Conjunctions are short words that connect phrases, clauses or sentences together so we don’t speak or write in choppy sentences. We’ve all been told as kids, “No ifs, ands or buts!” Turns out, these are all conjunctions that help us form more elegant sentences. With our worksheets and resources, let’s meet at the conjunction junction and break down this most important part of speech.
Learn More About Conjunctions
If nouns, verbs and adjectives do the heavy lifting in a sentence, conjunctions serve as the bridge that link our thoughts together, allowing us to form more complex sentences. Consider this sentence: “I like to cook and eat delicious meals, but I don’t like to clean up the kitchen afterwards.” Without the use of the conjunctions “and” and “but,” we would have to say three short sentences: “I like to cook.” “I like to eat delicious meals.” “I don’t like to clean up the kitchen afterwards.” Conjunctions help our thoughts flow more seamlessly.
Three Types of Conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions: Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases and clauses of equal grammatical rank in a sentence. Examples: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. (There are seven coordinating conjunctions and can be memorized by the mnemonic device “FANBOYS.”)
“I love pizza and hamburgers, but I hate hot dogs.”
Correlative Conjunctions: Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together. They are always used in together and denote equality. Examples: either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also
“Not only did she win the competition, but she also set a new record.”
Subordinating Conjunctions: Subordinating conjunctions link a dependent clause to an independent clause. They signal a cause-and-effect relationship, a contrast or some other kind of relationship between the clauses. Examples: Because, since, as, although, though, while, whereas
“He failed the exam because he didn’t study hard enough.”
While conjunctions are often found in the middle of the sentence, you can start sentences with them. A subordinating conjunction can begin a sentence if the dependent clause comes before the independent clause: “Because I didn’t get enough sleep, I fell asleep in class.” You can also begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction to add emphasis: “Go to bed! And don’t forget to brush your teeth.”