Conjunctions – Definition, Types & Practice Sheet

16.09.22 Parts of speech Time to read: 8min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


Conjunctions-01

Conjunctions are fundamental components of the English language, serving as essential connectors to join words and clauses within sentences. Understanding and correctly using them is a critical aspect of mastering language rules. These small but mighty words enable us to create complex sentences and improve the flow of your academic writing. In this article, we’ll explore the primary types and demonstrate how they enhance the coherence of our communication through examples.

Conjunctions in a nutshell

Conjunctions are words used to connect clauses or sentences within the same clause.

Definition: Conjunctions

In English grammar, certain words are used to link together clauses and words within the same clause to make complete sentences. These linking words serve to provide coherence and flow to language, especially to academic writing. The English language has numerous joining words, but the most common ones include: when, and, because, or, if, and for. They act as glue that holds together the different parts of our language, ensuring that our communication is smooth and effective, instead of simple and choppy.

There is also a famous animated musical called “Conjunction Junction” performed by popular American artists, such as Jack Sheldon, which was featured in a “Schoolhouse Rock” episode in the 1970s. It’s a series of short videos that demonstrate various songs designed to teach multiplication, tables, grammar, science, American history, and environmentalism through music.

Examples

  • She had to seek other options because she had damaged the vessel.
  • The tours in Texas and Boston were postponed due to her illness.
  • I wanted to go for a walk after work, but it started raining.

Types of conjunctions

There are three major types of conjunctions in the English language: correlative, coordinating, and subordinating conjunctions. All three will be explain below, together with numerous examples and a fourth type that often gets forgotten.

Correlative (or paired) conjunctions are coupled, as they work in pairs to grammatically connect words or phrases that have equal elements. Common correlative pairs include: either & or, neither & nor, both & and, and whether & or. You don’t have to place a comma when using correlative conjunctions.

Examples

  • Substance abuse leads to both physical dependence and psychological addiction.
  • The research focused not only on climatic factors but also on genetic influences.
  • Participants could choose either the online survey or the paper questionnaire.

It’s vital to use a parallel structure for both sentence elements when using correlative conjunctions. This means the two components should have a similar grammatical form.

Example

He aimed to gather data by using either surveys or personal interviews.

 He aimed to gather data by using either surveys or conducting personal interviews.

In English grammar, these seven words connect phrases, words, or independent clauses of equal importance. They can be easily memorized with the acronym FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Coordinating conjunctions can connect two verbs, phrases, adjectives, nouns, or any other type of word. When it comes to using a comma with fanboys, you should not use it when they link dependent clauses.

Examples

  • I’m not too fond of traveling or yoga.
  • She bit her tongue and cried vehemently.
  • You can find him in the cafeteria or at the local community center.

An independent clause is a clause that stands on its own and still creates a complete thought. When a coordinating conjunction joins two independent clauses, place a comma before it. In the sentence below, you can notice that these two sentences can still make sense alone, yet seem more sophisticated when they’re connected to one another.

Example

  • Today, Smith & Industries is the leading industrial manufacturer, yet most people don’t know of its existence.
  • Today, Smith & Industries is the leading industrial manufacturer. Most people don’t know of its existence.
Conjunctions-coordinating-fanboys

These words are mainly used to connect an independent clause with a dependent one, showing the relationship between them: While there are more subordinating conjunctions, there’s an acronym to help you remember them: SWABI as in since, when, after, because, and if. Dependent or subordinate clauses are words that contain a subject and a verb, but can’t make a complete sentence on their own, which is why they must have an independent clause.

Sentence type Example
Dependent clause Because I had work to do the next morning.
Independent clause I had to sleep early.
Complete sentence I had to sleep early because. I had work to do the next morning.

You may have noticed that you don’t place a comma when the subordinating conjunction follows an independent clause. However, it would be beneficial to put a comma after the dependent clause when the subordinating conjunction begins a sentence, as seen in the example below.

Example

  • Because I had work to do the next morning, I had to sleep early.

Subordinating conjunctions help define the type of relationships between the clauses. Here are some of these words and the relationships they help express:

Relationship Conjunctions
Cause and effect as, since, because
Time after, before, once, while, whenever, since, when
Place where, wherever
Condition in case, if, unless
Contrast though, although, whereas
Conjunctions-subordinating-swabi

Conjunctive adverbs are words or phrases that connect two complete thoughts. They can be used to indicate a connection between two independent clauses, link the ideas in two or more sentences, or show a relationship between them. Unlike coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs are typically followed by a semicolon or a period.

There’s a helpful mnemonic to remember them: THAMO as in therefore, however, also, meanwhile, and otherwise. However, there are many others, such as finally, consequently, indeed, thus, hence, etc. When it connects two independent clauses in one sentence, it is vital to place a semicolon before it, and a comma after it.

Examples

  • She wanted to go to the concert; however, she had to work late.
  • The project was completed on time; moreover, it was under budget.
  • He didn’t study for the exam; therefore, he didn’t pass.

While conjunctive adverbs typically appear at the beginning of a clause, they can also be placed in the middle or at the end for emphasis and set off by commas, though this is less common. This can be illustrated in the example sentences below.

