Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 01-12: Conjunctions


chapter 1: conjunctions

The structure class of conjunctions consists of three types:  coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and conjunctive  adverbs. Each type of conjunction joins together grammatical units in a  particular way.
Coordinating Conjunctions always join like items. For example, coordinating conjunctions can:
  • join words: peanut butter and jelly
  • join phrases: very tasty but rather fattening
  • join clauses: after he ate dinner yet before his food had digested
  • join sentences: Stan didn’t want his dog begging at the table, so he put the dog outside.
 Since coordinating conjunctions join grammatical structures of similar form, such as words to words, phrases to phrases, clauses to clauses, or sentences to sentences, coordinating conjunctions can serve as a test when analyzing structures because they can oftentimes clarify ambiguity if you figure out what is being coordinated. Coordinating conjunctions ALWAYS coordinate like items.
There are seven coordinating conjunctions. You can memorize them in alphabetical order:
 Or you can memorize them using the acronym FANBOYS: for, andnotbutoryetso.
Correlative Conjunctions consist of one of the coordinating conjunctions paired with other words that extend or modify their  meanings: both…and, either…or, neither…nor, etc.
The grammatical structures that follow each of a correlative conjunction’s parts must be of similar form:
  • noun-noun: both students and faculty
  • verb phrase-verb phrase: not only composes the music but also writes the lyrics
  • clause-clause: Either you know the answer or you don’t.
 For example,
  • I ate a sandwich.
  • I also drank a glass of milk.
  • not only ate a sandwich but also drank a glass of milk.
 Not only…but also is a correlative conjunction (a coordinating conjunction paired with other words to extend its meaning) and that joins two phrases.
Conjunctive adverbs can connect and signal relationships between two independent clauses:
  • He was looking forward to a steak dinner; however, he couldn’t pay for it.
  • The experience was mortifying. Afterwards, he didn’t tell anyone about it.
Conjunctive adverbs are like conjunctions in that they connect and signal relationships between two clauses, but are like  adverbs in the kinds of meaning they express. They include words and  phrases such as 
  • however (expressing contrast)
  • also (expressing addition)
  • accordingly (expressing cause and effect)
  • for example (expressing an example)
  • earlier (expressing time)
Grammatically, the clauses joined by conjunctive adverbs retain their status as independent clauses; therefore, they are punctuated with either semicolons or periods, NOT commas:
  • I’d like the red beans and rice; however I should stick with soup since my stomach is upset.
  • He’s an inveterate speeder. Consequently, he’s gotten a dozen moving violations.
  • We’re going to the movies. Afterwards
 Note that the punctuation preceding the conjunctive adverb is either a  semicolon or a period, as though their clauses didn’t actually contain  a conjunction.