Conjunctions are parts of speech that are used to bring together words, clauses, and phrases with sentences. They function by pairing these words or word groups that helps establish a connected relationship between the words or phrases within the sentence. Conjunctions come in three types: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. Each of the three types connects words, phrases, and clauses. The pieces that are being connected will determine which type of conjunction should be used. The most common form is coordinating conjunction. This is where the joining word is placed between the connected parts within the sentence. You will not find this form at the beginning or end of a sentence. When clauses (dependent and independent forms) need to be linked subordinating conjunction is used. The common forms include the use of the following words and phrases: until, while, if, no matter how, and as. They are usually placed at the beginning of the sentence or between clauses with a comma placed between the two clauses. The last form is called correlative conjunction this is where pairs of conjunctions are used to balance a sentence. Common forms include the word pairs: either… or, neither… nor, and both… and.
The following collection of activity sheets will help students label parts of sentences/words, and ask your students to correctly identify or place them in given sentences. Answer keys have been provided for each work sheet for instructors. Fun Project Idea: Have your students perform the Schoolhouse Rock "Conjunction Junction" song (available on YouTube) this is a fun song that helps students remember how to identify parts of sentences.
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Conjunctions are used to connect words in a sentence, or to connect complete sentences. When conjunctions are used, the result is a compound structure. A comma is used before the conjunction to separate the clauses. Three common conjunctions are and, but and or.
Say whether each conjunction below is used to show agreement, disagreement, or reason. On a separate sheet of paper, join each set of independent clauses to create a compound sentence. Use a coordinating conjunction.
Use the subordinating conjunctions indicated to join the sentences below. You may change, rearrange or omit words as necessary in order to clearly convey the meaning of your sentence
How to Properly Use Conjunctions
Conjunctions are used to connect words, phrases, and clauses. Some common conjunctions are: and, or, for, so, but, because, if, and when. Without them, the sentences will be short and choppy and it will take forever to tell your story.
I love cooking. I like to eat. I don't like to clear the table.
They let you add complexity to the sentences by joining same-structured phrases.
I love cooking and eating, but I do not like clearing the table afterward.
Types of Conjunction
Conjunctions are subdivided into three types:
These conjunctions are used to connect grammatically equal items: two words, two phrases, or two independent clauses. There are seven coordinating conjunctions, and for the ease of remembering them, you can use the term FANBOYS. A mnemonic for: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
- He can't cook or clean. (words)
- They usually meet in a cafe or at a restaurant. (phrases)
- I love chocolates, yet I know they are bad for my health. (independent clauses)
Subordinating conjunctions are used for joining dependent and independent clauses. A dependent or a subordinate clause contains a subject and a verb but it cannot be considered a complete sentence on its own. As it doesn't express a complete idea, it needs an independent clause attached to make complete sense. A subordinating conjunction can be used to show contrast, cause-and-effect, or some other relationship between the two clauses.
Some of the subordinating conjunctions are: if, after, as long as, although, as, as much as, as if, as soon as, because, as though, before, even if, by the time, even though, in case, in order that, lest, in the event that, once, now that, only, provided that, only if, so, since, supposing, than, that, though, unless, till, until, while, when, where, whenever, wherever, whereas, whether or not.
- I stayed awake until mum got back home.
- They left today although they promised to stay for another week.
- He was working on the weekends since he needed extra cash.
Punctuating the Subordinating Forms
A comma is not required when you use a subordinating conjunction after an independent clause.
- She will be promoted if she closes the corporate deal. (Incorrect)
- She will be promoted if she closes the corporate deal. (Correct)
However, a comma has to be placed at the end of the dependent clause when the sentence starts with the subordinating conjunctions.
- If she closes the corporate deal she will be promoted. (Incorrect)
- If she closes the corporate deal, she will be promoted. (Correct)
Correlative conjunctions come in pairs to join grammatically equal elements in a sentence. Commonly used pairs are: either/or, neither/nor, both/and, whether/or, and not only/but also.
- Not only am I done making my science project, but I'm also finished preparing for my dance recital.
- I am finished with both my science project and my dance recital.
Both statements are correct and both use different sets of correlative conjunctions.
Starting a Sentence With Them
In school, you might have been taught to never start a sentence with a conjunction but it is not true. You can begin a sentence with a subordinating conjunction if the dependent clause is placed before the independent clause. Skilled writers make use of this to create emphasis in their writings. Be careful not to use this technique in academic writings, as it tends to be frowned upon there.
- Until both parties sign a mutual agreement, the work will stay suspended.
- Because you're late again, I'll have to put you in detention.
- Of course, you have an excuse. It's never your fault.