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What Are Conjunctions?

“She is smart. She is friendly. She is talented.”

These sentences seem okay on their own, yet they seem a little repetitive, don’t they?

How about we use the word ‘and’? “She is smart, friendly, and talented.” Better, right? 

The word ‘and’ is just one of the conjunctions that we can use in the English language to join parts of speech together, thus making our sentences easier to understand. 

There are a lot of conjunctions, and they function differently, too. If you want to know more about conjunctions, please continue reading. 

Conjunctions – What Are They?

A conjunction is a word or phrase that joins two or more words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. 

Conjunctions are used to connect related ideas in writing and speech and make sentences shorter, less repetitious, and less confusing. 

Conjunctions are divided into three categories: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. Each has a different purpose, but they all work to connect words.

What are the Functions of Conjunctions?

Knowing the meaning of conjunctions is not enough. You also need to understand how they function so you will know which one to use. 

Here are the different conjunctions with their functions and some example sentences. 

1. Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions unite words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence that have the same grammatical rank. 

Short and choppy sentences can be put together to form longer lines with coordinating conjunctions. To remember the different coordinating conjunctions, you can memorize the mnemonic FANBOYS

Coordinating ConjunctionsFunctionExamples
forExplains the purpose and reasons “She goes to church every Sunday for she is a devout Christian.” 
andAdds something to something else“She plays the violin and the piano.” 
norProvides an alternate unfavorable idea to one that has previously been voiced“My aunt does not eat meat nor does she eat fish.” 
butDisplays contrast“I was looking for a purse but bought a perfume instead.”  
orProvides a choice or an alternative“Would you like a new phone or a new laptop?” 
yetIntroduces a counter-argument that logically follows the preceding idea“He knew it was hot, yet he touched it.” 
soDenotes an effect, a result, or a consequence“He was hardworking, so he got the promotion.” 

2. Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunction always presents a dependent clause, connecting it to an independent clause. 

A dependent clause is a group of words that cannot be employed to form a complete sentence on their own.

An independent clause, on the other hand, an independent clause can function as a complete sentence on its own.

Subordinate conjunctions, unlike coordinating conjunctions, can often appear first in a sentence.

Because of the nature of the dependent and independent clause’s relationship, this is the case. 

Subordinating conjunctions are divided into six categories based on their meaning and functions: time, concession, comparison, cause, condition, and place.

  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Time 
  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Concession
  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Comparison
  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Causes
  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Conditions
  • Subordinating Conjunctions for Places
  • Correlative Conjunctions

a. Subordinating Conjunctions for Time 

Time-related conjunctions specify when the main clause will or will not be performed.

Examples of Sentences 
after“My dad will pick me up at school after he goes to the supermarket.”
as soon as“Her tears started rolling down her cheeks as soon as she saw her parents.”
as long as“They won’t get lost as long as they have the GPS.”
before“He raised his hand before she could speak.” 
onceOnce the rain stops, we will go.” 
still“They have been together for more than fifty years now and still look very in love.”
then“I removed the lid, then I poured some water.” 
until“He kept on praying until he couldn’t hear the sounds anymore.” 
whenWhen you reach home, please call me.” 
whenever“I go fishing whenever I am not busy.” 
while“He was eating while watching television.” 

b. Subordinating Conjunctions for Concession

Concession conjunctions help to redefine the main clause by adding context about the delivery circumstances. 

Concession conjunctions emphasize an action that occurred despite an impediment or hindrance.

Examples of Sentences 
although“It could still happen, although the chances are slim.”
as though“She looked at him as though he had done something wrong.” 
even thoughEven though I am not feeling well, I went to work.”

c. Subordinating Conjunctions for Comparison

Comparative conjunctions, on the other hand, aid in the establishment of correlations by providing context for comparison.

Examples of Sentences 
in contrast to “She eats alone in contrast to the other students who prefer to eat in groups.” 
just as “My teacher taught me just as she would teach her own kids.”  
though “I love the beach, though I prefer the mountains better.” 
whereas“My brother is good at painting, whereas my brother excels in sports.”
while“My dad is a pediatrician while my mom is a dermatologist.” 

d. Subordinating Conjunctions for Causes

Cause conjunctions reveal the reason(s) for which a main clause’s actions were carried out.

