A conjunction may be used to indicate the relationship between the ideas expressed in a clause and the ideas expressed in the rest of a sentence. The conjunctions in the following examples are printed in bold type.
e.g. We could go to the library, or we could go to the park.
He neither finished his homework nor studied for the test.
I went out because the sun was shining.
- Coordinate conjunctions
Coordinate conjunctions are used to join two similar grammatical constructions; for instance, two words, two phrases or two clauses.
e.g. My friend and I will attend the meeting.
Austria is famous for the beauty of its landscape and the hospitality of its people.
The sun rose and the birds began to sing.
In these examples, the coordinate conjunction and is used to join the two words friend and I, the two phrases the beauty of its landscape and the hospitality of its people, and the two clauses the sun rose and the birds began to sing.
The most commonly used coordinate conjunctions are and, but and or. In addition, the words nor and yet may be used as coordinate conjunctions. In the following table, each coordinate conjunction is followed by its meaning and an example of its use. Note the use of inverted word order in the clause beginning with nor.
Coordinate Conjunctions and their meanings and examples
|and: in addition||She tried and succeeded.|
|but: however||They tried but did not succeed.|
|or: alternatively||Did you go out or stay at home?|
|nor: and neither||I did not see it, nor did they.|
|yet: however||The sun is warm, yet the air is cool.|
As illustrated above, when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which have the same subject, the subject need not be repeated. For instance, in the example she tried and succeeded, the pronoun she acts as the subject for both the verb tried and the verb succeeded.
It should also be noted that when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which do not have the same subject, the two coordinate clauses may be separated by a comma or semicolon, in order to make the meaning clear.
Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences, and to the presence of inverted word order, fill in the blanks with the correct coordinate conjunctions chosen from the pairs given in brackets.
I would like to come, ___ I do not have time. (but, nor)
I would like to come, but I do not have time.
He has not written, ___ has he called me. (but, nor)
He has not written, nor has he called me.
1. I opened the door _________ looked out. (and, yet)
2. She was not in the back yard, _________ was she upstairs. (or, nor)
3. The sun had set, _________ it was still light outside. (or, yet)
4. Do you know his address _________ telephone number? (but, or)
5. He has not arrived yet, _________ have they. (and, nor)
6. I read the book, _________ did not understand it. (but, or)
7. We searched diligently, ________ found nothing. (or, yet)
8. I invited him _________ his friends. (and, but)
Paying attention to the expressions used in the following sentences, fill in the blanks with the words and, but also, nor, or, than, then and when, as appropriate.
We should either walk quickly __ take the bus.
We should either walk quickly or take the bus.
I had scarcely sat down ____ the telephone rang.
I had scarcely sat down when the telephone rang.
1. I have both respect _________ admiration for them.
2. Hardly had I finished reading over the problem, _________ the answer leapt to my mind.
3. It will rain either today _________ tomorrow.
4. He could not decide whether to tell the truth _________ keep silent.
5. It was not only a beautiful day, ___________ the first day of Spring.
6. If you follow the instructions, __________ you should have no difficulty.
7. He is neither proud _________ condescending.
8. What with one thing _________ another, it was very late by the time we left the house.
9. No sooner had I opened my eyes, _________ I remembered where I was.
10. Scarcely had I heard the news, _________ my friend arrived.
11. I do not know whether he has seen the movie before ________ not.
12. I would rather wait here _________ risk missing the bus.
13. She could find the book neither at the Library, _________ at the bookstore.
14. No sooner had I opened the window, _________ a butterfly flew into the room.
15. The crowd was both large _________ enthusiastic.
Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences, fill in the blanks with the correct subordinate conjunctions or similar expressions chosen from the pairs given in brackets.
I went for a walk _______ the sun was shining. (because, otherwise)
I went for a walk because the sun was shining.
Do you know _______ the stores are open today? (as if, whether)
Do you know whether the stores are open today?
1. We recognized her at once, ____________ we had not seen her for years. (although, in case)
2. He kept reading ___________ he fell asleep. (for, until)
3. The moon will rise ____________ the sun sets. (as soon as, than)
4. It looks ____________ the train will be late. (while, as though)
5. ____________ she got her degree, she became a teacher. (After, Than)
6. We will not go skiing ____________ the weather is good. (as if, unless)
7. ____________ he left, he made sure he had his keys with him. (Before, For)
8. ____________ I told the truth, you would not believe me. (Even if, So that)
9. They have known her ___________ she was a child. (until, since)
10. I must leave now, ____________ I have a great deal of work to do. (as, than)
11. What shall we do ____________ it rains? (or else, supposing)
12. ____________ you read this book, you would be sure to enjoy it. (If, Until)
13. The door was open, ____________ we could hear everything. (in case, so)
14. I studied more ____________ he did. (than, whereas)
15. We packed a lunch, ____________ we knew we would soon be hungry. (lest, for)
16. I will join you, ____________ the weather is fine. (providing, than)
17. ____________ he is very busy, he is seldom at home. (Or else, Because)
18. We must hurry, ___________ we will be late. (so that, or else)
For each of the following sentences, paying attention to the structure of the sentence, fill in the blank with either the conjunction or the preposition given in brackets.