Examples

  • The weather forecast predicated sunshine. It did rain, however.
  • She missed several meetings. Thus, she was not considered for the promotion.
  • The deadline for the test is tomorrow. It will be, otherwise, considered late.
Conjunctions-adverbs-thamo
Conjunctions-list

Below, we have provided a PDF document that encompasses all types of conjunctions.

Conjunctions & Examples
Download
Use the final format revision to perfect your thesis
Revise your thesis formatting one last time with our futuristic 3D preview function before sending it to print. It gives an accurate virtual representation of what the physical outcome will resemble, so the final product meets your expectations.
Ireland
Ireland

“That” as a conjunction

The term “that” has several functions in the English language, such as a relative pronoun, and an informal adverb, just to name a few. An important use of “that,” is to insert a specific type of dependent clause, also known as a noun clause, within an independent clause. These noun clauses can serve as the subject or object of a reporting verb (found, reported, argued, claimed, etc.) to introduce a paraphrase, summary, or quotation, which can be seen in the example sentences below.

Subject = gray, bold; verb = underlined; object = italics, blue

Examples

  • The scientists hypothesized that the results would differ under different conditions.
  • Jones (2018) argued that the new theory explains the phenomenon more accurately.
  • She claimed that she had never seen the document before.

An easy way to figure out that the “that” clauses act as direct objects, is to rephrase these sentences into questions. The answer is the direct object.

  • What did the scientists hypothesize?
  • What did Jones (2018) argue?
  • What did she claim?

The majority of academic writers choose to keep “that” for clarity, when it introduces a noun clause, as omitting it can cause unnecessary confusion.

Cultural & linguistic variations

While the concept of conjunctions is universal, their usage and forms can vary significantly across different languages. Understanding these cultural and linguistic variations can provide more profound insights into how different languages construct meaning and coherence in communication. Below, you’ll find numerous examples from languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, and German.

Coordinating

English: “and”

Spanish: “y”

French: “et”

German: “und”

Italian: “e”

English: “but”

Spanish: “pero”

French: “mais”

German: “aber”

Italian: “ma”

Subordinating

English: “because”

Spanish: “pero”

French: “parce que”

German: “weil”

Italian: “perché”

English: “although”

Spanish: “aunque”

French: “bien que”

German: “obwohl”

Italian: “sebbene”

Correlative

English: “either…or”

Spanish: “o…o”

French: “soit…soit”

German: “entweder…oder”

Italian: “o…o”

English: “neither…nor”

Spanish: “ni…ni”

French: “ni…ni”

German: “weder…noch”

Italian: “né…né”

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

To test your skills, we have provided a practice worksheet for you below that gives you several conjunction options from which you can choose from, but not all of them are correct. Pick the correct one and fill in the blanks, the answers can be found in the second tab.

  1. He wanted to join the team, ____ he missed the registration deadline. (or / and / but)
  2. The task seemed simple, ____ it took hours to complete. (if / yet / because)
  3. The course covers ____ theoretical ____ practical aspects. (both, and / neither, nor / as much, as)
  4. She forgot her umbrella, ____ she got soaked in the rain. (so / while / since)
  5. They listened to music ____  they cleaned the house. (where / while / whenever)
  6. She enjoys painting, ____ she often creates new artwork. (but / unless / and)
  7. He likes food that is ____ sweet ____ sour, preferring spice. (either, or / both, and / neither, nor)
  8. He hasn’t decided ____ to apply for the job ____ continue his studies. (whether, or / if, or / unless, or)
  9. You won’t get better ____ you practice regularly. (if / unless / but)
  10. ____ I appreciate your help, I need to do this on my own. (whenever / when / while)
  1. He wanted to join the team, but he missed the registration deadline. (or / and / but)
  2. The task seemed simple, yet it took hours to complete. (if / yet / because)
  3. The course covers both theoretical and practical aspects. (both, and / neither, nor / as much, as)
  4. She forgot her umbrella, so she got soaked in the rain. (so / while / since)
  5. They listened to music while they cleaned the house. (where / while / whenever)
  6. She enjoys painting, and she often creates new artwork. (but / unless / and)
  7. He likes food that is neither sweet nor sour, preferring spice. (either, or / both, and / neither, nor)
  8. He hasn’t decided whether to apply for a job or continue his studies. (whether, or / if, or / unless, or)
  9. You won’t get better unless you practice regularly. (if / unless / but)
  10. While I appreciate your help, I need to do this on my own. (whenever / when / while)
Design and print your thesis!
Our printing services at BachelorPrint offer US students a practical and cost-effective way for printing and binding their theses. Starting at just $ 7.90 and FREE express shipping, you can sit back and feel confident.

FAQs

They are crucial in writing and speech as they…

  • connect ideas smoothly
  • clarify the relationship between different parts of a sentence
  • improve the flow and coherence
  • help in avoiding short, choppy sentences by combining ideas

Without these words, you would likely express your complex thoughts using multiple simple sentences, which might be ineffective.

Yes, however, one must be a subordinating one (although, after, because, since, etc.) and the other a coordinating one (yet, so, nor, but, etc.).

Example

  • She slipped and fell into the waters, but not because she was intoxicated.

Examples for subordinating conjunctions are: because, although, since, if, while, after, before, when, unless, and though.

Examples for coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, or, nor, for, yet, and so.