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Conjunction: What's Your Function?

What is the standard conjunction definition? Basically, conjunctions are words that connect, coordinate or join words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. The three subcategories of connectors are coordinating, subordinating, and correlative words. Use this site to find more info about connection words.

What’s A Coordinating Word?

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, and independent or main clauses together. They go in the middle of the sentence, directly after a comma, and usually in between other parts of speech, such as a noun, pronoun, or verb. As, for, and, or, nor, but, and so are coordinating connection words.

Paul bought a pizza, and John ordered a salad.

Sarah can take you to the mall, or we can all go swimming.

The Coordinating Conjunction Formula

It’s easy to build sentences with connector words. Just remember this simple formula.

Independent Clause, + Connector + Independent Clause

Independent clauses can stand on their own as complete sentences, so you use a comma to separate them. Need more help on the formal structure? Learn more here. For further reading on how it differs from other parts of speech, see our guides on how a preposition and an interjection are used in English.

Make Memorization Easy with this Mnemonic Device

You can easily remember all seven of these connectors by learning this mnemonic device FANBOYS:

For explains reason.

Phil didn’t go to the concert, for he dislikes music.

And joins clauses or words together.

My sister really likes hamburgers and she also likes hot dogs.

Nor joins two negative alternatives.

We couldn’t see the movie because we didn’t have our tickets, nor did we have our receipts.

But joins contrasting ideas or exception.

David usually wears sunglasses, but he never wears them inside.

Or joins alternative ideas and shows option.

Either give me my money or I will call the police.

Yet means but or nevertheless.

Many people love to watch football on television, yet most have never played the game.

So shows us that the second idea is the consequence of the first.

Maria was absent from school, so the teacher called her parents.

Once you commit this mnemonic device to memory, why not learn about citing your work using MLA format? Or, check out some of our other pages such as adverb, conjunction, and adjectives.

Subordinating Conjunctions Definition

Subordinating connectors join dependent and independent clauses by providing a transition word for the sentence. This type of word lets you connect more information, known as the dependent clause, to the main idea, called the independent clause.

A short list of subordinating connectors includes: after, although, as, before, because, even, even though, if only, once, until, whether, and while.

Quick tip: Need more help with subordinating words? Test out the grammar and plagiarism check from BibMe Plus!

There are two ways to use subordinating conjunctions.

Formula one: Independent Clause + Connector + Dependent (subordinate) Clause

I bought a fur coat even though my family wouldn’t like it.

Formula two: Connector + Dependent Clause, + Independent Clause.

Even though my family wouldn’t like it, I bought a fur coat anyway.

Subordinating words also help the reader understand which of the two ideas is more important. The more important idea belongs in the independent clause, the less important is in the dependent clause.

Since you have subordinating connectors down, take a short break and learn about APA format.

Connecting Definition

Connecting words are correlative when they come in pairs such as…as, neither…nor, and whether…or. You use correlative words together throughout one sentence.

As many as ten thousand people were affected by the earthquake.

In conclusion, the function of the conjunction is to connect a sentence that no one should tear apart!

Now that you understand connecting words, try out BibMe Plus! It has tools that can make citations for APA, MLA, and more styles within minutes.

Looking for more? Take a peek at two other helpful pages from BibMe: research and determiner.