_______ my warning, they went ahead with their plan. (Although, Despite)
Despite my warning, they went ahead with their plan.
________ the sun was shining, the water was cold. (Although, Despite)
Although the sun was shining, the water was cold.
The price of oranges is high, __________ frost damage. (because, because of)
The price of oranges is high, because of frost damage. (because, because of)
I went to see the play, _______ it had good reviews. (because, because of)
I went to see the play, because it had good reviews. (because, because of)
1. We stayed up late, ____________ we were tired. (although, despite)
2. They went swimming, ____________ the coldness of the water. (although, despite)
3. I enjoy the course, ____________ the professor is a good teacher. (because, because of)
4. She looks ___________ your sister. (as if, like)
5. Please wait ___________ I make a phone call. (during, while)
6. Did you hear any noises ____________ the night? (during, while)
7. It looked ____________ we would not be able to leave until the next day. (as if, like)
8. We all felt tired ____________ the hot weather. (because, because of)
9. I read a book ___________ I was waiting. (during, while)
10. Her eyes shone _____________ stars. (as if, like)
11. They managed to work together, ___________ their differences of opinion. (although, despite)
12. I left home early, ____________ I had to do several errands. (because, because of)
13. He speaks about the subject ____________ he were an expert. (as if, like)
14. We rested ____________ the hottest part of the day. (during, while)
15. ____________ she lost her way twice, she arrived safely. (Although, Despite)
16. ____________ their interest in comets, they decided to study astronomy. (Because, Because of)
Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences, fill in the blanks with the correct connecting adverbs chosen from the pairs given in brackets.
Will you come with me? _________ I shall have to go alone. (Also, Otherwise)
Will you come with me? Otherwise I shall have to go alone.
She is kind. _______, she is rather forgetful. (However, Consequently)
She is kind. However, she is rather forgetful.
1. The work was new to me. ____________, it did not seem difficult. (Consequently, Nevertheless)
2. Continue along Queen Street. ____________ turn left. (Then, Therefore)
3. It was very misty. ______________, we could not get a clear view of the mountain. (Hence, However)
4. We had walked several miles. ____________, we did not feel tired. (Accordingly, Still)
5. She is a talented actress. ____________, she is very beautiful. (Moreover, Thus)
6. We take the bus every day. __________, we are familiar with the bus route. (Nevertheless, Thus)
7. The child was sleepy. ______________, we went home early. (Otherwise, Therefore)
8. The food was delicious. _____________, the service was excellent. (Likewise, Nevertheless)
9. We looked everywhere. _____________, we could not find the keys. (However, Thus)
10. The book is long. _____________, the vocabulary is difficult. (Consequently, Furthermore)
11. Luckily, the moon was bright. ______________, we could not have seen the path. (Accordingly, Otherwise)
12. He is old. _____________, his mind is still active. (Nonetheless, Therefore)
Paying attention to the structure of the sentences, fill in the blanks with the conjunctions or connecting adverbs given in brackets. Make sure that the sentences conform to the rules of correct formal English.
It was very hot. ____________, we decided to go swimming. (Consequently, So)
It was very hot. Consequently, we decided to go swimming.
It was very hot, __ we decided to go swimming. (Consequently, So)
It was very hot, so we decided to go swimming.
