Coordinating Conjunctions   Correlative Conjunctions Conjunctive Adverbs
Interjections Uses of "that"

Conjunction Practice

Relative Pronouns & Adjectives    (yes, they belong here, too!)
Subordinating Conjunctions

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A conjunction is a word that links words, phrases, or clauses. Conjunctions come in three broad types:  coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions  join single words or groups of words, but they must always join similar elements: subject + subject, verb phrase + verb phrase, sentence + sentence, etc. Correlative conjunctions also connect sentence elements of the same kind but with one difference: correlative conjunctions are always used in pairsSubordinating conjunctions connect subordinate clauses to a main clause. These conjunctions are adverbs used as conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions are listed below.  Since there is a large group of subordinating conjunctions, only a few of the more common ones are listed.



for and nor but or yet so


To help remember the coordinating conjunctions, think of the word FANBOYS. Remember, when using a conjunction to join two sentences, use a comma before the conjunction. Notice that  then and now are not coordinating conjunctions, so their functions in a sentence---and any punctuation rules that may apply to them---is different.      

Conjunction Sentence Sample Joining
for Linda was finally going to buy a new car, for she had won the lottery. sentence + sentence
and Christopher sings and dances superbly. verb + verb
nor I didn't run, nor did I walk to the fire.  I drove. sentence + sentence
but Jon intended to go to the ball game, but his wife made him go to the opera instead. sentence + sentence
or Do you prefer blondes or brunettes? direct object + direct object
yet Matthew wanted to stay home, yet he couldn't resist going out. sentence + sentence
so Laura stubbed her toe, so she was limping for two days. sentence + sentence

Click on the conjunction to read a bit more about it.  

  Commas and coordinating conjunctions:

1.  Use a comma before the conjunctive when it is joining two independent clauses. An independent (main) clause is one that can stand alone as a complete sentence. 

2.  A comma is used before and in a series.  Some people do not use that last comma (but CC does), and it is becoming more acceptable to leave it out.  Whichever you choose, be consistent.

3.  A comma is used with but when expressing contrast:

In most of their other roles as joiners (other than joining independent clauses, that is), coordinating conjunctions can join two sentence elements without the help of a comma.

AND: Its uses and functions.

1.       To show that one idea comes after another (chronological order):

2.    To show an  opinion or comment about the first clause:

3.       To show some surprise or a degree of amazement (yet is often used here; and may also be used):

4.        To show that one idea is the result of another:

5.       To show that one clause is dependent upon another, conditionally (the first clause is often an imperative): Stop pouting, and I'll give you some ice cream. 

6.        To show that one idea contrasts with another. But is often used; and is also used:

7.  To join or add words or similar ideas together. 

  Its uses and functions.

1.   To show in a positive way what the first part of the sentence implied in a negative way (on the contrary is also used):

2.   To take the place of with the exception of: 

3.   To show join contrasting ideas:

NOTE: Even though it is not formal usage to begin a sentence with and or but, writers have been doing exactly that for centuries. A sentence beginning with and or but can help a narrative flow smoothly, and can draw attention to the sentence. If you want to use one of these words to start a sentence, first ask yourself: (1) Does the sentence not work as well without using and or but at the beginning?  (2) Is the sentence logically connected (in thought) to the one before it? If both answers are "yes", go ahead and use it.

OR:  Its uses and functions.

1.       To indicate a negative condition:

2.      To further elaborate on the first clause: 

3.       To show choice or possibility:

4.      To show a negative alternative without using an imperative (also see uses of and):

5.       To suggest the inclusive combination of alternatives:

6.        To suggest a restatement or correction of the first part of the sentence: 

NORIts uses and functions.

Nor is not used nearly as often as the other conjunctions, and is usually used together with neither (Neither Bill nor Judd are interested in going sailing this Sunday.) Nor can also be used alone:


 Nor can be used with other negative expressions: 

YET: Its uses and functions.

Yet has two functions: 1) as an adverb 2) as a coordinating conjunction. It has several meanings:

As a coordinating conjunction, its meaning is similar to nevertheless or but. 

