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Conjunctions

Robert Harris
Version Date: December 23, 2009
Previous: December 10, 1997



As their name implies, conjunctions join together elements of thought: words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.

Coordinating conjunctions are the simplest kind, and they denote equality of relationship between the ideas they join. Coordinating conjunctions are sometimes called the fanboys because that is an acronym for them: 

Their relatives, correlative conjunctions, not only denote equality, but they also make the joining tighter and more emphatic.
 
Coordinating Conjunctions
Correlative Conjunctions
and
but
or
nor
for
so
yet
both . . . and
not only . . . but also
either . . . or
neither . . . nor
whether . . . or
just as . . . so too

Examples:

Coordinating and correlative conjunctions are great when two ideas are of the same importance, but many times one idea is more important than another. Subordinating conjunctions allow a writer to show which idea is more and which is less important. The idea in the main clause is the more important, while the idea in the subordinate clause (made subordinate by the subordinating conjunction) is less important. The subordinate clause supplies a time, reason, condition, and so on for the main clause.
 
Subordinating Conjunctions
Time
Reason
Concession
Place
Condition
Manner
after
before
since
when
whenever
while
until
as
as . . . as
once
because
since
so that
in order that
why
although
though
even though
while
where
wherever
if
unless
until
in case
provided that
assuming that
even if
as if
as though
how

Examples:





Conjunctive adverbs make up an even stronger category of conjunctions. They show logical relationships between two independent sentences, between sections of paragraphs, or between entire paragraphs. Conjunctive adverbs are so emphatic that they should be used sparingly; however, when used appropriately, they can be quite effective.
 
Conjunctive Adverbs
also
hence
however
still
likewise
otherwise
therefore
conversely
rather
consequently
furthermore
nevertheless
instead
moreover
then
thus
meanwhile
accordingly

Examples:

Relative pronouns and relative adjectives are also used to join ideas together by creating adjective or noun clauses, which allow a writer to create smoother, more flowing and effective sentences by combining ideas.
 
Relative Pronouns and Relative Adjectives
who
whom
whose
whoever
whomever
which
that
what
whichever
whatever

Examples:





Adverbs of time, place, and sequence are actually transitions of logic, but as such they also have conjunctive force, because they connect ideas by showing a time relationship.
 
Adverbs of Time, Place, and Sequence
earlier
next
lastly
later
before
after
then
now
soon
here
there
today
first
second
third
fourth
eventually
tomorrow

Examples:

Sentential Adverbs are closely related to conjunctive adverbs. The "official" line on these words is that they convey no meaning of their own but instead serve only to emphasize the statement to which they are attached. As such, then, they technically do not show a logical relationship like time or cause between ideas, and that fact prevents them from being true-blue conjunctive adverbs. But it could be argued that sentential adverbs create a relationship of emphasis between ideas: this new idea is important in light of what preceded it. Indeed, that is why they are included here.
 
Sentential Adverbs
of course
indeed
naturally
after all
in short
I hope
at least
remarkably
in fact
I think
it seems
in brief
clearly
I suppose
assuredly
definitely
to be sure
without doubt
for all that
on the whole
in any event
importantly
certainly
naturally

Examples:


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Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com