Conjunction (grammar)

Not to be confused with conjugation and conjunctive (grammar).

In grammar, a conjunction (abbreviated CONJ or CNJ) is a part of speech that connects words, phrases, or clauses, which are called the conjuncts of the conjoining construction. The term discourse marker is mostly used for conjunctions joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a "conjunction" must be defined for each language. In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle and it may or may not stand between the items in a conjunction.

The definition may also be extended to idiomatic phrases that behave as a unit with the same function, e.g. "as well as", "provided that".

A simple literary example of a conjunction: "the truth of nature, and the power of giving interest". (Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Biographia Literaria)[1]

Conjunctions may be placed at the beginning of sentences:[2] "But some superstition about the practice persists".[3]

Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators, are conjunctions that join, or coordinate, two or more items (such as words, main clauses, or sentences) of equal syntactic importance. In English, the mnemonic acronym FANBOYS can be used to remember the coordinators for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.[4] These are not the only coordinating conjunctions; various others are used, including[5]:ch. 9[6]:p. 171 "and nor" (British), "but nor" (British), "or nor" (British), "neither" ("They don't gamble; neither do they smoke"), "no more" ("They don't gamble; no more do they smoke"), and "only" ("I would go, only I don't have time"). Types of coordinating conjunctions include cumulative conjunctions, adversative conjunctions, alternative conjunctions, and illative conjunctions.[7]

Here are some examples of coordinating conjunctions in English and what they do:

Correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join words and groups of words of equal weight in a sentence. There are many different pairs of correlative conjunctions:


Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions, also called subordinators, are conjunctions that join an independent clause and a dependent clause, and also introduce adverb clauses. The most common subordinating conjunctions in the English language include after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, every time, if, in order that, since, so, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, and while.

Complementizers can be considered to be special subordinating conjunctions that introduce complement clauses: e.g. "I wonder whether he'll be late. I hope that he'll be on time". Some subordinating conjunctions (until and while), when used to introduce a phrase instead of a full clause, become prepositions with identical meanings.

The subordinating conjunction performs two important functions within a sentence: illustrating the importance of the independent clause and providing a transition between two ideas in the same sentence by indicating a time, place, or cause and therefore affecting the relationship between the clauses.[8]

In many verb-final languages, subordinate clauses must precede the main clause on which they depend. The equivalents to the subordinating conjunctions of non-verb-final languages such as English are either

Such languages often lack conjunctions as a part of speech, because:

In other West Germanic languages like German and Dutch, the word order after a subordinating conjunction is different from that in an independent clause, e.g. in Dutch want ("for") is coordinating, but omdat ("because") is subordinating. The clause after the coordinating conjunction has normal word order, but the clause after the subordinating conjunction has verb-final word order. Compare:

Hij gaat naar huis, want hij is ziek. ("He goes home, for he is ill.")
Hij gaat naar huis, omdat hij ziek is. ("He goes home because he is ill.")

Similarly, in German, "denn" (for) is coordinating, but "weil" (because) is subordinating:

Er geht nach Hause, denn er ist krank. ("He goes home, for he is ill.")
Er geht nach Hause, weil er krank ist. ("He goes home, because he is ill.")

Starting a sentence

Many students are taught, and one guide maintains, that English sentences should not start with conjunctions such as "and", "but", "because", and "so".[10] Some hypothesize that teachers invented this "rule" to encourage students to avoid overly simple sentences.[11] This superstition has "no historical or grammatical foundation".[12] First-rate writers from across the English-speaking world regularly begin sentences with conjunctions, in even the most formal writing:

See also


  1. Greenblatt, Stephen (2006). The Norton Anthology of British Literature, 8th Ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton. p. 478.
  2. Richard Nordquist. "Is It Wrong to Begin a Sentence With "But"?". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  3. Garner, Bryan A. (2001). Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises. The University of Chicago Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-226-28418-2.: "[t]he idea that it is poor grammar to begin a sentence with Shahid Afridi or But" is "nonsense baggage that so many writers lug around".
  4. Paul; Adams, Michael (2009). How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson Longman. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-205-60550-7.
  5. JOhn, Algeo (2006). British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  6. Burchfield, R. W., ed. (1996). Fowler's Modern English Usage (3rd ed.).
  7. "What are Subordinating Conjunctions?". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  8. Dryer, Matthew S. (2005). "Order of adverbial subordinator and clause". In Haspelmath, Martin; Dryer, Matthew S.; Gil, David; Comrie, Bernard. The World Atlas of Language Structures. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-199-25591-1.
  9. "Grammarly Handbook | Starting a Sentence with a Conjunction Grammar Rules". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  10. Landis, Jacquelyn. "Can And or But Begin a Sentence?". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  11. University of Chicago (2010). The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-226-10420-1.
  12. 1 2 Magna Carta (2012-03-10). "English translation of Magna Carta - The British Library". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  13. 1 2 "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  14. Jefferson, Thomas (2012-03-10). "United States Declaration of Independence". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  15. "National Constitution Center". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  16. 1 2 "U.S. Senate: Constitution of the United States". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  17. "U.S. Senate: Constitution of the United States". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  18. "Google Scholar". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  19. "Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses. 1989". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  20. 1 2 "HUCKLEBERRY FINN, By Mark Twain, Complete". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  21. 1 2 "Moby Dick; Or the Whale, by Herman Melville". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  22. "Google Scholar". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  23. "Michael and others v. The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another, The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom" (PDF). 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  24. Archived January 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. "An Optimist's Guide to Political Correctness". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  26. 1 2 "The case for liberal optimism". The Economist. 2015-01-31. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  27. "Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan - SCC Cases (Lexum)". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/22/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.