You can combine yet with but or and in a sentence.

FOR: Its uses and functions.

For is usually a preposition, but it can be used as a coordinating conjunction too. It sounds very formal and stiff, so isn't used that much. The use of for strongly indicates a certain order of events or thoughts, so be careful how you use it. A more informal choice instead of using the word for would be because or since.  The function of for is to introduce the reason for the preceding clause:


SO: Its uses and functions.

So is a little more confusing than the other conjunctions. Sometimes it can connect two independent clauses along with a comma, but sometimes it can't. 

Correct: Max is a bit shy, so he doesn't speak on the microphone very much.

So can also be as a weaker version of therefore. (That is, it can show that a second idea is the result of the first idea. In that case, a comma before so is fine.)

Correct: "So, my proud beauty, I have you in my power," leered the evil villain.  

In the previous example, so was put at the beginning of the sentence to show a transition or summing up of a narrative. When it is used this way, a comma should follow so.

Incorrect:  Sebastian is going to the wrestling match alone, so Abe and Libby are going too.

When so means as well or in addition, it is better to use a semicolon (;) between the independent clauses, or use a period after the word alone and start a new sentence, omitting the word so.



Correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. They join similar elements. When joining singular and plural subjects, the subject closest to the verb determines whether the verb is singular or plural.   Below are all the correlative conjunctions.

Conjunction Sentence Sample Joining
both. . .and Both red and white wines are good for cooking. subject + subject
either. . .or You can have either chicken or fish. noun + noun
neither. . .nor Neither Lionel nor Herbert can tap dance. subject + subject
not only. . .but also Not only did Martin lose his wallet, but he also lost his keys. sentence + sentence
whether. . .or Whether to stay or to go is a decision only you can make. verb + verb
not. . .but Not a day goes by that I don't remember the fresh air, but I don't wish I were still in the mountains. sentence + sentence
Just as. . .so too Just as you sow, so too shall you reap.  sentence + sentence



While coordinating and correlative conjunctions are great to use to join two things of equal importance,  subordinating conjunctions can show that one idea is more important than another. The idea in the main clause is more important, while the idea in the subordinate clause (made subordinate by the subordinating conjunction) is less important. 

The subordinate clause supplies a time, reason, condition, etc. for the main clause. It modifies the independent clause in some way, or acts as a part of speech in relation to the independent clause.

Subordinating conjunctions are placed at the front of the subordinate clause. This clause can come either before or after the main clause. Subordinators are usually a single word, but there are also a number of multi-word subordinators that function like single subordinating conjunctions. Subordinators make the clause depend on the rest of the sentence in order to make sense. You should put a comma at the end of an adverbial phrase when it precedes the main clause.**

** NOTE: Usually, no comma is needed before a subordinating conjunction if the dependent clause follows the independent clause. (Pay attention to the order of the clauses.)

Some subordinating conjunctions such as after, before, since are also prepositions, but when they are used to introduce a clause, they  make that clause subordinate to the independent clause in the sentence. Below are the most common subordinating conjunctions. Some can indicate more than one idea.


Indicates Time Indicates Place Indicates Manner Indicates Reason Indicates Condition Indicates Concession
after where as if because if although
before wherever as though since unless though
since   how so that until even though
when     why in case (that) while
whenever     in order that provided that whereas
while     now that assuming that rather than
until     as even if  
as     so only if; if only  
once       whether or not  
as long as       that  


Make hay while the sun shines. time
Because Barbie is from the South, she has a drawl. reason
If  Taylor moves to New Zealand, he will have a better job. condition
Santa keeps a list, so you better be good! reason
Wherever he goes, she will follow. place
Vanessa never liked chocolate, although it smelled delicious. concession
Unless the taxes are lowered, there will be trouble. condition
Gertie wants to be an acrobat, as if her mother would let her! manner
He walked into the room as though he owned the place. manner

CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS  & other transitional words and phrases

Conjunctive adverbs such as however, moreover, nevertheless, consequently, as a result, etc., are used to join two independent clauses (sentences). A conjunctive adverb is a word (sometimes a phrase) that shows how such sentences, sections of a paragraph, or entire paragraphs are related. They add a lot of emphasis, so don't be tempted to use them too often. Be aware that some of them sound too formal for everyday conversational English.


