Home » Intermediate English Grammar » Conjunctions


Conjunctions join words, phrases, and sentences together. First, let’s look at some of the commonly used coordinating conjunctionsandbutornorforso, and yet. Notice how they can combine words, phrases, or complete sentences:

Combined WordsCombined PhrasesCombined Sentences
“Don or Norma”
“meat and potatoes”
“healthy again yet unable to work”“We remained by the fire, but Lance went to the park to skate.”

Correlative conjunctions are also important. They consist of a pair of words that appear in different parts of the same sentence. The most commonly used are both … andeither … orneither … nor, and not only … but also (sometimes stated as not only … also). Examples:

  • Both Yoko and Marco have problems.
  • Either you work hard or you leave.
  • Neither the boys nor the girls wanted to end the game.
  • You are not only a poor loser but also a bad soccer player.

Dependent (or subordinating) clauses consist of a subject and a verb. But these clauses usually cannot stand alone. Dependent clauses are preceded by subordinating conjunctions and are combined with an independent clause. The list of subordinating conjunctions is long. Here are some of the most commonly used:

althougheven thoughso thatwhen
as ifhowthanwhenever
as long asifthatwhere
as thoughnow thatthoughwherever

Let’s look at some example sentences:

  • After she arrived, Alberto was the first to greet her.
  • Although he was tired, he continued to run.
  • I just don’t know how you do it.
  • If you don’t pay your rent, you’ll have to move.
  • Bob doesn’t know where she lives.

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