What is a coordinating conjunction?
Coordinating conjunctions are used to join two or more words, phrases, or independent clauses. The two elements being joined must be grammatically equal or similar in both importance and structure. There are seven coordinating conjunctions in English, which can be remembered using the acronym FANBOYS:
- Coordination Conjunctions.
- And Conjunctions.
- Or Conjunctions.
- So Conjunctions.
- For Conjunctions.
- But Conjunctions.
- Yet Conjunctions.
- Nor Conjunctions.
What is a conjunction?
Conjunctions are used to express relationships between things in a sentence, link different clauses together, and to combine sentences.
Without conjunctions, we would be forced to use brief, simple sentences that do not express the full range of meaning we wish to communicate. Plus, only using simple sentences would sound unnaturally abrupt and disjointed.
By using different kinds of conjunctions, however, we are able to make more complex, sophisticated sentences that show a connection between actions and ideas.
Coordinating Conjunction Video
The most common conjunctions are the coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or, yet, for, so and nor. We use coordinating conjunctions between:
- Individual words
- Independent clauses
Examples of coordinating conjunction:
”And” is the most common way to add information.
“And” is used to add one element to another.
It can join words, phrases, and entire independent clauses.
- I like to run and swim.
- James and Jack are coming to the party.
- He ran, swam, and played with the other children.
- Her beautiful long hair and dark brown eyes caught their attention.
- The family moved into the new house, and the neighbors welcomed them warmly.
“Or” is used to present alternative choices or options.
- Would you like the chicken, the pork, or the beef?
- Which sport do you think is more exciting, football or hockey?
- We can go to the movies tonight, or we can just hang out at home.
- At the gym, I usually either lift weights or use the treadmill.
- Which fruits do you like more, apples or bananas?
- Go home, or I will call your mother.
“So” is generally only used to join two independent clauses, where the second clause is a result of the first.
- He was exhausted, so he went to bed early.
- She was the most qualified candidate, so we gave her the job.
- He has been working harder lately, so his grades are improving.
- I am hungry, so I am going to get something to eat.
- You were late, so you took a special car.
For is used to give a reason for something. It can normally only join two independent clauses, introducing the second clause as the reason for the first one. We can use for whenever we mean because, but it is considered quite formal, literary, and even antiquated.
- I believe you, for you have never lied to me before.
- He did not come to the party, for he felt sick.
- I wish you had been there, for we had a wonderful time.
- Students have to read their textbooks, for each class is based on what students read.
- I go to the park every Friday, for I love to watch the ducks on the lake.
But, is used to present a contrast with previous information. It can be used to join an independent clause to a phrase or another independent clause.
- I want to go shopping, but I can’t.
- He was upset but did not cry.
- I would love to travel more, but I just do not have the time.
- She wants to buy a car, but she can’t afford to.
- The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave.
Yet, like but, is used to present contrast. However, there is a subtle implication when we use yet that the information is surprising in light of what we already know.
- The movie was depressing yet uplifting at the same time.
- It’s poured rain all day, yet they haven’t canceled the football game.
- I have read hundreds of books since high school, yet The Catcher in the Rye is still my favorite.
- He is seventy-two, yet he still swims, runs, and plays football regularly.
- Ahmad plays basketball well, yet his favorite sport is badminton.
Nor is one of the most limited coordinating conjunctions. It’s used to present an additional negative idea when a negative idea has already been stated.
- He does not like football, nor does he enjoy hockey.
- I have never seen that movie, nor do I want to see it.
- She has not been to Paris, nor has she travelled to Rome.
- We do not gamble, nor do we smoke.
- Sara likes neither milk, nor cream cake.