Examples of Sentences 
as“She did not go jogging this morning as it was raining.”
because“I was late because my alarm went off.”
in order that“She needs to leave early in order that she could catch the bus.”
since“I bought the dress since it was on sale.”
so that“She moved to the city so that she doesn’t have to commute for two hours every day.”

e. Subordinating Conjunctions for Conditions

Condition conjunctions establish the conditions under which the main clause operates. 

In conditional sentences, subordinate clauses are frequently placed first, but they are still dependent on the main phrase and cannot exist without it.

Examples of Sentences 
even if“The party will start even if you are not there.”
ifIf you get a perfect score in your exam, I will give you extra allowance for this week.”
in case“You need to bring extra clothes in case we have to stay longer.” 
provided that“I will go with you provided that we will come back before 6 in the evening.”
unless“He won’t stop crying unless his mom buys him that toy!”

f. Subordinating Conjunctions for Places

Place conjunctions are used to specify where activities may take place.

Examples of Sentences 
where“The little girl stayed where her mom told her to stay.”
wherever“I will go wherever the crowd will go.”

g. Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that work together in a sentence.

They connect items that are different or equal.

Examples of Sentences 
as…as“The dog was as big as a tiger.”
as much…as“Teaching is as much a passion as a profession for her.”
both…andBoth my brother and my sister are sympathetic to my condition.”
either…or“I need a dress that is either black or white.” 
just as…soJust as many Canadians love hockey, so many Americans love football.” 
neither… norNeither the guard nor the police was informed of the incident.”
not…but rather“He gave his money not to those who would benefit him, but rather to those who need it.” 
not only…but alsoNot only was it embarrassing, but it was also humiliating.” 
rather…than “I would rather watch movies at home than go bowling on a weekend.” 
whether…orWhether you admit it or not, I saw you sneaking out last night.”

What are the Grammar Rules of Conjunctions?

While there are a lot of conjunctions and each function differently from the others, conjunctions are not too difficult to utilize appropriately for the most part.

There are, however, some guidelines to follow.

1. When using a coordinating conjunction to unite two words or phrases, do not use a comma.

“She loves to read fiction, and non-fiction books.”“She loves to read fiction and nonfiction books.”
“I usually play basketball, or tennis during weekends.”“I usually play basketball or tennis during weekends.”

2. Put a comma before the conjunction when joining two independent sentences.

“I would love to go walking with all of you but I am late for work.”“I would love to go walking with all of you, but I am late for work.”
“I will leave the two of you now so you can settle your differences.”  “I will leave the two of you now, so you can settle your differences.”  

3. A comma is rarely required when subordinating conjunction precedes an independent sentence.

In general, do not use a comma when the dependent clause contains crucial information about the independent phrase.

“You will realize how friendly she is if you give her a chance.” “You will realize how friendly she is if you give her a chance.”
“My parents and I were busy preparing for the party, while my sister was out running errands.”   “My parents and I were busy preparing for the party while my sister was out running errands.”    

4. Put a comma at the end of the dependent clause when the subordinating conjunction is at the beginning of the phrase.

“When you consult with your doctor tell him how you feel.” “When you consult with your doctor, tell him how you feel.”
“Even though I am younger than you are you have to listen to me.”   “Even though I am younger than you are, you have to listen to me.”   

5. Because a dependent clause does not represent an entire thought, it must always be paired with an independent clause.

“Because she woke up late this morning. She went to work without having breakfast.”“Because she woke up late this morning, she went to work without having breakfast.”


“She went to work without having breakfast because she woke up late this morning.”
“I hurriedly dialed 911. When I heard voices of men in the kitchen.”“I hurriedly dialed 911 when I heard voices of men in the kitchen.”


“When I heard voices of men in the kitchen, I hurriedly dialed 911.” 

6. Since conjunctions make sentences easier to understand, put them where they will make sense. 

“The shop has closed but she went to buy some food.” “She went to buy some food but the shop was closed.”
“You tell me what is inside unless I will not open the box.” “I will not open the box unless you tell me what is inside.”  

7. You may use more than one conjunction in a sentence.

Just remember that coordinating conjunctions link independent clauses together while subordinating conjunctions link subordinate clauses to independent ones.


  • “I tried to persuade my mother and father that I was innocent, but my strategy backfired when my younger brother and sister both told them that I was the one who shattered the window.”
  • “I had no goal of becoming wealthy, but opportunities appeared to present themselves when I was about to give up, and I wasn’t about to pass them up.”

Are Conjunctions Important in Academic Writing?

