Common coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, yet, or, nor, for, so, either…or, neither…nor. Coordinating conjunctions generally connect words or phrases of the same grammatical class. For example, a coordinating conjunction connects nouns with nouns, adverbs with adverbs or clauses with clauses. It cannot connect a noun with a verb or an adjective.
- Jack and Jill went up the hill. (Here the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ connects the two nouns – Jack and Jill.)
- He worked patiently and diligently. (Here ‘and’ connects the two adverbs patiently and diligently.)
Kinds of coordinating conjunctions
There are different types of coordinating conjunctions:
Cumulative or copulative conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions which merely add one clause to another are called cumulative or copulative conjunctions. Examples are: and, both…and, as well as, not only…but also.
- He mounted the horse and rode off.
- She is both pretty and intelligent.
- Tom as well as John passed the test.
- He was not only praised but also rewarded.
Some coordinating conjunctions are used to connect opposing or contrasting ideas or statements. They are called adversative conjunctions. Examples are: but, still, yet, whereas, while, nevertheless etc.
- He is rich but he is unhappy.
- He is poor yet he is happy.
Disjunctive or alternative conjunctions
Some coordinating conjunctions present two alternatives sometimes indicating a choice between them. Examples are: or, either…or, neither…nor, neither, nor etc.
- You can have coffee or tea. (You can’t have them both.)
- He neither wrote nor called.
- He does not drink, neither does he smoke.
Coordinating conjunctions which express an inference are called illative conjunctions. Examples are: for, so.
- He has been working for hours, so he must be tired.
Some conjunctions are used in pairs. They are called correlative conjunctions. Most correlative conjunctions are considered as coordinating conjunctions.