A conjunction is the glue that holds words, phrases and clauses (both dependent and independent) together. There are three different kinds of conjunctions––coordinating, subordinating, and correlative––each serving its own, distinct purpose, but all working to bring words together.
Coordinating conjunctions are what come to most people’s minds when they hear the word “conjunction.” They can join together words, phrases and independent clauses. There are seven of them, and they’re easy to remember if you can just remember FAN BOYS:
Learn more about coordinating conjunctions.
A subordinating conjunction always introduces a dependent clause, tying it to an independent clause. In contrast to coordinating conjunctions, a subordinate conjunction can often come first in a sentence. This is due simply to the nature of the relationship between the dependent and the independent clause. In English, there are lots of subordinating conjunctions, but the most common ones are "after," "although," "as," "because," "before," "how," "if," "once," "since," "than," "that," "though," "until," "when," "where," "whether," and "while." Here are a few examples of how subordinating conjunctions are used:
Learn more about subordinating conjunctions.
Correlative conjunctions are sort of like tag-team conjunctions. They come in pairs, and you have to use both of them in different places in a sentence to make them work. They include pairs like “both/and,” “whether/or,” “either/or,” “neither/nor,” “not/but” and “not only/but also.”
Learn more about correlative conjunctions.
Now that you know what a conjunction is, how many different kinds there are and how they’re used, you can make all manner of compound and complex sentences, but whether you’re using them for work or play, just make sure you use them for good and not for evil.
Create and save customized word lists. Sign up today and start improving your vocabulary!