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Coordinating Conjunctions

A conjunction is a word that joins two parts of a sentence. There are two kinds of  conjunctions - coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions join two ideas that are equally important and could be independent from each other. In the sentences given below, and, or, nor, but, yet are coordinating conjunctions.

  1. I had a peanut butter __and_ jelly sandwich for lunch.
  2. Maria will go to the movies with her mom __or__ her brother, but not both.
  3. Neither John _nor__ his sister is interested in music.
  4. Jane wanted popcorn, __but__ there wasn't any.
  5. Trina slept late, __yet__ she made it to school on time.

These are the coordinating conjunctions:

  • For
  • And
  • Nor
  • But
  • Or
  • Yet
  • So

A good way to remember these is by the first letter of each conjunction, which spells 'FANBOYS'.

Combining Sentences Using Coordinating Conjunctions:

Coordinating conjunctions can be used to combine two sentences. Take a look at the sentences given below and consider how we can combine the two ideas into one sentence.

Lisa plays basketball.
Lisa plays baseball.

How can we combine these two sentences into one, using the coordinating conjunction, and?

Lisa plays basketball and baseball.

Lisa plays basketball.
Lisa doesn't play baseball.

What coordinating conjunction would we use to combine these ideas?

Lisa plays basketball but not baseball.

Lisa doesn't play basketball.
Lisa doesn't play baseball.

What coordinating conjunction can be used to combine these two sentences into one?

Lisa plays neither basketball nor baseball.

Notice that we added the word 'neither' here. Why did we do that?
We used 'neither...nor' to create a negation or denial. The negation in the sentence is at the objects (basketball or baseball) rather than at the verb (plays). Another way to say this sentence is:

Lisa doesn't play basketball or baseball.

In our sentence, however, we didn't negate the verb with 'not' (does not or doesn't), so we had to do it at the object. Hence, we added 'neither' before the word 'basketball'. © 2014. All Rights Reserved.