1. I have invited him. ____________, I have invited his sister. (Also, And)
2. He walked up to the door ____________ knocked. (and, likewise)
3. The bus fare is expensive; ____________, I prefer to walk. (so, therefore)
4. She is well-educated. ____________, she has very good manners. (And, Besides)
5. I would rather travel by train, ___________ the bus leaves earlier. (but, however)
6. We were born in this village; ____________, we know everyone here. (hence, so that)
7. Put less wood on the fire, ___________ it will be too smoky. (or, otherwise)
8. They got off the train. __________ they began to search for a hotel. (And, Then)
9. She studied for many months; ____________, she knew the material thoroughly. (consequently, so that)
10. The weather was hot; ____________, the air was humid. (and, moreover)
11. Please come with us, ____________ I can introduce you to my friends. (thus, so that)
12. The sun was warm, ____________ a cool breeze blew in from the sea. (but, however)
13. I have read this book before; ____________, I do not remember the plot. (but, however)
14. They were hot ____________ tired. (also, and)
15. The door was locked; ____________, we would have waited inside. (or, otherwise)
16. I have known her for many years; ____________, I understand her character well. (so that, thus)
17. We opened the window ____________ fresh air would blow into the room. (consequently, so that)
18. He is ignorant; ____________, he is lazy. (and, furthermore)
19. They visited many stores; ___________, they could not find what they were looking for. (but, however)
20. You should go to sleep now, ____________ you will be tired tomorrow. (or, otherwise)
21. I was worried; ___________, I was determined not to show it. (but, nevertheless)
The following sentences are incorrect, because they contain correlative conjunctions, but do not use parallel construction. Rewrite the sentences correctly, using parallel construction.
He owns both a typewriter and he has a word processor.
Corrected: He owns both a typewriter and a word processor.
I prefer either to read or going hiking.
Corrected: I prefer either to read or to go hiking.
1. The train proceeded neither quickly nor was it smooth.
2. They will leave either today or they will go tomorrow.
3. The child hates both getting up in the morning and to go to bed at night.
4. She is neither kind nor has patience.
5. He is not only talented, but also he has charm.
6. The street is lined with both oak trees and there are elm trees.
7. The lecture was not only very long but also it was very dull.
8. You should either eat less, or should exercise more.
9. I am not only proud to be here, but also feel happy to meet you.
10. The town is both historical and it is picturesque.
The following sentences are incorrect, because they present lists of ideas, but do not use parallel construction. Rewrite the sentences correctly, using parallel construction.
The air was cool, dry, and was clear.
Corrected: The air was cool, dry, and clear.
He has started making kites and to fly them.
Corrected: He has started making kites and flying them.
1. We walked out of the door, down the steps and went across the street.
2. She loves singing, dancing and to play the piano.
3. The wind moaned, shrieked and was howling.
4. The music was fast, brilliant and sounded exciting.
5. He proposes to borrow money, open a store and going into business.
6. The town boasts four libraries, two theaters and there are many schools.
7. The clouds were thick, black and looked threatening.
8. He likes running, jumping and to ride a bicycle.
9. They worked carefully, quickly and were quiet.
10. The vegetables were fresh, tender and tasted delicious.
- Correlative conjunctions
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, in order to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence. For instance, in the following example, the expression either … or is used to indicate that the ideas expressed in the two clauses represent two alternative choices of action.
e.g. Either you should study harder, or you should take a different course.
The most commonly used correlative conjunctions are both … and, either … or and neither … nor. In the table below, each pair of correlative conjunctions is accompanied by an example of its use. Note that in the construction if … then, the word then can usually be omitted.
|both … and||He is both intelligent and good-natured.|
|either … or||I will either go for a walk or read a book.|
|neither … nor||He is neither rich nor famous.|
|hardly … when||He had hardly begun to work, when he was interrupted.|
|if … then||If that is true, then what happened is not surprising.|
|no sooner … than||No sooner had I reached the corner, than the bus came.|
|not only … but also||She is not only clever, but also hard-working.|
|rather … than||I would rather go swimming than go to the library.|
|scarcely … when||Scarcely had we left home, when it started to rain.|
|what with … and||What with all her aunts, uncles and cousins, she has many relatives.|
|whether … or||Have you decided whether you will come or not?|
- Subordinate conjunctions
As has been seen in previous chapters, subordinate clauses may begin with relative pronouns such as that, what, whatever, which, who and whom, as well as with words such as how, when, where, wherever and why. In the following examples, the subordinate clauses are underlined.
e.g. The house, which stood on a hill, could be seen for miles.
I wonder how he did that.
In addition, subordinate clauses may also begin with words which are commonly referred to as subordinate conjunctions. In the following examples, the subordinate conjunctions are printed in bold type.
Because it was cold, I wore my winter coat.
Let us wait until the rain stops.
The subordinate conjunctions below are accompanied by their meanings and examples of use.
1. because: As he is my friend, I will help him.
2. when: We watched as the plane took off.
1. later in time: After the train left, we went home.
Although or though
1. in spite of the fact that: Although it was after midnight, we did not feel tired.
1. earlier than: I arrived before the stores were open.
1. for the reason that: We had to wait, because we arrived early.
1. for, because: He is happy, for he enjoys his work.
1. on condition that: If she is here, we will see her.
1. for fear that: I watched closely, lest he make a mistake.
Note the use of the Subjunctive Mood in the clause with lest.
Providing or provided
1. on condition that: All will be well, providing you are careful.