The use of appropriate conjunctions is extremely important in English grammar. It establishes a professional connection between two words, sentences, or phrases.

The majority of the time, we are unable to recognize our conjunctions error, thus giving our readers a negative perception of our writing.

Conjunctions are vital in conveying the entire thought of the spoken or written language as a part of speech. Conjunctions are important since they help to make every phrase logical and understandable.  

The overuse of conjunctions may detract from the sentence’s meaning. Though they are considered part of speech, they should not be used excessively to impress others. 

Complex sentences are the exception rather than the rule. The more basic a statement is, the easier it is for others to understand what you’re saying. 

Common Mistakes in Conjunctions

Conjunctions are employed to create sentences with cohesion and coherence in the text.

If the conjunction is missing, the message will have an illogical meaning. 

Because conjunctions play such a crucial part in English grammar, this section intends to uncover students’ typical faults in conjunction usage and explore the types of errors that occur most frequently in the use of conjunctions. 

1. Before interrogatives such as ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘whether’, and ‘’why’, do not use the relative pronoun ‘that’.

“My mom asked that why I was late.” “My mom asked why I was late.” 

2. We just use one conjunction to connect two sentences, rather than two.

“When I reached the venue then everyone had left.” “When I reached the venue, everyone had left.” 

3. Inverted word order is used when a negative statement appears at the beginning of a sentence.

The auxiliary verb appears in front of the subject if this is the case.

Only the auxiliary verb has been flipped. The remainder of the verb follows the subject.

“No sooner she found out the plan than she told everyone in the class.”   “No sooner did she find out the plan, than she told everyone in the class.” 

4. If you use the word ‘unless’, it also means ‘if…not.’

As a result, using another ‘not’ in a statement containing ‘unless’ is incorrect.

“Unless you do not prepare and study well, you will not pass the exams.” “Unless you prepare and study well, you will not pass the exams.”


“If you do not prepare and study well, you will not pass the exams.”

5. To introduce instances, the phrase ‘such as’ can be used, not ‘such that’. 

“My doctor advised me to eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C such that pineapple, kiwi, mango, and papaya.” “My doctor advised me to eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as pineapple, kiwi, mango, and papaya.” 

6. Because the conjunction ‘because’ suffices to connect two phrases, the word ‘therefore’ is unnecessary.

“Because she was late, therefore we left without her.” “Because she was late, we left without her.” 

7. When the second clause contains information that is unexpected or unanticipated, the word ‘but’ should be used instead of ‘and’.

“She told the police what happened and they did not believe her.” “She told the police what happened but they did not believe her.” 

8. ‘Than’ is employed after comparative adjectives and adverbs, and not ‘that’ or ‘as’.

“She is taller that I am.” 

“He is smarter as I am.” 
“She is taller than I am.”

“He is smarter than I am.”  

Are Conjunctions Challenging for Students?

The use of conjunctions may be challenging to students as there are a lot of them, and sometimes, it may seem that using one over the other is correct when in fact, it is wrong. 

The key is to study the different kinds of conjunctions; subordinating, coordinating, and correlative.

Getting yourself acquainted with the independent and subordinate clauses also helps a lot. 

Study and learn the different grammar rules and common mistakes in using conjunctions (listed above) for better comprehension of conjunctions. 

Also, try answering the practice questions below and check whether you have understood what conjunctions are and how to use them correctly. 

Additional FAQs – Conjunctions and their Usage

What are the Different Kinds of Conjunctions? 

The different kinds of conjunctions are coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions. 

Words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence with the same grammatical rank are joined by coordinating conjunctions. 

Subordinating conjunction, on the other hand, always presents a dependent clause, connecting it to an independent clause. 

Lastly, correlative conjunction works together in a sentence and connects items that are different or equal.

Why Do We Need Conjunctions? 

Conjunctions allow us to form more sophisticated and complex sentences.

They also avoid repetitions of nouns and other parts of speech in a sentence, making the sentence shorter but concise in meaning. 

Conjunctions are just as equally important as the other parts of speech in English grammar. 

What are the Common Mistakes When Writing Sentences with Conjunctions? 

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to conjunctions is putting the comma in the wrong place.

Remember that when in cases where a comma is needed, it should always appear before the conjunction. 

Another mistake that most people commit is having more than one conjunction with the same purpose in a single sentence.

Please refer to the lists above with regards to the common mistakes in conjunctions to avoid committing them.  


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