What is a Conjunction? Types of Conjunctions

We know that there are eight main parts of speech in English. These parts are the key elements in our grammatical arena, without which it is near to impossible to form any kind of sentence that conveys our true thoughts.

Conjunctions are one such part of speech. It is one of the most common and important parts, which helps us formulate long, complete, and meaningful sentences. In a very general sense, conjunctions are the words that aim to join or connect two parts of sentences together. They are the keywords that bring other words into a single framework.

However, there are various conjunction words, where each has its distinct purpose and functions. These can be further studied under the three broad classifications of conjunctions i.e, coordinate conjunction, subordinate conjunction, and correlative conjunction. So, let us have a quick discussion below to get a clearer idea.

What is a Conjunction?

By definition, conjunctions are words that help us join or link two clauses or two parts of a sentence. That means they are the connecting or the linking words that have a primary aim of bringing together other words in order to form a single complete sentence.

In short, conjunctions are words that hold together two different groups of words, clauses, or phrases. They are the very reason that we do not have to form a series of short sentences for every different thought that we want to convey. With conjunctions, we can simply add one thought to another and produce a complex framework.

After learning the definition, you can automatically assume what exactly we are referring to. We are talking about words like; and, because, as well as, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, since, before, after, etc.

Let us look at some examples to gain a better understanding;

  • I wanted to dance with him, but he seemed too busy.
  • You can have either the coffee or the cheesecake.
  • I went home early because I was too tired.
  • The flower in your garden is pink, and it smells so good.
  • Before we can have our lunch, we have to complete our homework.
  • The joker impressed both the audience and the judge.

These are some of the basic examples of conjunctions. As we can see, each bolded word holds together different words or clauses to make the sentences complete and concrete.

However, we need to notice that each conjunction is serving its own distinct purpose. All of them are joining other words under different contexts and conditions. These can be studied under the different types of conjunctions.

Different Types of Conjunctions

1. Coordinating conjunctions

When we say conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions are the one that is most likely to come to your mind first. These are the most common words that we use almost every day in every sentence to produce a complex sentence conveying our complete thoughts. So, we can define coordinating conjunctions as the words that we use to join other words or clauses of equal grammatical rank or importance.

In a simple sense, these are the type of conjunctions that join words or clauses that are particularly of the same kind. That basically means that they link a verb to a verb, a noun to a noun, or a subject to a subject.

Coordinate conjunctions are words like; for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. These are popularly known as the FANBOYS.

Let us look at some examples;

  • I left my books and notes in the auditorium.
  • He is a rich man, yet he never looks satisfied.
  • Our mentor doesn’t drink, nor does she smoke.
  • I was very sleepy, so I wanted to take a coffee break.

2. Subordinating Conjunctions

The next type of conjunction is the subordinating conjunctions. Subordinating conjunctions are basically the type of conjunctions that introduces a dependent clause in a sentence. That means these are words that link a dependent clause to an independent one.

By dependent clause, we mean the type of sentences or clauses that have a subject-verb agreement but cannot stand alone. They are the clauses that are always dependent on the independent clauses to make complete sense.

So, subordinating conjunctions are words such as; although, because, before, while, if, after, etc. Each tries to introduce a dependent clause in different terms of place, time, manner, condition, reason, and concession.

For example;

  • I will take my next class after this event gets over.
  • She is working so hard while her friends are having fun.
  • Sarah left work early because she felt tired after cleaning all the tables in the restaurant.
  • I have to read this book before I appear for my exams.

3. Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are the final type amongst the three types of conjunctions. This group consists of all the conjunctions that mainly appear as pairs instead of individual words.

In simple words, correlative conjunctions are the different pairs of words that work together as a team to bring together other words or phrases of equal importance. That means, unlike other types, these conjunctions function as a pair to connect two parts of a sentence.

They are words like; either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, rather…than, not…but, etc.

For example;

  • You can drink either coffee or ice tea.
  • She is neither a brilliant student nor is she good at sports.
  • They have both passed their theory and appeared for the practical.
  • I would rather stay home alone than attend your party.

Apart from these, we also have another uncommon group of conjunctions, the compound conjunctions. The compound conjunctions are basically the phrases used to link one clause to another. These are conjunctions of two or three words working together instead of an individual word. For instance, the words like as well as, so that, provided that, on the condition that, etc., are the common type of compound conjunctions.

Now, we can say that conjunctions are words that link two parts of a sentence together and produce a single and meaningful one. While there are different types of conjunctions performing different functions, all have a primary aim of bringing together words to form a complex sentence.

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