1. from a past time: I have been here since the sun rose.
2. as, because: Since you are here, you can help me.
So or so that
1. consequently: It was raining, so we did not go out.
2. in order that: I am saving money so I can buy a bicycle.
Note: When used with the meaning in order that, so is usually followed by that in formal English.
e.g. I am saving money so that I can buy a bicycle.
1. if: Supposing that happens, what will you do?
1. used in comparisons: He is taller than you are.
1. except when, if not: Unless he helps us, we cannot succeed.
Until or till
1. up to the time when: I will wait until I hear from you.
1. because: Whereas this is a public building, it is open to everyone.
2. on the other hand: He is short, whereas you are tall.
1. if: I do not know whether she was invited.
1. at the time when: While it was snowing, we played cards.
2. on the other hand: He is rich, while his friend is poor.
3. although: While I am not an expert, I will do my best.
In addition, the following phrases are often used at the beginning of subordinate clauses.
1. in a similar way: She talks as if she knows everything.
As long as
1. if: As long as we cooperate, we can finish the work easily.
2. while: He has lived there as long as I have known him.
As soon as
1. immediately when: Write to me as soon as you can.
1. in a similar way: It looks as though there will be a storm.
1. in spite of a possibility: I am going out even if it rains.
1. because of a possibility: Take a sweater in case it gets cold.
1. otherwise: Please be careful, or else you may have an accident.
So as to
1. in order to: I hurried so as to be on time.
Certain words, such as after, before, since and until may function either as prepositions or subordinate conjunctions.
However it should be noted that in some cases different words must be used as prepositions and subordinate conjunctions, in order to express similar meanings.
This is illustrated in the table below.
Differing Prepositions and Conjunctions
|for this reason||because of||because|
|in spite of this||despite||although|
|at the time when||during||while|
|in a similar way||like||as if|
In the following examples, the objects of the prepositions, and the verbs of the subordinate clauses are underlined.
Preposition: They were upset because of the delay.
Conjunction: They were upset because they were delayed.
Preposition: Despite the rain, we enjoyed ourselves.
Conjunction: Although it rained, we enjoyed ourselves.
Preposition: We stayed indoors during the storm.
Conjunction: We stayed indoors while the storm raged.
Preposition: It looks like rain.
Conjunction: It looks as if it will rain.
In the above examples, it can be seen that the prepositions because of, despite, during and like have the noun objects delay, rain and storm; whereas the subordinate conjunctions because, although, while and as if introduce subordinate clauses containing the verbs were delayed, rained, raged and will rain.
It should be noted that like is sometimes used as a subordinate conjunction in informal English.
e.g. It looks like it will rain.
However, this use of like is considered incorrect in formal English.
- Connecting adverbs
Connecting adverbs are often used to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in a clause and the ideas expressed in a preceding clause, sentence or paragraph. In the following examples, the connecting adverbs are printed in bold type.
e.g. I wanted to study; however, I was too tired.
We knew what to expect. Therefore, we were not surprised at what happened.
In the first example, the connecting adverb however shows that there is a conflict between the idea expressed in the clause I was too tired and the idea expressed in the preceding clause I wanted to study. In the second example, the connecting adverb therefore shows that there is a cause and effect relationship between the idea expressed in the sentence we knew what to expect, and the clause we were not surprised at what happened.
Connecting adverbs are similar to conjunctions in that both may be used to introduce clauses. However, the use of connecting adverbs differs from that of conjunctions in the ways indicated below.
a. Stress and punctuation
In spoken English, a connecting adverb is usually given more stress than a conjunction. Correspondingly, in formal written English a connecting adverb is usually separated from the rest of a clause by commas, whereas a conjunction is usually not separated from the rest of a clause by commas.
In addition, in formal written English a clause containing a connecting adverb is often separated from a preceding clause by a semicolon; whereas a clause beginning with a conjunction is usually not separated from a preceding clause by a semicolon.
e.g. I wanted to study; however, I was too tired.
I wanted to study, but I was too tired.
In the first example, the connecting adverb however is preceded by a semicolon, and is separated from I was too tired by a comma. In the second example, the conjunction but is preceded by a comma rather than by a semicolon, and is not separated from I was too tired by a comma.
It should be noted that when no conjunction is present, a semicolon may be used to connect two main clauses. For example:
The clouds dispersed; the moon rose.
In this example, the two main clauses the clouds dispersed and the moon rose are connected by a semicolon rather than by a conjunction.
b. Connecting adverbs used to connect sentences
Unlike conjunctions, connecting adverbs may be used in formal English to show the relationship between ideas expressed in separate sentences. For example:
The wind was strong. Thus, I felt very cold.
