WCCS Writing Center
A conjunction is a word or set of words that connects parts of a sentence. There are three types of
1) Coordinating Conjunctions: used to connect two independent clauses
There are seven coordinating conjunctions, and they are the only seven words in English that grammatically
connect two independent clauses when used with a comma (independent clause + comma + coordinating
conjunction + independent clause).
Use the acronym FANBOYS to help memorize these important words.
Example: I have been studying for a long time, so I feel ready to earn a good grade on the test today.
*Note: To act as a coordinating conjunction and not a preposition, for must introduce the reason for the
preceding clause. Ex: Sarah couldn’t stop smiling during class, for she had finally earned an A.
2) Subordinate Conjunctions: used to show the relationship between a dependent clause (has a subject
and predicate but is missing a complete thought) and an independent clause (can stand alone as its own
sentence). Here are some of the most common subordinate conjunctions:
as, since, because: used to introduce the cause in a cause/effect relationship
Example: I am going to the store because I am hungry.
although, even though, though, whereas, while: used to express contrast between ideas
Example: Although I am tired, I will study as long as needed to understand the material.
before, after: used to show time
Example: She decided to take a nap after she had studied for several hours.
Other common subordinate conjunctions: how, until, if, unless, when, whenever, as long as, as if, as, in
order that, inasmuch, before, while, wherever
3) Correlative Conjunctions: used to link parallel (balanced) words, phrases, and clauses
These are the primary correlative conjunctions in English:
both . . . and
either . . . or
neither . . . nor
not . . . but
not only . . . but also
Other pairs that sometimes have a coordinating function include the following:
as . . . as
just as . . . so
the more . . . the less
the more . . . the more
so . . . as
whether . . . or
Example: I will either go to work early in the morning or stay late tonight to finish the work.