Words which connect words, phrases, clauses or sentences are called conjunctions (see "to conjoin" = join, unite). The most common ones are 'and', 'or' and 'but'. These words all have different nuances and connotations but they all help to build up meaningful relationships within a sentence.
A variety of useful English Conjunctions exists, which complete this list of the most used Cohesive Devices. Together, they can help to express a cohesive view and easy understandable and readable texts.
There are three basic types of conjunctions:
- coordinating conjunctions
- used to connect two independent clauses
- subordinating conjunctions
- used to establish the relationship between the dependent clause and the rest of the sentence
- correlative conjunctions
- used to join various sentence elements which are grammatically equal
Comes usually in the middle of a sentence, and a comma is used before the conjunction (unless both clauses are very short). They join individual words, phrases, and independent clauses.
Whereas coordinating conjunctions join parts of a sentence, the purpose of transitional words and phrases usually is to join two 'sentences'.
We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it. [Lyndon B. Johnson]
The purpose of most computer languages is to lengthen your resume by a word and a comma. [Larry Wall]
And, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet — are the seven coordinating conjunctions. To remember them, the acronym FANBOYS can be used.
F = for
A = and
N = nor
B = but
O = or
Y = yet
S = so
Also called subordinators, introduce a dependent clause. These adverbs that act like conjunctions are placed at the front of the clause - and a comma is needed at the end of the adverbial phrase when it precedes the main clause.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. [Abraham Maslow]
Some people make headlines while others make history. [Philip Elmer-DeWitt]
- even though
- only if
- provided that
- assuming that
- even if
- in case (that)
- rather than
- as much as
- as long as
- as soon as
- by the time
- now that
- so that
- in order (that)
- as though
- as if
They are always used in pairs and denote equality; and show the relationship between ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence - and thus make the joining tighter and more emphatic. When joining singular and plural subjects, the subject closest to the verb determines whether the verb is singular or plural.
- as . . . as
- just as . . . so
- both . . . and
- hardly . . . when
- scarcely . . . when
- either . . . or
- neither . . . nor
- if . . . then
- not . . . but
- what with . . . and
- whether . . . or
- not only . . . but also
- no sooner . . . than
- rather . . . than
They are often used as a linking device between ideas. They show logical relationships expressed in clauses, sentences or paragraphs.
Conjunctive adverbs are very emphatic, so they should be used sparingly.
Similar to And
Similar to But
Similar to So
List of Conjunctions
Conjunctions are also sometimes called - or put in the category of - Linking Words.
Please feel free to download them via this link to the category page:
Linking Words & Connecting Words as a PDF.
It contains all the conjunctions listed on this site. The image to the left gives you an impression how it looks like.
Writing Tip: In order to save precious characters and typing time, there is a rich language of text abbreviations used in Text Messaging, Twitter, SMS and Chat.
It is quite a long list that probably does not include every Text Abbreviation & Internet Acronym ever invented — but the most popular. Even if you restrain yourself from memorizing and using them all, you might find it handy to know a place where you can look up and thus decipher what someone is writing.