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I. Coordinating Conjunctions

The short, simple conjunctions are called "coordinating conjunctions":

  • and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so

A coordinating conjunction joins parts of a sentence (for example words or independent clauses) that are grammatically equal or similar. A coordinating conjunction shows that the elements it joins are similar in importance and structure:

Look at these examples - the two elements that the coordinating conjunction joins are shown in square brackets [ ]:

  • I like [tea] and [coffee].

  • [Ram likes tea], but [Anthony likes coffee].

Coordinating conjunctions always come between the words or clauses that they join.

When a coordinating conjunction joins independent clauses, it is always correct to place a comma before the conjunction:

  • I want to work as an interpreter in the future, so I am studying Russian at university.

However, if the independent clauses are short and well-balanced, a comma is not really essential:

  • She is kind so she helps people.

When "and" is used with the last word of a list, a comma is optional:

  • He drinks beer, whisky, wine, and rum.

  • He drinks beer, whisky, wine and rum.

The 7 coordinating conjunctions are short, simple words. They have only two or three letters. There's an easy way to remember them - their initials spell:















II. Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are sort of like tag-team conjunctions. They come in pairs, and you have to use both of them in different places in a sentence to make them work. They get their name from the fact that they work together (co-) and relate one sentence element to another. Correlative conjunctions include pairs like “both/and,” “whether/or,” “either/or,” “neither/nor,” “not/but” and “not only/but also.”

  • I want either the cheesecake or the frozen hot chocolate.

  • I’ll have both the cheesecake and the frozen hot chocolate.

  • I didn’t know whether you’d want the cheesecake or the frozen hot chocolate, so I got you both.

  • Oh, you want neither the cheesecake nor the frozen hot chocolate? No problem.

  • I’ll eat them both - not only the cheesecake but also the frozen hot chocolate.

  • I see you’re in the mood not for dessert but appetizers. I’ll help you with those too.

Here are some more pairs of correlative conjunctions:

  • as/as - Bowling isn’t as fun as skeet shooting.

  • such/that - Such was the nature of their relationship that they never would have made it even if they’d wanted to.

  • scarcely/when - I had scarcely walked in the door when I got the call and had to run right back out again.

  • as many/as - There are as many curtains as there are windows.

  • no sooner/than - I’d no sooner lie to you than strangle a puppy.

  • rather/than - She’d rather play the drums than sing.

III. Subordinating Conjunctions

  • Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate clauses, which are clauses that cannot stand by themselves as a complete thought.

  • The subordinate conjunction connects a subordinate clause to an independent clause, which can stand by itself.

Ex. We will go whale watching if we have time

*List of Subordinating Conjunctions








As long as

As soon as







In order that

So that



As if

As though




Subordinating Conjunctions of Condition


Even though


As long as



Even if

Provided that


The most common subordinating conjunctions are:

After – later than the time that : later than when.
Example: “Call me after you arrive at work”

Although – despite the fact that : used to introduce a fact that makes another fact unusual or surprising.
Example: “Although she was tired, she couldn’t sleep”

As – used to introduce a statement which indicates that something being mentioned was known, expected, etc.
Example: “As we explained last class, coordinating conjunctions are sentence connectors”

Because – for the reason that.
Example: “I painted the house because it was a horrible colour”

Before – earlier than the time that : earlier than when.
Example: “Come and visit me before you leave”

How – in what manner or way.
Example: “Let me show you how to knit”

If -used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true.
Example: “It would be fantastic if you could come to the party”

Once – at the moment when : as soon as.
Example: “Once you’ve learnt how to cycle, it’s very easy”

Since – used to introduce a statement that explains the reason for another statement.
Example: “Since you’ve studied so well, you can go outside and play”

Than – used to introduce the second or last of two or more things or people that are being compared — used with the comparative form of an adjective or adverb.
Example: “My sister is older than I am”

That – used to introduce a clause that states a reason or purpose.
Example: “Olivia is so happy that it’s summer again”

When – at or during the time that something happened.
Example: “A teacher is good when he inspires his students”

Where – at or in the place that something happened.
Example: “We went to the bar where there most shade”

Whether -used to indicate choices or possibilities.
Example: “Bruno wasn’t sure whether to go to India or Thailand”

While – during the time that something happened”
Example: “While we were in Paris, it snowed”

Until – up to the time or point that something happened”
Example: “We stayed up talking until the sun came up”
IV. Conjunctive Adverbs
*A conjunctive adverb is an adverb that functions somewhat like a coordinating conjunction.
*Conjunctive adverbs usually connect independent clauses.

A semicolon precedes the conjunctive adverb, and a comma usually follows it.

Examples of Conjunctive Adverbs in Sentences

  • You must do your homework; otherwise, you might get a bad grade.

  • I will not be attending the show. Therefore, I have extra tickets for anyone that can use them.

  • Amy practiced the piano; meanwhile, her brother practiced the violin.

  • Marion needed to be home early. Consequently, she left work at 3 p.m.

