The most important among the coordinating conjunctions are and, but and or. Let’s explore the uses of these three little words.
The conjunction and is used to suggest:
a) That one action follows another in the chronological order.
- Jane sent in her applications and waited for a call from the HR office.
b) That one idea is the result of another
- Rain began to fall and the creek rose rapidly.
And can also be used to suggest a kind of comment on something mentioned in the first clause.
- James became addicted to drugs – and that was hardly surprising.
The conjunction but is used to suggest a contrast.
- It was a sunny day, but the wind was cold. (Here the second clause suggests a contrast that is unexpected in the light of the first clause.)
- The stick was thin but it was strong.
- He was ill but he went to work.
- She is poor but honest.
But can be used with the meaning of ‘with the exception of’.
- Everybody but James turned up.
The conjunction or is used to suggest that only one possibility can be realized.
- You can have tea or coffee.
You can work hard or you can fail.