avoid bias.
    • Whether or not I complete this assignment, I will turn it in at midnight.

There are many subordinating clauses, but here are some of the most common:

Subordinating Conjunction WordsSentences – Conjunction Examples
AfterShe went to the parlor after lunch.
AlthoughAlthough the sun was shining it wasn’t warm.
AsShe can do her hairstyle as she wants.
As ifHe behaved as if he has lost it.
As long asThe dog would be cooperative as long as you fed him.
As much asHe likes football as much as he likes cricket.
As soon asAs soon as I get the details I will send the mail.
As thoughThe virus is spreading as though it will end the world.
BecauseHe did the task because he felt it was his duty.
BeforeThe baby sleeps before the massage.
EvenHe has never even heard the name of the city of Ohio.
Even ifEven if you perform your best, you won’t be appreciated.
Even thoughShe doesn’t want to give up even though she knows it won’t better the relation.
HowI don’t like how you look at her.
IfThey will party in the garden if the weather is good.
If onlyShe will feel better, if only she sees her son for a moment.
If thenIf it rains then we will be stuck in traffic.
In order to/thatShe will leave the party early in order that I get a cab.
Just asIt began to rain just as we got home.
LestHe spent whole days in his room, wearing headphones lest he disturbs anyone.
NowBoston is now a big city while earlier it was a small town.
Now sinceLet’s discuss the issue now since the manager is right here.
Now thatNow that everything is under control, the lockdown can be lifted.
OnceOnce I pick you up from school we can go to the restaurant.
ProvidedHe will behave properly provided you be polite to him.
Provided thatI will go to the party provided that she comes.
Rather thanBetter, ignore her questions rather than lie.
SinceIt’s a long time since they met.
So thatHe joined foreign language classes so that he could learn French.
SupposingHe was bluffed into believing his competitors were not prepared.
ThanThe old man lived for more than 100 years.
ThatThe yellow building you are seeing there, that is my house.
ThoughThough they were whispering, their voices echoed in the hall.
TillShe waited at the coffee shop till 11 pm.
UnlessHe will not buy you a scooter unless you score good marks.
UntilYou will not get a driving license until you turn 18.
WhenWhen is your mother coming from Italy?
WheneverPlease share the details of your friend, whenever you get time.
WhereWhere is the bakery store?
Where isIf Ram is with this girl, where is his wife?
WhereasThe north has a hot climate whereas the south is cold.
WhereverEat healthy meals wherever possible.
WhetherShe seemed undecided about whether to stay or go.
WhichWhich is your favorite flavor?
WhileHe was my interim while I was away from the office.
WhoDo you know the person who broke into your home?
WhoeverWhoever wins will get a cash prize.
WhyWhy do people litter?

Conjunctive Adverbs

These are also called transition words. They join sentences or words or phrases just like words on the standard conjunction list can. A few examples of such type include; in addition, as a result, however, hence, etc.

Transitional words such as “however” and “therefore” can also function as conjunctions:

  • The authors agreed on the prevalence of the problem; however, they disagreed on the problem’s cause.
  • Several employees complained about the new policies, and therefore, the manager held an all-staff meeting to address their concerns.