FROM THE WRITING CENTER
@ THE A.R.C.
Sometimes, you may need to convey multiple ideas or actions in a sentence. To do this, you use
conjunctions to connect clauses in your sentences. These are very useful in that they can help
shorten, as well as vary, your sentences within your writing.
In this Module, you will:
Learn what a conjunction is.
Discover some common conjunctions.
Develop an understanding of how to use conjunctions.
What is a Conjunction?
A conjunction is a word that is used to connect or JOIN a sentence or clause.
A great way to remember is: *Join…conJunction* (think of the J!)
Another way to remember is to know the definition of “conjoin,” which is to Join or unite.
FANBOYS: the acronym used to symbolize the names of the coordinating conjunctions. For, And,
Nor, But, Yet, So.
If used to connect two independent clauses, it will have a comma with it.
Most common coordinating conjunctions are, “and,” “but,” and “or.”
Some conjunctions combine with other words to form what are called correlative conjunctions.
They always travel in pairs, joining various sentence elements that should be treated as grammatically
“Not only,” “but also,” “neither-nor.”
A subordinating conjunction is a dependent word that comes before a dependent clause and sets the
stage for the rest of the sentence. It introduces a subordinate clause that adds a caveat or additional
detail to an idea or statement.
It also turns the clause into something that depends on the rest of the sentence for its meaning.
Examples: because, unless, though/as though, as long as.
Appropriate Usage Vs. Inappropriate
I sent in my application and checked my email immediately after.
Sally lost her home in the storm, but she managed to save her important documents.
I went to the store and got bread. I tried to pay the clerk but I only had quarters, so she needed cash.
This sentence is incorrect because of the “so.” The “so” assumes that there will be an additional idea
that does not negate the previous statement, but this sentence introduces a negative/contradictory
situation. Instead of “so” it should be “but.”
Mary sold her shoes because she couldn’t fit them anymore, but they are no longer in her
possession. This sentence is incorrect because of the “but.” “But” assumes that you are introducing
an idea to your statement that is contradictory or otherwise negates the original idea, which is not the
case in this sentence. “But” should be replaced with “so.”
Conjunctions help to connect similar, dissimilar, and contradictory ideas. They help to vary the
writer’s phrasing and sentences, as well as to more easily convey ideas and thoughts in a more fluid
manner. With this information on the various types of conjunctions and how to use them, you
should be able to incorporate them into your assignments and enhance your writing.