Conjunctions in English

(Use and function of English conjunctions)

Table of contents – conjunctions

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Use of conjunctions
  2. Subgroups of conjunctions
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What are conjunctions used for?

Conjunctions are connectors that are a crucial part of the English language, as they are used in almost every written and oral conversation quite frequently. In principle, sentences could be composed without conjunctions, but, stylistically, this would not sound pleasant. In general, the use of English conjunctions is not particularly difficult. However, there are some distinctive features regarding differences in meaning, which must be taken into account.

As far as usage is concerned, it should be remembered that one conjunction is usually sufficient; only seldom is it the case that several appear together. Regardless of this, however, there are also multi-part conjunctions. It should also be noted that connective words can never be changed, so they always maintain their form. Now, compare the possible uses:

  • As the name suggests, English conjunctions can, on the one hand, connect sentence elements:
    • Such elements may be single words:
      • “Have you seen Kate and Marie?”
    • Or they can also be expressions/phrases that belong together:
      • “I’d like to have a green apple or a fresh orange.”
  • On the other hand, conjunctions serve to combine whole sentences (main clauses or subordinate clauses):
    • “This was a lot of fun, and tomorrow we’re doing it again!”
    • “Gwen was in a hurry, so she left early.”
    • “Please call me as soon as you have arrived.”
      • This example shows a multi-part conjunction consisting of three words (as soon as).

How can conjunctions be divided into subgroups?

Since the function of connectives/conjunctions differs, they can broadly be divided into two categories. These are …

  • … on the one hand, connective words that relate expressions of equal importance. They belong to the coordinating conjunctions:
    • Examples are:
      • and, but, or, so, yet, for, etc.
    • Likewise, correlative conjunctions are a part of this group too. They consist of two or more words. Examples:
      • neither … nor, either … or, as … as, no sooner … than, the … the, rather … than, etc.
  • … on the other hand, linking words that introduce subordinate clauses. This type belongs to the subordinating conjunctions:
    • Examples of such conjunctions are:
      • because, while, as long as, before, wherever, even though, if, since, etc.

Further explanations related to the topic ‘Conjunctions’

The following explanations relate to the ‘Use and function of conjunctions/connectives in English grammar’ and could be helpful as well: