Coupon Accepted Successfully!

(A) Coordinating Conjunctions

These join words, phrases, or clauses of equal rank. The most common coordinating conjunctions are FANBOYS:
  • For - Shows REASON
I like to read mystery novels, for I love suspense.
  • And – Shows ADDITION
She goes to the beach, and she takes her dog.
  • Nor – Adds a NEGATIVE
I don’t like garlic, nor do I like onions.
  • But – Shows OPPOSITION
He won’t get into the concert, but he can try.
  • Or – Shows ALTERNATIVE
I will take my kids to a movie, or I will stay home.
  • Yet – Shows EXCEPTION
I want to lose weight, yet I eat chocolate daily.
  • So – Shows a RESULT
I want to learn English, so I can pass the examination

Use the appropriate conjunction.


(B) Correlative Conjunctions


Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, in order to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence. For instance, in the following example, the expression either ... or is used to indicate that the ideas expressed in the two clauses represent two alternative choices of action.

E.g. Either you should study harder, or you should take a different course.


The most commonly used correlative conjunctions are both ... and, either ... or and neither ... nor.


In the table below, each pair of correlative conjunctions is accompanied by an example of its use. Note that in the construction if ... then, the word then can usually be omitted.


Correlative Conjunctions


both ... and                       

He is both intelligent and good-natured.

either ... or                        

I will either go for a walk or read a book.

neither ... nor                   

He is neither rich nor famous.

hardly ... when                

 He had hardly begun to work, when he was interrupted.

if ... Then

If that is true, then what happened is not surprising.

no sooner ... Than

No sooner had I reached the corner, than the bus came.

not only ... but also        

She is not only clever, but also hard-working.

rather ... than                  

I would rather go swimming than go to the library.

scarcely ... When

Scarcely had we left home, when it started to rain.

what with ... And

What with all her aunts, uncles and cousins, she has many relatives.

whether ... or                 

 Have you decided whether you will come or not?

Though …yet                     

Though he was ill yet he came for class.

Subordinating Conjunctions
A subordinating conjunction joins a dependent clause to an independent clause.
A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb.
At the same time, the conjunction supplies information about how the two clauses are related.

The conjunction may place the actions in time (while, as soon as, before, since).
It may relate cause and result (since, why, because).
It may state a condition (unless, if, although) or a purpose (so, that) or it may make a comparison (than).
Among the most commonly used subordinating conjunctions are the following:
  • after
  • although
  • as
  • as if
  • as long as
  • as though
  • because
  • before
  • even if
  • even though
  • how
  • if
  • if only
  • in case
  • in order to
  • in order that
  • lest
  • now that
  • once
  • or else
  • providing
  • provided
  • rather than
  • still
  • since
  • so as to
  • so that
  • supposing
  • that
  • though
  • unless
  • until
  • till
  • when
  • whenever
  • where
  • whereas
  • wherever
  • whether
  • while
  • why
Using Subordinating Conjunctions

1. because:  As he is my friend, I will help him.
2. when:  We watched as the plane took off.
1. later in time:  After the train left, we went home.
Although or though
1. in spite of the fact that:  Although it was after midnight, we did not feel tired.
1. earlier than:  I arrived before the stores were open.
1. for the reason that:  We had to wait, because we arrived early.
1. on condition that:  If she is here, we will see her.
1. for fear that:  I watched closely, lest he make a mistake.
Note the use of the Subjunctive Mood in the clause with lest.

Providing or provided
1. on condition that:  All will be well, providing you are careful.
1. from a past time:  I have been here since the sun rose.
2. as, because:  Since you are here, you can help me.
So that
1. consequently:  It was raining, so we did not go out.
2. in order that:  I am saving money so I can buy a bicycle.


Note: When used with the meaning in order thatso is usually followed by that in formal English.


E.g. I am saving money so that I can buy a bicycle.
1. if:  Supposing that happens, what will you do?
1. used in comparisons:  He is taller than you are.
1. except when, if not:  Unless he helps us, we cannot succeed.
Until or till
1. up to the time when:  I will wait until I hear from you.
1. because:  Whereas this is a public building, it is open to everyone.
2. on the other hand:  He is short, whereas you are tall.
1. if:  I do not know whether she was invited.
1. at the time when:  While it was snowing, we played cards.
2. on the other hand:  He is rich, while his friend is poor.
3. although:  While I am not an expert, I will do my best.


In addition, the following phrases are often used at the beginning of subordinate clauses.

As if
1. in a similar way:  She talks as if she knows everything.

As long as
1. if:  As long as we cooperate, we can finish the work easily.
2. while:  He has lived there as long as I have known him.

As soon as
1. immediately when:  Write to me as soon as you can.

As though
1. in a similar way:  It looks as though there will be a storm.

Even if
1. in spite of a possibility:  I am going out even if it rains.

In case
1. because of a possibility:  Take a sweater in case it gets cold.

Or else
1. otherwise:  Please be careful, or else you may have an accident.

So as to
1. in order to:  I hurried so as to be on time.


In the following examples, the italicised/bold words are subordinating conjunctions:

  • Light the flare if it gets dark.
  • Work only when it is safe to do so.
  • He would not swim in the ocean because he had seen a movie about sharks.
  • The nurse grew queasy whenever she saw blood.
  • Pull off the road so that you don’t stop traffic.


Some subordinating conjunctions can occur at the beginning of a sentence instead of in the middle. Even in this new position, they are still used to join dependent clauses to independent clauses. Note the examples below:

  • Before you change the tire, you must find a jack.
  • Although you drive well, you are not a good mechanic.
  • After John left, Mary cried.
  • As long as it rains, we cannot play croquet.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name