Prepositions and Conjunctions for English Grammar (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 12, 2011


Conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses. They are classified as coordinating or subordinating. Subordinating conjunctions join only clauses. Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses:

    He and I, She or I   (coordinating conjunctions joining words)
    The chair in the living room and the one in the den; the red car or the blue car   (coordinating conjunctions joining phrases)
    She has been nominated, but I hope she will withdraw.   (coordinating conjunction joining clauses)
    There still is time to get to the game, for we have fifteen minutes.   (coordinating conjunction joining clauses)

The most common coordinating conjunctions are and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. (So and yet sometimes act as subordinating conjunctions.)

Other conjunctions classified as coordinating are the so-called correlatives, which occur in pairs: either or, neithernor, not only...but, not only...but also, and both...and:

    Either you leave at once or I shall call the police.
    Neither Jane nor Alice deserves to be considered for promotion.
    Not only has the nation suffered domestically, but our reputation abroad is poor.
    Not only does she write maudlin novels, but she also writes bathetic poetry.
    Both coffee and tea were drunk to excess.

As can be seen, coordinating conjunctions are used to connect sentence elements that have equivalent value.

Subordinating conjunctions connect sentence elements—clauses—of less than equal value. The most common subordinating conjunctions are after, although, as, as if, as long as, because, before, how, if, in order that, since, so, so that, though, till, unless, until, when, where, wherever, while, why, and yet. The relative pronouns that, what, which, and who also act as subordinating conjunctions.

The following sentences show some uses of subordinating conjunctions:

    I will take care of her after the doctor has gone.
    I cannot take all the blame, although I will accept partial responsibility.
    They arrived in our town before the others did.
    They have been studying Latin since they entered second grade.
    There comes a time when all bills must be paid.
    Richard sat in the library while Jon was out on the playing field.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Prepositions and Conjunctions Practice Exercises for English Grammar

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