  1.  A semicolon and a comma are used when a conjunctive adverb separates two main clauses. 

An alternative is to make two sentences: Natalie loved strawberries. They gave her a rash, however.  

NOTE: The conjunctive adverb is set off by a comma when it begins a sentence.

2.  When conjunctive adverbs (transitions) are within an independent clause, they are set off by commas.

**NOTE: without a second thought isn't not a complete sentence, so a semicolon is not needed. Just set off the conjunctive adverb with commas.

3.  Conjunctive adverbs can be often moved around in the sentence with no loss of meaning. This cannot be done with "true" conjunctions such as the coordinating conjunctions. 

4.  When a conjunctive adverb is used as an introductory word (at the beginning of a sentence), it needs a comma after it.

                Naturally, Kyle has a cosmopolitan view on many topics.

Conjunctive Adverbs and the Relation They Indicate 

To add to To compare To concede To contrast
again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second, still, too, in fact also, in the same way, likewise, similarly granted, naturally, of course

although, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, despite that, even so, even though, for all that, however,  in contrast, in spite of, instead, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, still, though, yet


To emphasize** To summarize
certainly, indeed, in fact, of course, to be sure, I hope, naturally, after all
in short, at least,
remarkably, in fact,
I think, it seems, in brief, clearly, I suppose, assuredly,
definitely, without doubt, for all that,
on the whole, in any event, importantly,
certainly, naturally
all in all, altogether, as has been said, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in particular, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole, that is, therefore, to put it differently, to summarize


To show a time sequence To conclude an argument To illustrate
after, after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length, at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately, meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too, until, until now, when, later consequently, therefore, as a result, accordingly after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in conclusion, indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely, specifically, that is, to illustrate, thus, truly

**These words are also called expletives, and are closely related to conjunctive adverbs. Expletives often show no other meaning than to emphasize the sentence to which they are attached. Because of this, they do not really show a logical relationship like time or cause between ideas, so they are not  exactly conjunctive adverbs. They do, however, show that the new idea is important because of what preceded it. That is why many references include them with conjunctive adverbs.



Another type of word that is not really a conjunctive adverb, but which joins ideas together with adjective or noun clauses, are relative pronouns and relative adjectives.




That is used to connect a subordinate clause to a preceding verb. It serves the purpose of a conjunction in that instance. That may often be left out with no changes in meaning to the sentence. You need to determine whether the sentence is clearly understood if you leave out the word that when you introduce a subordinate clause. If the sentence makes sense without the word that, omit it.

If you think leaving out the word that makes a break in the smoothness of a sentence, you may use a comma where the word that would have been placed.

If you think the sentence sounds as good and its meaning is clearly understood without using that, then leave it out. BUT: There are three times when the word that should be used:

1.  If there is a time element mentioned between the verb and the clause:

2.  If the verb of the clause is further into the clause rather than close to the beginning:

3.  If a second that makes the sentence more clear as to who said or did what:


Interjections (words or phrases) are used to convey emotion, such as surprise, anger, protest, or to give a command. Milder interjections are set off by commas within a sentence, but stronger interjections  may stand alone and are followed by an exclamation point Interjections are not used in formal or academic writing. An interjection is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.


There are so many words used as interjections, that it's impossible to list them all. Some of them can indicate several different emotions. In written English, the sentence or thought following the interjection is your clue to the emotion it is meant to convey. In spoken English of course, the tone of voice and inflection will give you the meaning. 


Some of the meanings or emotions an interjection can convey are: anger, surprise, pity, distress, sorrow, pleasure, realization, resignation, asking for repetition, inviting agreement, hesitation, pain, greeting. In fact, you can show almost any emotion with an interjection. And yes, four-letter words (cursing or swear words) are very often interjections!




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