Conjunction Definition and Examples
Sounding monotonous is one of the pitfalls that speakers and writers try to avoid. The statement, “We had plans. She canceled at the last minute,” sounds segmented because a period cuts the flow of the sentence’s message or idea. Meanwhile, “We had plans, but she canceled at the last minute” has better clarity and flow. It’s because the conjunction ‘but’ shows the contrasting events coherently.
Conjunctions improve the flow of sentences by connecting two words, phrases, or clauses. In this blog, you will learn conjunction definitions and examples, know common mistakes to avoid and test your understanding with exercises.
What is a Conjunction?
Conjunctions are a part of speech that connects ideas expressed using two or more clauses, phrases, or words together. It can be coordinating, subordinating, correlative and conjunctive adverbs.
Here are the grammatical structures that a conjunction ties together to form a sentence:
A word is a single unit of speech or writing that mostly cannot stand on its own to form meaning.
The conjunction ‘and’ and ‘or’ commonly joins words in a series.
|– I like to eat ice cream and buffalo wings.|
– She cried and screamed.
– He doesn’t know which to do first: study or sleep.
– Aryan is deciding whether to pursue medicine or engineering.
A phrase is a group of words without a subject-verb unit that helps complete a sentence.
|– My sister likes a quiet vacation before flying back home.|
– The child went to the store after playing at the park.
– She left the party because of the rowdy visitors.
– Jill does not know about the issue or the solution.
A clause is a cluster of words containing a subject-verb unit. It can be an independent clause that can stand on its own or a dependent clause that is not a complete sentence.
|– I will go to the mall when I finish my work.|
– The teacher gave us a quiz even though we were unprepared.
– He was late because he missed his bus.
– We can watch the movie if you want to.
There are different types of conjunctions: subordinating conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and adverbial conjunctions or conjunctive adverbs.
|Type of Conjunction||Examples||Conjunctions Used in Sentences|
– connect dependent or subordinate clauses and states a cause-and-effect relationship, a contrast, and two events happening together.
|although, as, because, since, whereas, while||– He claims he owns the land, although he doesn’t have any proof.|
– As the rain poured harder, we decided to stay inside.
– I had to take a taxi because I was running late.
– Since the store was closed, we had to go somewhere else
– Donna cleaned the house, whereas Mia watched TV all day.
– My sister was watching TV while I was studying for the exam.
– connect two equal grammatical structures, for example, two clauses together.
|for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so|
Acronym – FANBOYS
|– He hid his wallet for fear of being robbed.|
– I want to swim and go fishing.
– He was not happy, nor did he show any emotion.
– She wanted to go out, but her parents said no.
– Do you want to watch a movie or go for a walk?
– We had planned to go out, yet it started raining.
– They didn’t cancel the subscription, so they can still use it.
– double conjunction paired together to show alternative statements of equal grammatical weight
|either/or, neither/nor, and not only/but also||– We can either go to the library or search the internet for this homework.|
– Neither John nor Mary was able to attend the meeting.
– Both my parents and my siblings are coming for dinner.
– Not only did she finish her work early, but also she helped others with theirs.
|Adverbial Conjunctions or Conjunctive Adverbs|
– function as an adverb that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
|moreover, nevertheless, however, instead, and likewise||– He was sad. Nevertheless, he tried to cheer up his friends.|
– Marie was not feeling well; however, she still went to school.
– He wanted to go out instead of staying at home to watch TV.
– The weather got worse; moreover, it started flooding in low-lying areas.
– The exam was difficult; likewise, the students were stressed out.
Examples of Conjunctions
Here are ten examples of conjunctions used in sentences:
- I like coffee and donuts.
- The members are from all over the world, yet they share a common goal.
- Instead of hiking on the weekend, we decided to go to the beach.
- Neither the traffic enforcer nor the driver was willing to compromise.
- She wanted to buy a new dress because she had nothing to wear for the party.
- Henry wanted to pay for the meal, but his credit card was declined.
- Both my brother and I love pizza, so we often order it for dinner.
- The dentist said I needed to floss more often; nevertheless, I sometimes forget.
- Affordable housing not only helps people in need but also boosts the economy.
- The teacher was strict; however, she was fair in her grading.
Conjunction Exercises with Answers
Choose among the conjunctions inside the box which best completes the sentences below.
because, since, while, and, neither, if only, as long as, yet, so that, instead of
- We prefer to spend our money on experiences ____________ material things
- The doctor was examining the patient ____________ the nurse was taking notes.
- I didn’t proceed with buying the car ____________it was too expensive.
- Divina would have passed the exam ____________she had focused on studying.
- Bring coins every time you go out ____________you have money for snacks.
- Jessica gave her options, but Karen ____________wanted to settle the dispute nor accept the offer.
- Alex will pay for your trip ____________you promise to buy souvenirs.
- Giovani forgot to bring an extra shirt ____________ a jacket for our trip.
- I had been studying for hours, ____________ I still felt unprepared for the exam.
- ____________ you have been gone, I have built a new house and bought a car.
