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Grammar Lesson: Coordinating and Correlative Conjunctions: The Seventh Part of Speech

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 10, 2010

The Coordinating Conjunction

The conjunction, the seventh part of speech, connects words or groups of words. In the sentence, "The video producer and the singer selected an interesting location for the shoot," the conjunction and connects the two nouns producer and singer. Similarly, in the sentence, "You can swim or jog during the afternoon class," the conjunction or joins the two verbs swim and jog.

A coordinating conjunction is a single connecting word. The seven coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. An easy way to remember these seven conjunctions is the acronym FANBOYS, in which the first letter of each conjunction is used.

Activity

Underline the coordinating conjunction in each of these sentences.

  1. I will not be able to go to the field for I have not completed my science project.
  2. Paola would like to be here with us, yet she has to watch over her younger sisters today.
  3. This seems like a terrific plan, but I am not sure that the town can afford such a high tab.
  4. Perhaps you or your neighbors will be able to organize the block party this year.
  5. Do you think that we should put the paint on now so it will have time to dry?

Answers

  1. for
  2. yet
  3. but
  4. or
  5. so

The Correlative Conjunction

Just as the coordinating conjunction does, the correlative conjunction joins words or groups of words.

Here are the five pairs of correlative conjunctions.

      Whether … or
      Neither … nor
      Both … and
      Either … or
      Not only … but also

Note: Using only the first letter of the first word in each pair of correlative conjunctions, the mnemonic WNBEN will help you to remember these correlative conjunctions.

Whether the shark swims near the town beach or remains out at sea is the mayor's concern in the movie.

Neither the Olympics nor the World Series attracted the expected number of television viewers this year.

Emma likes to play both basketball and soccer.

You may select either the vacation or the car for your prize.

Not only will Desiree donate money to her favorite charity, but she will also volunteer at the group's annual fund-raiser.

Activity

Select a pair of correlative conjunctions to complete each sentence.

  1. _____ the machine has been repaired _____ if it is still broken will affect our work schedule.
  2. _____ the ventriloquist _____ the magician will accept our invitation to perform at the graduation party.
  3. Marcelle enjoys playing with _____ dogs _____ cats.
  4. The competent writer uses _____ poor word choice vague _____ details in her articles.
  5. _____ will Olivia attend the meeting, _____ she will _____ chair the proceedings.

Answers

(These are possible answers.)

  1. Whether...or
  2. Either...or; Both...and; Neither...nor
  3. both...and; either...or; neither...nor
  4. neither...nor
  5. Not only...but also
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