List of Conjunctive Adverbs

  • Instead

  • Later

  • Moreover

  • Nevertheless

  • Otherwise

  • Still

  • Therefore

  • Thus

  • Accordingly

  • Also

  • Besides

  • Consequently

  • Finally

  • Furthermore

  • However

  • Indeed

Exercise 1. Paying attention to the expressions used in the following sentences, fill in the blanks with the given words. Some can be used more than once.

and, but also, nor, or, than, when,
1. I have both respect _________ admiration for them.
2. It will rain either today _________ tomorrow.
3. He could not decide whether to tell the truth _________ keep silent.
4. It was not only a beautiful day, ___________ the first day of Spring.
5. He is neither proud _________ condescending.
6. No sooner had I opened my eyes _________ I remembered where I was.
7. Scarcely had I heard the news _________ my friend arrived.
8. I do not know whether he has seen the movie before ________ not.
9. She could find the book neither at the Library _________ at the bookstore.
10. The crowd was both large _________ enthusiastic.

1. and

2. or

3. or

4. but also

5. nor

6. than

7. when

8. or

9. nor

10. and

Exercise 2. Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences, and to the presence of inverted word order, fill in the blanks with the correct coordinate conjunctions chosen from the pairs given in brackets.
1. I opened the door _________ looked out. (and, yet)
2. She was not in the back yard, _________ was she upstairs. (or, nor)
3. The sun had set, _________ it was still light outside. (or, yet)
4. Do you know his address _________ telephone number? (but, or)
5. He has not arrived yet, _________ have they. (and, nor)
6. I read the book, _________ did not understand it. (but, or)
7. We searched diligently, ________ found nothing. (or, yet)
8. I invited him _________ his friends. (and, but)
9. Our washing machine hasn’t been working properly recently, and _______has our dishwasher. (neither, so)

10. ____the book _____the magazine is necessary for me. I will buy one of them.(Both-and, Either-or)


1. and

2. nor

3. yet

4. or

5. nor

6. but

7. yet

8. and

9. neither

10. Either-or

Exercise 3: Complete the following sentences using appropriate subordinating conjunctions.

1. I make it a point to visit the Taj Mahal …………………. I go to Agra.

2. This is the place …………….. I used to stay when I was studying at college.

3. ……………….. you get the first rank, I will buy you a car.

4. ……………….. you work hard, you can’t pass the entrance test.

5. I am leaving tomorrow ………………… or not you give me the permission.

6. He could not get a seat, ……………….. he came early.

7. The players delivered a splendid performance …………………. they had rehearsed well.

8. Parents should give enough attention to children ……………….. they will not feel neglected.

9. He is ………………… dishonest ……………………… no one trusts him.

10. I will note it down ……………… I should forget.


1. whenever

2. where

3. If

4. Unless

5. whether

6. though

7. as

8. so that

9. so….that

10. lest

Read more at http://www.englishgrammar.org/subordinating-conjunctions-exercise/#MK85RV11G63gsgZj.99
Top of Form

Exercise 4. The following sentences are incorrect, because they contain correlative conjunctions, but do not use parallel construction. Rewrite the sentences correctly, using parallel construction.

1. The train proceeded neither quickly nor was it smooth.
2. They will leave either today or they will go tomorrow.
3. The child hates both getting up in the morning and to go to bed at night.
4. She is neither kind nor has patience.
5. He is not only talented, but also he has charm.
6. The street is lined with both oak trees and there are elm trees.
7. The lecture was not only very long but also it was very dull.
8. You should either eat less, or should exercise more.
9. I am not only proud to be here, but also feel happy to meet you.
10. The town is both historical and it is picturesque.


1. The train proceeded neither quickly nor smoothly.

2. They will leave either today or tomorrow.

3. The child hates both getting up in the morning and going to bed at night.

4. She is neither kind nor patient.

5. He is not only talented, but also charming.

6. The street is lined with both oak trees and elm trees.

7. The lecture was not only very long but also very dull.

8. You should either eat less, or exercise more.

9. I am not only proud to be here, but also happy to meet you.

10. The town is both historical and picturesque.
Exercise 5: Combine the following sentences using an appropriate conjunction.

1. We decided to set out. It was raining.

2. I respect him. He is a brave man.

3. He did not win the first prize. He worked hard.

4. He is not a knave. He is not a fool.

5. He was not there. His brother was not there.

6. I went to the market. I bought some grocery.

7. He didn’t come. He didn’t write.

8. He must be tired. He has been working since morning.

9. Men have fought for their country. Men have died for their country.

10. He didn’t want to miss the train. He ran fast.


1. We decided to set out though it was raining.

2. I respect him because he is a brave man.

3. Though he worked hard, he did not win the first prize.

4. He is neither a knave nor a fool.

5. Neither he nor his brother was there.

6. I went to the market and bought some grocery.

7. He neither came nor wrote. OR Neither did he come nor did he write.

8. He must be tired because he has been working since morning.

9. Men have fought and died for their country.

10. As he didn’t want to miss the train, he ran fast.

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