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What are conjunctions?

It's time for the next part in my word class blog series. This post will be all about conjunctions, what they are and how to use them...

To put it simply, conjunctions are words that join sentences/clauses together or coordinate words in the same sentence.

Here are a few examples:

  • I'm wearing my coat because it's cold.

  • I like coffee but I don't like tea.

  • I went out for lunch and had a coffee.

However, it does get a little more complicated. Just like every other word class, there are more than one type of conjunction (please note that depending on the role it plays in a sentence, a word can belong to more than one type of conjunction.

The three types of conjunctions:

Coordinating Conjunction

Words that join two clauses together, the most common ones are:

and, but, or, for, yet, nor, so...

It's important to note that in this instance, the two clauses must be able to exist on their own too.


I wasn't hungry, but I still ate my dinner.

It's important to study or you could fail.

I went to the zoo and saw a zebra.

In some cases (like now), you can remove the 'I' from the sentence when joining the two clauses together.

Subordinating Clauses

A word that connects a clause that adds additional information to a sentence, the most common ones are:

although, because, when, however, since, until, though, as, where, after, if, unless...

It's important to note that subordinating clauses don't always fall in the middle of two clauses.


I went to bed early because I was tired.

Since you're early, you should eat with us.

Don't come back until you've finished.

Correlative Conjunctions

More complicatedly, these are used in pairs to join alternatives or equal elements.

either, or, neither, but, also, not only, nor, than, rather, both, such, hardly...

As I said, these conjunctions work in pairs, which means they don't necessarily sit in the middle of two clauses. Sometimes they can fall at the beginning or end of a sentence too.


Not only did he work all day yesterday, but today too.

Either you or I can do it.

It was such a big job that everyone had to help.

Conjunctions are extremely important when it comes to building sentences. However, it's important not to get too wrapped up in them as you don't actually need to know what type of conjunction it is. As long as you're using them correctly and your sentence is complete, then you can use whichever type you'd like to.


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