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.
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).
Let’s take a look at some sentences with coordinating conjunctions:
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:
Here's a list of some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:
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.
Let's take a look at some examples:
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:
While coordinating conjunctions join parts of sentence that are similar, subordinating conjunctions often shows a contrasting or unequal relationship.
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.
Similar to coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions joins similar grammatical parts of a sentence (parts of speech + parts of speech; phrase + phrase; clause + clause).