Coordinating Conjunctions

Conjunctions primarily help in connecting or joining words, phrases, clauses or sentences. There are primarily two kinds of Conjunctions:

1.  Co-ordinating Conjunctions

2.  Subordinating Conjunctions

Co-ordinating Conjunctions are those words which join two words, phrases, clauses and sentences of equal rank and syntactic importance.

· They are also termed as Co-ordinators and render equal significance to a pair of main clauses.

· They may join two verbs, two Nouns, two Adjectives, two phrases or two independent clauses.

There are seven Co-ordinating Conjunctions, which are easily recalled by the acronym FANBOYS:

For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet and So.          


Rules for Using Co-ordinating Conjunctions:

1.       One common perception amongst patrons ofEnglish Grammar is that one must not begin one’s sentences with Co-ordinating Conjunctions. The reason being that teachers wish to dissuade students from writing fragmented sentences which sound incoherent if not read in the proper context.

However, it is a commonly held myth that they are grammatically incorrect since grammatically there is nothing wrong in starting the sentence with a Co-ordinating Conjunction as long as:

i.                     It is followed by a main clause immediately.

ii.                   To be used sparingly in order to create effect.

ii.                   Usually if co-ordinating conjunctions are used to begin sentences, commas are not brought into play.


·         I love him from the core of my heart. But I have burned my bridges and cannot go back to him.


2. Co-ordinating Conjunctions are most commonly used to join two words whether be it Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives or Adverbs.


·         The children hopped and skipped all over the newly built park.( Verbs)

·         Would you like tea or coffee for drinking? (Adjectives)

·         The Taj Mahal looks as grand and imposing as ever. (Adjectives)

·         Slowly but steadily, she moved forward to present her case.(Adverbs)


3.       And’ ‘Or ‘ are also used to join the final elements in a series of choices with commas delineating the rest.


·         I love the red, white, orange and lilac coloured flowers.

·         I can opt for either the mauve, lilac or lavender shaded curtain for my living room.


4.       Conjunctions join two phrases in a sentence.


·         He seemed poor but honest.

·         He is rich yet humble.


5.       Conjunctions join two Clauses:

Co-ordinating conjunctions are extremely useful in joining two clauses, so called because they can exist as Independent sentences on their own. However, they sound more in sync when joined using appropriate Co-ordinating Conjunctions.


·         I know him. He is my neighbor. He is an accomplished doctor. He is unassuming in nature.

·         I know him for he is my neighbor. He is an accomplished doctor, yet so unassuming in nature.

Features of Co-ordinating Conjunctions:

·         They are the most common of all Conjunctions and they perform an integral function in a sentence of bringing together in cohesion seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts in a logical, coherent manner.

·         They eliminate the need to write separate, long, obtuse sentences and bring brevity, crispness and conciseness in writing.

F (For):               Used to denote the purpose or reason.

Example:             I visit my hometown every year for I wish to stay connected to my roots.

A (And):               Used to add two things

Example:             I like to read and write in my spare time.

N (Nor):               Used to present two negative alternatives.

Example:             I neither like apples nor oranges.

B(But):                  Show Contrast.

Example:             He is poor but honest.

O(Or):                   Presents two positive alternatives or choices.

Example:             I would like either teaor coffee.

Y(Yet):                  Presents a contrasting idea to the original sentence.

Example:             He is rich yet unassuming.

S(So):                    Presents the result , consequence or effect.

Example:             I like to keep myself fit, so I stay active.

English Grammar and Composition

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