Conjunctions: How to Use Them



A conjunction is a word in the English language that makes it easy for you to convey a complex idea. Since it connects or links other words, clauses, and phrases together, conjunction makes it easier to convey meaning in a sentence.
For example, instead of saying,
I like shopping. I like new things. I don’t like carrying bags.
Conjunctions combine the three sentences into the single thought;
I like shopping and new things, but I don’t like carrying bags.
Let’s take an-depth look at what conjunctions are and how you can use them to make your writing and communication better.

What Are the 4 Types of Conjunctions?

To make it easier to understand how conjunctions work, we divide them into four different types. The four types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and adverbial conjunctions.
Let’s take a look at each type with examples on how they are used.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinative conjunction is used to connect two sentence elements that have the same grammatical value. They connect words with words, phrases with phrases, sentences with sentences, and clauses with clauses.
There are several commonly used coordinating conjunctions including and, but, for, or, nor, yet and so. The following are examples of how you can use coordinating conjunction;

Examples of Coordinating Conjunctions

John and James like to run together in the morning. (connecting words with words)
I like shopping and visiting with friends on the weekends. (connecting phrases with phrases)
Jane will be late to meet you for she has a doctor’s appointment. (coordinating clauses with clauses)
Rachel didn’t think she could have made that souffle. Yet, she was able to win the baking competition for her team. (coordinating sentences with sentences)

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions join two clauses of unequal value. In other words, they connect a dependent clause with an independent clause to convey an idea.
This subordinating conjunctions list shows the most commonly used subordinating conjunctions after, although, as, as if, as though, because, before, how, if, since, so, that, until, when, where, whether, while, then, although and though.

Examples of Subordinating Conjunction

The following are some examples of how to use subordinating conjunctions to connect a dependant clause (a subordinate clause) to an independent clause (the main clause);
Jerry drew his gun before shooting (“shooting” is the dependent clause)
Although it was freezing outside, the two boys still wanted to play.  (“it was freezing outside is the” dependent clause)
I could not go to work today because of the injury to my elbow. (“could not go to work” is the dependant clause)
Although he wanted to stay home, he knew he needed to meet his friends. (“he wanted to stay home” is the dependant clause)

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are used to connect two words, phrases, sentences, and clauses in a comparative or contrasting manner.
The most common correlative conjunctions include either-or, neither-nor, both and, whether-or and not-only-but also.

Examples of Correlative Conjunction

The following are some examples of correlative conjunctions and how they work to relate one idea to another;
That singer has neither the skill nor the talent to play that guitar.
The politician was both shrewd and calculating in dealing with those striking workers.
You can either refrain from using copyrighted materials or you will be prosecuted.
He is not only an amazing vocalist but also an extraordinary guitarist.   

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are a lot like coordinating conjunctions in that they both connect an independent clause to another independent clause. But conjunctive adverbs usually come after a semicolon and are always followed by a comma.
The most common conjunctive adverbs used in the English language include also, accordingly, consequently, finally, besides, however, nevertheless, otherwise, still, on the other hand, in contrast, then, therefore, even though and likewise.

Examples of Conjunctive Adverbs

Here are a few examples of the correct way to use conjunctive adverbs to connect independent clauses to other independent clauses:
James has a manual for most common TVs; otherwise, he would not have the technical knowledge to fix them.
Lucy did not take any proceeds from the bake sale; instead, she donated everything to the homeless shelter.
I have always saved my money; in contrast, my sister is a spendthrift who is always broke.
The police saw the bank robbers running to their car; however, they were not able to engage them in time to stop their escape.

Can You Start a Sentence with a Conjunction?

It is a common misconception that you can’t start a sentence with a conjunction. But subordinating conjunction can be used to start a sentence if the dependent clause (subordinate clause) comes before the independent clause (main clause), since subordinating conjunction connects a dependant clause to an independent clause.
You can also correctly start a sentence using a coordinating conjunction. In fact, this is a good way to add emphasis to the sentence.


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