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Version Date: August 16, 2018
Previous: December 23, 2009; December 10, 1997
As their name implies, conjunctions join together elements of
thought: words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs.
Coordinating conjunctions are the simplest
kind, and they denote equality of relationship between the ideas they
join. That is, the joined words or phrases have the same (equal)
impportance. Coordinating conjunctions are sometimes called the fanboys
because that is an old acronym for them, used to help memorize
- Popcorn and peanuts are our favorite snacks. (The two subjects, popcorn and peanuts are of equal emphasis or
- The plumber dug a trench and buried the water pipe. (The two
verbs, dug an buried, have equal importance.)
- The concert continued, but Jane and Fred decided to leave. (Two
sentences of equal emphasis joined by but.)
correlative conjunctions, not only denote equality,
but they also make the joining tighter and more emphatic.
both . . . and
not only . . . but also
either . . . or
neither . . . nor
whether . . . or
just as . . . so too
Coordinating and correlative conjunctions are great when two ideas are
of the same importance, but many times one idea is more important than
another. Subordinating conjunctions
allow a writer to show which idea is more and which is less important.
The idea in the main clause is the more important, while the idea in
the subordinate clause (made subordinate by the subordinating
conjunction) is less important. The subordinate clause supplies a time,
reason, condition, and so on for the main clause.
- Just as the smell of baking brought back memories, so too
did the taste of the cider.
- The crew not only installed the cabinet, but they also painted
- Neither the teller nor the bank manager could locate the
as . . . as
in order that
- Sally steamed the corn while Fred fried the steaks.
- After the rain stopped, the dog ran into the mud to play.
- The snowman melted because the sun came out.
- Even though John fell asleep, the telephone salesman kept
Conjunctive adverbs make up an even stronger
category of conjunctions. They show logical relationships between two
independent sentences, between sections of paragraphs, or between
entire paragraphs. Conjunctive adverbs are so emphatic that they should
be used sparingly; however, when used appropriately, they can be quite
Relative pronouns and relative adjectives
are also used to join ideas together by creating adjective or noun
clauses, which allow a writer to create smoother, more flowing and
effective sentences by combining ideas.
- If the salmon is grilled, I will have that; otherwise, I
might have the chicken.
- James has a garage full of wood working tools. He might,
however, have some metric wrenches, too.
- I do not recommend that you play with a stick of dynamite
lit at both ends. Rather, a ham sandwich would be better for you.
Pronouns and Relative Adjectives
- This is the man who sells peanuts.
- Tell me what you want.
- Hers is an idea that I would like to think through.
- The shirts, which are in the laundry, will need ironing.
Adverbs of time, place, and sequence are actually
transitions of logic, but as such they also have conjunctive force,
because they connect ideas by showing a time relationship.
Time, Place, and Sequence
Sentential Adverbs are closely related to conjunctive
adverbs. The "official" line on these words is that they convey no
meaning of their own but instead serve only to emphasize the statement
to which they are attached. As such, then, they technically do not show
a logical relationship like time or cause between ideas, and that fact
prevents them from being true-blue conjunctive adverbs. But it could be
argued that sentential adverbs create a relationship of emphasis
this new idea is important in light of what preceded it. Indeed, that
is why they are included here.
- The twilight glides away. Soon night will awake.
- First, get a pad and pencil. Next, find a quiet place to
to be sure
for all that
on the whole
in any event
- The flashlight hit the floor and broke into a hundred
pieces. At least there was a candle in the room.
- They all began to use appropriate sentential adverbs in their
writing. They were convinced, I suppose, by the excellent examples.
- The conjunction list has left the building. On the whole,
I hope you enjoyed it.
Other Tools for Writers
1997,2009 by Robert Harris | How
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Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of
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