What is a conjunction?
Think of them as gluing words. They glue words, phrases, and clauses together.
If you'd like to have your friend bring music and snacks to your party, it's pretty hard to do it without a conjunction.
You could say, "Bring music. Bring snacks." But it's more efficient to say, "Bring music and snacks." And it's more polite to say, "Please bring music and snacks." :)
Do you see how the conjunction and glues the words music and snacks together?
Okay, read this question and then try to answer it with your eyes closed. What is a conjunction?
How did you do? Did you remember that they join words, phrases, and clauses? Let's look at a few more examples.
In all of those examples, we used the conjunction and, one of the most common conjunctions.
But, of course, there are many more conjunctions out there.
All conjunctions perform the same basic function (gluing things together), but there are three types of conjunctions, and you'll be learning about them next!
1. Coordinating Conjunctions
2. Subordinating Conjunctions
3. Correlative Conjunctions
To see a list of these conjunctions, click here.
There are only seven of these!
for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Some people remember these with the acronym FANBOYS. They glue together sentence elements that are the same.
This sentence diagram shows a coordinating conjunction joining two independent clauses. Click here to learn more about diagramming coordinating conjunctions.
A dependent adverb clause is group of words with a subject and a verb that functions as a single adverb. Click on that link above to learn more about them if you'd like. They are introduced by subordinating conjunctions.
Subordinating Conjunctions (Adverb Clauses)
unless you are allergic
whenever I see your cat
since you are coming
Those are not complete sentences. They all have subjects (you, I, you) and verbs (are, see, are coming), but since they cannot stand alone, they are subordinate clauses.
An independent clause is also a group of words with a subject and a verb. But, unlike a subordinate clause, an independent clause can stand alone.
I will bring my cat.
I won't bring my cat.
These are all complete sentences. They all have subjects (I), verbs (will bring, sneeze, won't bring), and they can stand alone.
Subordinating conjunctions let us join subordinate adverb clauses with independent clauses.
I will bring my cat unless you are allergic.
Whenever I see your cat, I sneeze.
Since you are coming, I won't bring my cat.
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs (either...or, both...and), but they have the same function as coordinating conjunctions. That means that they join things that are the same.
Both David and I are allergic to cats.
Either Mom or Dad will pick you up.
He is both intelligent and good-natured.
You've been working so hard learning about conjunctions. Now you should go have a snack. Here's what I recommend! Mmm...
Chocolate and almonds taste delicious.
Now you can answer all of those people who keep asking you, "Excuse me, what is a conjunction?"
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