A weekly grammar tip created by Academic Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
by John Davis
Quite often sentences have two or more elements that need to be linked in order for the sentence make sense. Any of the following coordinating conjunctions can be used to join nouns, verbs, and independent clauses:
Linking Independent Clauses
Using coordinating conjunctions can become more complex when you link independent clauses. A decision has to be made about the meaning of the sentence before the appropriate coordinating conjunction can be used.
Here are some of the ways these conjunctions are used:
AND: used to group similar elements together
Ex: Steve won the gold medal for the ten-meter dash at last week’s track meet, and he also won the silver medal for the long jump at yesterday’s field tournament.
OR: used to denote an alternative
Ex: The manager should communicate guidelines for employees to follow, or the workers may become confused about organizational procedures.
BUT: used to qualify or restrict the first independent clause. It also can be used to contrast the first independent clause with the second or to provide an exception to the first independent clause.
Ex: The red wire should be connected to the upper terminal of the fuse, but the red wire needs to be connected to the lower terminal if the fuse was made before 1980.
SO: used to show cause and effect by introducing the effect
Ex: The officer filled out her paper work quickly, so she could get home on time for dinner.
FOR: used to show cause and effect by introducing the cause (less common, generally used for literary effect)
Ex: Diane leaves her house an hour early, for the traffic is too heavy at rush hour to get to work on time.
NOR: used to continue a negative (typically seen as “…neither…nor…”)
Ex: The additional act in the play was neither part of the original manuscript, nor did the writer approve of its inclusion.
Notice the inverted word order of the second independent clause.
YET: used to show a discrepancy being discussed by the two clauses. Like but, yet can show contrast or contradiction.
Ex: Cigarette companies maintain that they did not know about the harmful effects of tobacco, yet the memos discovered in their offices proved that the companies were aware that smoking causes lung cancer.
Coordinating conjunctions—and, or, but, nor, for, so, yet—join words, phrases and clauses of equal grammatical rank. (Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers)
Clause: A clause is a group of related words that contains a subject and a predicate. A subject is what the words are about, and a predicate is the actions or descriptions that apply to the subject. For instance in the clause George is tired, George is the subject and is tired is the predicate. Adapted from Harbrace College Handbook.
Independent Clause: A clause that can make a sentence by itself; for example, He woke up in the sentence He woke up when he heard the bell. (Longman Advanced American Dictionary)
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by John Davis
For more information on coordinating conjunctions, visit The Tongue Untied.
|Test Your Knowledge
by John Davis
Each exercise has two independent clauses. Combine the independent clauses with conjunctions to form one complete sentence.
1. The family respected him. They didn’t like him.
2. Steve went to the store. He went to the dentist.
3. Debbie put her key in the ignition. She could start the car.
4. Asparagus is healthy for you. It doesn’t taste good.
2.Steve went to the store, and he went to the dentist.
3.Debbie put her key in the ignition, so she could start the car.
4.Asparagus is healthy for you, but it doesn’t taste good.
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