- We prefer to spend our money on experiences instead of material things
- The doctor was examining the patient while the nurse was taking notes.
- I didn’t proceed with buying the car because it was too expensive.
- Divina would have passed the exam if only she had focused on studying.
- Bring coins every time you go out so that you have money for snacks.
- Jessica gave her options, but Karen neither wanted to settle the dispute nor accept the offer.
- Alex will pay for your trip as long as you promise to buy souvenirs.
- Giovani forgot to bring an extra shirt and a jacket for our trip.
- I had been studying for hours, yet I still felt unprepared for the exam.
- Since you have been gone, I have built a new house and bought a car.
|as far as||no sooner/than|
|as long as||not only/but also|
|as much as||or|
|as soon as||provided that|
|by the time||the/the|
|in as much as||whether|
|in order that||while|
|in order to||yet|
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
English grammar, like any language, is a complex subject to study. Understanding and applying grammar rules can be challenging, especially for English language learners. However, your success in learning the language is dependent on your learning plan.
First, know that there are different levels of language proficiency. Knowing your status allows you to align it with your study materials and learning strategy. To keep your motivation, select beginner-friendly materials instead of university textbooks when starting. In doing so, you will feel less intimidated by the topics you should learn.
Second, focus on the basics: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Learn how to use them correctly in sentences and understand their meaning. It will help you build a strong foundation for your English language learning journey. Divide those topics into subtopics and learn each concept and rule one by one.
Third, find a reliable source of learning materials. Online resources such as websites, blogs, and YouTube videos are mostly free. LillyPad’s blog, for example, is a great resource for English language learning materials. Additionally, you can find books and other printed materials in your local library or bookstore.
Fourth, practice speaking the language with native speakers or other English learners. It will help you understand how to use the language correctly in conversations and improve your pronunciation.
Finally, be patient with yourself and don’t give up. Learning a language takes time and effort, so set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements along the way.
Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand types of conjunctions, transitional conjunctions and conjunctions.
Common Errors Made by English Learners
Learning a new language can be difficult, and English is no exception. Even experienced English learners make mistakes when speaking or writing in the language. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by English learners:
|Common Mistake||Why it Happens||Correction||Examples|
|Using because and so as correlative or double conjunctions in a sentence||Some learners are unaware of the proper pairing of correlative conjunctions.||‘Because’ and ‘so’ are not correlative conjunctions; hence are used separately in a sentence.|
In writing and speaking, only choose one, depending on the message you want to deliver.
|Incorrect: Because Olive lied to him, so Hans avoided talking to him.|
Correct: Because Olive lied to him, Hans avoided talking to him.
Olive lied to Hans, so he avoided talking to her.
|Omitting the auxiliary verb form of “do” when starting a sentence with negative conjunction||Some learners omit “does” when using it with negative conjunctions (neither/nor) and proceed to write the options or conditions.||Sentences using the auxiliary verb “do” with negative conjunctions at the beginning follow this pattern:|
Neither + do/does + statement 1 + nor + (do/does) + statement 2
Neither the students pass their projects nor they answer their homework.
Neither she play sports nor she goes to the gym.
Neither do the students pass their projects nor do they answer their homework.
Neither does she play sports nor she goes to the gym.
|Using “and” instead of “but” when the second clause of a sentence states unexpected happening||Some learners are not familiar with the function of conjunctions. Hence, they tend to use it incorrectly.||Although ‘but’ and ‘and’ are correlative conjunctions, they differ in meaning and usage. The conjunction ‘and’ is for enumeration, while ‘but’ shows contrast or unexpected happening.||Incorrect: I was cooking dinner, and my brother said he already ate outside.|
He prepared a gift, and she didn’t show up.
I was cooking dinner, but my brother said he already ate outside.
He prepared a gift, but she didn’t show up.
Learning Strategies and Best Practices for Conjunctions
A holistic approach to learning a language makes it easier to understand and remember. The five macro skills, reading, listening, viewing, speaking, and writing, should be developed and used in the learning process for better language acquisition. The table below lists activities you can do when learning linking verbs:
|Reading||– Use flashcards to know basic English sight words and their meaning.|
– Search for material that contains translations of common expressions from your native language to English.
– Select study materials appropriate for your language proficiency.
|Listening||– Listen to an audiobook or a song and write what you hear to improve your retention of English words.|
– Compare and contrast two audio materials like TV ads and a speech.
– Summarize a podcast, movie, audiobook, and other English audio materials.
|Viewing||– Observe how native speakers speak and try to mimic it.|
– Watch English movies, interviews, and tutorials.
– Use pictographs to learn and remember new words.
|Speaking||– Join a community of English language learners and communicate with them to improve and gain feedback.|
– Integrate the language into your daily life and try to speak using English.
– Participate in speech organizations (e.g. debate clubs, theatre groups)
|Writing||– Write a journal of your learning journey in English.|
– Answer practice tests and create your own sentences.
– Create a reflection essay on the media you watch or listen to.
Conjunction Frequently Asked Questions
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