Conjunctions are like bridges – they connect words or ideas with other words or ideas within a sentence. The three main kinds of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions.
Firstly, coordinating conjunctions connect similar kinds of words or similar groups of word. Some coordinating conjunctions include: and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet
- My aunt and uncle own a bakery.
- Put the books on the table or in the shelf.
- Jimmy brought his car, so I left with him.
Meanwhile, correlative conjunctions also connect similar words or groups of words. However, they always appear in pairs. Some correlative conjunctions include: both…and, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, whether…or
- I enjoy both romance and horror movies.
- Neither Sarah nor Dean will attend the party.
- Not only was she pretty, but she could bake a mean pie!
Lastly, subordinating conjunctions connect two complete ideas by making one of the ideas subordinate to the other. Take note, “to subordinate” means to “place below another in rank or importance.”
Take a look at the following sentence: We must protect the insects because they are important to the ecosystem. The subordinating conjunction because helps to link the two ideas present in the sentence.
Here are some subordinating conjunctions every English language learner should be familiar with:
First of all, these subordinating conjunctions mean “to follow”:
- She was still suffering from nightmares, a year after the freak accident.
- Mother rushed to the hospital right after she got the call.
Next, this means “but, or despite the fact”:
- He had many admirers, although he was a known snob.
- Although I believe that you did not do it, I am afraid I have to go with the decision of the majority.
Means “for the reason that”:
- We do not allow pets in the house simply because we are all allergic to fur.
- I do not watch much television because of the migraines I always get.
Means “at or during a time earlier than…”:
- Before you make a decision, make sure that you have considered all of your options.
- He had just graduated from high school less than a week before.
Means “despite the fact that”:
- I will continue to graduate school, even though I still have not found a job.
- My father is a very successful businessman, even though he never really completed college.
Meanwhile, this is used when citing a condition. May also mean “when”:
- John and Adam have decided to move out if John gets the managerial position.
- They will continue their trip to France if Josie gets the bonus she has been waiting for.
Used in introducing a phrase that explains why something described in one part of the sentence is true or correct:
- To be fair, we were very lucky inasmuch as none of us got hurt.
- Karen thought that her boyfriend was the one, inasmuch as he reminded her so much of her beloved grandfather.
Means “for fear that”:
- Marian was walking on her toes, lest her heavy footsteps wake up the sleeping dog.
- I did not pay the full amount, lest we decide to back out later.
Used to give an explanation, usually of a new situation:
- I must admit I have not been getting much exercise, now that I have my own car.
- Everyone can see that she is enjoying the work immensely, now that she is the manager.
Means “as soon as, or when”:
- Let us head to the mall once we are done decorating the living room for the party.
- Judy will be moving to the city once she is done with her studies.
Means “if; only if”:
- Of course you can play outside, provided that you clean your room first.
- The both of you can get married, provided that you pay for everything you need for the wedding.
Means “because, or from the time in the past when”:
- Alright, I am going to tell you about how Earl and I met, since you have asked.
- Karen kept her disease a secret since she did not want anyone to worry about her health.
Means “what would happen if”. These subordinating conjunctions are often used at the beginning of a sentence:
- Suppose you had the chance to talk to your younger self, what would you say?
- Supposing I had my hair bleached platinum, do you think I would look like a popstar?
Used to join two parts of a comparison:
- I just found out that I am three months older than you.
- She surprised everyone by coming in earlier than usual.
These subordinating conjunctions are often found at the beginning of a clause or phrase. It is used in giving further information on something:
- Rudolph said that he would pick up the flowers before he comes home.
- The power went out last night that none of us were able to finish what we were doing.
Means “despite the fact that”:
- Everyone is hoping that he would recover, though the doctors have said that his chances were slim.
- I feel like I have lived here for a very long time already, though we just moved in a few weeks ago.
These subordinating conjunctions mean “until”:
- Till you finish your research, you are not yet ready to begin writing.
- Students cannot graduate till they finish all of their coursework.
Used in expressing a condition that may or may not happen unless something else happens first:
- Hannah will not allow guests to enter, unless they take their shoes off first.
- I apologize. They must have given me the wrong number, unless you are John’s wife?
Means “compared with the fact that”:
- Lucy is headstrong and charismatic, whereas Dawn is shy and aloof.
- Mammals take care of their young, whereas reptiles and some species of amphibians abandon their young at birth.
Finally, to express a possibility, this subordinating conjunction is used:
- Janet will win the competition, whether she uses her own jewelry or not.
- They will suspend school today, whether the storm comes or not.
Remember, subordinating conjunctions would usually always come before the subordinate idea. So, once you keep this in mind, you will not have any difficulty identifying these conjunctions. Do you know of any more subordinating conjunctions? Do not forget to share them with us in the comments.
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