Conjunctions are words used to join clauses. They can also be used to join words or phrases of the same kind.
Read the following sentences:
- Susie wrote the letters and Jane posted them.
- He is rich but he is not happy.
In sentence 1, the word ‘and’ joins the clauses ‘Susie wrote the letters’ and ‘Jane posted them’. In sentence 2, the word ‘but’ joins the clauses ‘He is rich’ and ‘He is not happy’. Here the words ‘and’ and ‘but’ are conjunctions.
Definition: A conjunction is a word which joins words or clauses together.
Kinds of Conjunctions
There are mainly two types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.
A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases or clauses of equal rank or importance.
- Alice sang and Susie danced.
The two clauses ‘Alice sang’ and ‘Susie danced’ are of equal rank and are independent of each other. Therefore, ‘and’ is a coordinating conjunction. The common coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, for, still, only, both…and, either…or, neither…nor.
A subordinating conjunction joins clauses of unequal rank or importance. Note that subordinating conjunctions cannot be used to join words. Read the following sentence.
- I said that he should find a job.
Here ‘I said’ is the main clause, and ‘that he should find a job’ is the subordinate clause which acts as the object of the verb ‘said’ in the main clause.
Note that we need just one conjunction to connect two clauses. Using more than one conjunction to connect two clauses is wrong.