When we write, we use
conjunctions to “connect words, phrases,
and clauses, showing the relationship between and
among them,” as Scharton and Neuleib
describe (2001, p. 196).
There are four types of conjunctions that writers
can use. Let's review each type as a way to
reflect on the different kinds of relationships that
conjunctions can be used to reveal.
Coordinating conjunctions should used when the
elements have an equal relationship.
Examples of coordinating conjunctions include
for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.
Ex. Hall does not deny that the early colonists were
overwhelmingly Christian, but he does
recognize that not everyone practiced his or her
religion with the same zeal and fervor that is
generally assumed in Puritan communities.
Note that with this type of conjunction, you are
connecting two sentences (making a compound
sentence). In order to
prevent this compound sentence from being a run-on sentence, a comma
must precede the coordinating conjunction.
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs and
also connect equal elements. Examples of
correlative conjunctions include either…or,
whether…or, not only…but also, both…and, and
Ex. It is another interesting phenomenon of history
that any conflict within post-World War II Germany,
whether between the two Germanys or
between two sets of Germans, often resulted in one
side’s claiming that the other used had fascist tactics.
Subordinating conjunctions are used to show the relationship of the subordinate
clause (a group of related words that contains a
subject and predicate but cannot stand alone) to the
rest of the sentence. Examples of
subordinating conjunctions include while,
after, until, when, where, before, if, that, unless,
because, although, though, and whether.
Ex. Sherry walked to school this morning
because her car battery was dead.
While they are not true conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs
often function as conjunctions. They don't show
relationships within a sentence, but rather show the
relationship between two independent
clauses (a complete sentence, or a group of related
words that contain a subject, a predicate, and can
stand alone). Examples of conjunctive adverbs
include also, consequently,
furthermore, however, indeed, instead, meanwhile,
moreover, nonetheless, similarly, therefore, thus,
besides, next, specifically, and subsequently.
Ex. A first glance at his bibliography gives the
appearance that the work may rely somewhat heavily
on secondary source material; however, a
number of primary sources are also used, and it
should be noted that the publication dates of the
secondary source material range throughout the span
of the study.
Note that two complete sentences are
connected. Therefore, a semicolon is needed. The
semicolon shows that the two sentences are closely
related and that the writer wants the two sentences to stay linked in the
writer’s mind, while showing where one sentence ends
and the next one begins. Notice also that a comma
follows the conjunctive adverb.
earned her BA at the University of Houston-Victoria and is
pursuing graduate studies in history at Texas A&M
University-Corpus Christi. She has worked as a writing tutor
at the Student Success Center for two years.
(2000). In Longman Advanced American Dictionary.
Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
Scharton, M. & Neuleib,
J. (2001). Things your grammar never told you (2nd. ed.). New