A conjunction is a word which merely joins sentences, and sometimes words.

We used the word ‘merely‘ in the definition because conjunctions just join the sentences or words and do not add anything to the sentence itself.

for example:
Jake and John are good friends.
He must speak, or he will be fired.
I stopped and bought some clothes.

In the first example, conjunction joins two words only, whereas, in second and third examples, conjunctions join two sentences.

Conjunctions must be distinguished from Relative Pronoun, Relative Adverb, and Prepositions.

for example:

  1. I found the book which I lost. (relative pronoun)
  2. Show me the theatre where you performed last week. (relative adverb)
  3. I have two more novels besides this one. (preposition)
  4. He took my old laptop and sold it. (conjunction)

The relative pronounwhich‘ in the first example refers to the noun ‘book‘ and joins two parts of a sentence.

The relative adverb ‘where‘ in the second example modifies the verbperformed’ and joins two parts of a sentence.

The preposition ‘besides’ in the third example tells the relation of a nounnovels‘ with the rest of the sentence.

Whereas, in the fourth example the conjunction joins two sentences and does no other work.

Types of Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, sentences or clauses of equal rank(equal importance). It joins independent statements or clause.

Examples of coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, or, so, nor, for, yet.

These conjunctions play the following roles in sentences:

1. Adding one statement to the other.

for example:
Alica and Emily went to school.
We purchased the book, and we read it within a month.

2. To express the contrast between the two statements.

for example:
The soldier was annoyed, still, he kept calm.
The laptop is running well; only Its battery has expired.
Our teacher is kind but strict.
It is a small room, yet it is spacious.

3. To express a choice.

for example:
You can select a leather ball or a tennis ball.
Is your cousin younger or older than you?

4. To express an Inference.

for example:
The project never completed, for we lacked teamwork.
We believed him, for surely he would not lie to us.

Subordinating Conjunctions

A Subordinating conjunction joins a dependent clause(which depends on other clause for its full meaning) to an independent clause.

Some of subordinating conjunctions are- because, if, though, although, that, unless, as, when, while, where etc.

for example:
I ran away because I was afraid.
We can stay out until the clock strikes ten.
We arrived at the playground after they had left.

In the above sentences, the first part of the sentences are independent clauses and the second part of these sentences are dependent clauses(bold ones).

A dependent and an independent clause, both have subject and verb, the difference is that the dependent clause cannot stand alone whereas an independent clause can stand alone and makes complete sense in itself.

Now consider the following examples:

  1. You must believe it since he says so.
    Since he says so, you must believe it.
  2. It will not stop unless you press that button.
    Unless you press that button, it will not stop.

You may have observed the structure of the sentence from the above pair of examples. The first sentences in each pair Independent clause(main clause) are used first and then conjunction and then the dependent clause(subordinate clause).

So the structure becomes like- Main clause + Subordinate clause.
And in the other case- Subordinate clause + , + Main clause.

♥ In case both the sentences joined by a conjunction are Independent clauses then a comma(,) is used before the conjunction.

for example:
Shall we go to the party, or shall we go home?
We went to New York, and my brother brought his camera.

Subordinating Conjunctions are used to refer to:

1. Time

for example:
We reached home after our parents had gone for a walk.
He would die before he knelt.  (rather than)
She has not talked to me since she went to Canada.
Can you wait until I arrive at home?

2. Cause or Reason

for example:
He did it because I told him to.
Since we were there, we went to meet them.
As she was not at home, I left a message.

3. Purpose

for example:
I took a photograph lest anyone should doubt my story.
Nothing more was heard from them so that people began to wonder if they were dead.
We practice daily so that we perform well.

4. Condition

for example:
He will work for us if we offer him more money.
They can stay here for a week if they like.
We can not help you unless you tell us your problem.

5. Comparison

She is taller than Emilia.

Correlative Conjunctions

Conjunctions which are used in pairs are called correlative conjunctions; such as- Either-or, Neither-nor, Not only- but also, Whether- or, Though- yet

for example:
Either accept the offer or deny it.
This T-shirt is available in either black or white.
Either students or teacher is reading the chapter. (helping verb according to the second verb)

The letter was received neither online nor via post.
He neither smoke nor drink.
Neither the Officer nor his colleagues were present at that time.

Both her mother and her father were present in the house.
The students both love and respect their teachers.

I was unable to decide whether to go or stay.

She not only wrote the letter but also posted it herself.
He is not only a sportsman but also a good student.

I don’t know whether he is present or not.
Whether he goes by bus or taxi, it will take at least two hours.

words used as both conjunctions and prepositions
words used as both conjunctions and prepositions

Some conjunctions and their uses:

1) Except

He didn’t tell them anything except that he worked at a grocery store.
Our bikes were the same except mine was red.

2) Only

means except that, but.

I would love to come, only I have no money.
It looks like silver, only brighter.
He has a great personality, only stammers a little.

3) If

If it happens, we will celebrate.
I will stay at home if it rains.  (Condition)

Do you know if she is married?
I wonder if I should join a gym or not. (whether/ to introduce two possibilities)

If I feel hungry I cook.
If we heat a metal, it expands. (whenever)

4) Or

You may give her a teddy or a red rose. (alternative)
He must work or starve.

It is a mile or about 1.5 km away.  (Alternative name or synonym)

Turn off the charger or the device will burn. (otherwise)


This is all about the Conjunctions. I tried my level best to cover almost everything about conjunction in this post.

If you feel that something was not included in this post you can comment below or discuss in our facebook group.

Thanks for reading:)

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