Coordinating, subordinating and correlative conjunctions are all used to link phrases and clauses in a sentence. They increase our ability to string words and phrases together and produce more meaning and complexity in our writing. After a quick review of the three types of conjunctions, try our conjunction exercises to bring it all together.
In English, conjunctions are classified as coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions or correlative conjunctions. They’re necessary to create complex sentences, compound sentences, or to join multiple ideas or actions together. Using the right conjunction is essential to making your meaning clear.
Coordinating conjunctions join words or ideas together. For example, if you stated that you like chicken and fish, “and” is acting as a coordinating conjunction. It joins the two nouns in question together: chicken and fish. There are seven coordinating conjunctions in English, which are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. These seven coordinating conjunctions can be remembered by using the acronym FANBOYS. You can use them to create compound nouns, compound adjectives, compound sentences, and more.
Subordinating conjunctions join independent and dependent clauses together. The subordinating conjunction indicates the relationship between clauses, such as time place, cause, or effect. It also shows that the less important idea in the sentence is included in the dependent clause (or subordinate clause) compared to the independent clause.
Common subordinating conjunctions include: after, because, if, since, than, though, until, whether, while, when. For example, in the sentence "George went fishing after he finished his work," the subordinate clause is "after he finished his work." That is less important than the main clause, which is "George went fishing."
Correlative conjunctions link sentence elements that go together. They always come in pairs, including:
not only/but also
Using correlative conjunctions, here’s another example of conjunctions at work: I like not only chicken but also fish.
Conjunction exercises can help you learn how conjunctions are used. Let’s roll up our sleeves and test your knowledge. The answers to each question are explained below the sentences.
How do you know which conjunction to use? Challenge yourself to select the only conjunction that would work in the following sentences.
The weather in Texas is hot, ____ it's known to get cold there as well.
____ it rains on Sunday, I will not be able to drive.
I like dogs a lot ____ they're so friendly.
Amber doesn't have a ride, ____ Pearl will have to take her home.
Neither my mother _____ my father will be able to attend the party on Sunday.
Is that conjunction coordinating, subordinating or correlative? See how well you know your types of conjunctions with these sample questions. Decide which of the three types of conjunctions is used in each sentence.
- I'd like to go to the movies, but there's nothing good playing.
- Jeanne can read lips if she's looking right at you.
- Either stop talking to your friends or move your seat.
- We won't know how well Dad is doing until his lab tests come back.
- Tony wanted to make a new recipe, yet he also wanted to order pizza.
Once you finish the sample conjunction exercises above, click on the printable worksheet to download a full conjunction practice page. It includes a full answer key as well as several conjunctions exercises.
Check your conjunction skills to see if you identified the correct answers to the conjunction exercises presented above.
How did you do on the sample sentences? Check your answers below and see if you chose the correct conjunctions.
The weather in Texas is hot, but it's known to get cold there as well.
If it rains on Sunday, I will not be able to drive.
I like dogs a lot because they're so friendly.
Amber doesn't have a ride, so Pearl will have to take her home.
Neither my mother nor my father will be able to attend the party on Sunday.
Could you name the types of conjunctions? See how well you did with the answers below.
Coordinating: But brings two equally important ideas together.
Subordinating: If introduces the subordinate clause.
Correlative: Either is always followed by or.
Subordinating: Until introduces the subordinate clause.
Coordinating: Yet connects two equally important ideas.
Choosing the right conjunction can really make your concepts come together. However, conjunctions are just one part of a sentence that you'll need to master when learning or practicing English. Keep working on your sentence parts with these adjective worksheets for elementary and middle school. You can also refresh your grammar knowledge with a quick lesson on the different parts of a sentence.