In this example, the connecting adverb thus shows that there is a cause and effect relationship between the ideas expressed by the two sentences the wind was strong and I felt very cold.
In informal English, coordinate conjunctions are sometimes used to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in separate sentences. For example:
The wind was strong. And I felt very cold.
However, this use of coordinate conjunctions is considered to be grammatically incorrect in formal English.
c. Position in a clause
A subordinate conjunction must usually be placed at the beginning of a clause. However, as was seen in the discussion on adverbs, a connecting adverb may be placed at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a clause. This is illustrated below.
e.g. His visit was unexpected. Nevertheless, I was pleased to see him.
His visit was unexpected. I was, nevertheless, pleased to see him.
His visit was unexpected. I was pleased to see him, nevertheless.
d. Examples of connecting adverbs
The following are examples of words which may be used as connecting adverbs. Each connecting adverb is followed by its meaning and an example of its use.
|accordingly: so||He was very persuasive; accordingly, I did what he asked.|
|also: in addition||She is my neighbor; she is also my best friend.|
|besides: in addition||I like the job. Besides, I need the money.|
|consequently: so||She had a fever; consequently, she stayed at home.|
|furthermore: in addition||You should stop smoking. Furthermore, you should do it at once!|
|hence: for that reason||He is a good friend. Hence, I was not embarrassed to ask him for help.|
|however: but||We wanted to arrive on time; however, we were delayed by traffic.|
|likewise: in addition||The region is beautiful. Likewise, the climate is excellent.|
|moreover: in addition||She is very intelligent; moreover, she is very ambitious.|
|nevertheless: but||They are proud. Nevertheless, I like them.|
|nonetheless: but||The ascent was dangerous. Nonetheless, he decided to attempt it.|
|otherwise: if not, or else||We should consult them; otherwise, they may be upset.|
|still: but||It is a long way to the beach. Still, it is a fine day to go swimming.|
|then: 1. next, afterwards||We went shopping, then we had lunch.|
|2. so||If you are sure, then I must believe you.|
|therefore: for that reason||I was nervous; therefore, I could not do my best.|
|thus: so, in this way||He travelled as quickly as possible. Thus, he reached Boston the next day.|
As indicated in the following table, several connecting adverbs have meanings similar to those of the conjunctions and, but or so.
Connecting Adverbs with meanings similar to And, But and So
|Similar to And||Similar to But||Similar to So|
- Parallel construction
The repetition of a particular grammatical construction is often referred to as parallel construction. This is illustrated in the following examples.
e.g. I am neither angry nor excited.
The resort contains tennis courts, swimming pools and a snack bar.
In the first example, the two phrases neither angry and nor excited exhibit parallel construction. In the second example, the three phrases tennis courts, swimming pools and a snack bar exhibit parallel construction.
In English, it is considered preferable to use parallel construction whenever parallel ideas are expressed.
Thus, whenever possible, parallel construction should be employed when correlative conjunctions are used. In the following example, the correlative conjunctions are printed in bold type.
e.g. Incorrect: He has both a good education, and he has good work habits.
Corrected: He has both a good education and good work habits.
The first sentence is incorrect, since both and and are followed by different grammatical constructions. Both is followed by the phrase a good education; whereas and is followed by the clause he has good work habits. The second sentence has been corrected by changing the clause he has good work habits into the phrase good work habits.
The following example illustrates the use of parallel construction with the correlative conjunctions neither … nor.
e.g. Incorrect: She turned neither right nor to the left.
Corrected: She turned neither right nor left.
or Corrected: She turned neither to the right nor to the left.
The first sentence is incorrect, since neither is followed by a single word; whereas nor is followed by a prepositional phrase. The second sentence has been corrected by changing the phrase to the left to the word left. Alternatively, as shown in the third sentence, two prepositional phrases can be used.
Parallel construction should also be used when listing a series of ideas. For example:
Incorrect: The hotel is charming, well-situated and is not expensive.
Corrected: The hotel is charming, well-situated and inexpensive.
The first sentence is incorrect, since the first two items in the series, charming and well-situated, are adjectives, whereas the last item, is not expensive, contains a verb. The second sentence has been corrected by changing is not expensive to the adjective inexpensive.
The following is another example of the use of parallel construction when listing a series of ideas.
e.g. Incorrect: I like to ski, skating and swimming.
Corrected: I like skiing, skating and swimming.
The first sentence is incorrect, since the first item in the series, to ski, is an infinitive, whereas the second and third items, skating and swimming, are gerunds. The second sentence has been corrected by changing the infinitive to ski to the gerund skiing.