Before we discuss some interesting or fun facts about conjunctions, let’s quickly define them. Conjunctions are words that connect phrases, clauses, or sentences together to create a logical relationship between them.
There are 4 types of Conjunctions
The sites that claim there are three types of conjunctions forget about the fourth, which is the adverb conjunction, usually called a conjunctive adverb.
In school, you might have learned them as the FANBOYS—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. The most commonly used of these are but, and, and yet. Or and nor are also used as correlative conjunctions. Be careful about so and for—they can also be used as other parts of speech.
These conjunctions work together to connect two ideas in a sentence that are equally important. Look at the sentence, “We can either go to the museum or the mall.” Either option is equally acceptable.
Here’s another sentence: “We can go to the museum, but I want to go to the mall.” The speaker’s preference is clear in the second sentence.
These are the most common correlative conjunction pairs:
- such that/and
- not only/but also.
There are some rules to follow when using correlative conjunctions, and they require a separate article.
Subordinating conjunctions turn a sentence (independent clause) into a dependent clause. Words like before, after, because, since, and when are dependent clauses. One of my favorite fun facts about conjunctions is that it is not necessary to memorize a long list of subordinating conjunctions. Simply create a memorable sentence, like “The frog jumped over the log.” and then add a word you think might be a subordinating conjunction. If the sentence changes to a dependent clause (or fragment), you have one.
The frog jumped over the log. (sentence)
When the frog jumped over the log (no longer a sentence).
This brings me to another fun fact: to create a subordinating clause, we add a word, not take one away. Our quiz, “What is Your Grammar Personality?” contains that question. You already have one question right, so why not try the rest of the quiz?
Conjunctive adverbs are a class of adverbs used to connect ideas together and show the relationship between them. Although all conjunctions show the relationship between ideas, conjunctive adverbs are different from coordinating conjunctions because they cannot join two independent clauses with a comma.
I went to the store, but I forgot to bring my wallet. (correct)
I went to the store, however I forgot to bring my wallet. (incorrect)
The second sentence has two mistakes. First, a semicolon is required, and second, conjunctive adverbs usually require commas.
I went to the store; however, I forgot to bring my wallet.
Another fun fact about conjunctive adverbs; they can be moved around in a sentence.
- I went to the store; however, I forgot to bring my wallet.
- I went to the store. I forgot, however, to bring my wallet.
- I went to the store. I, however, forgot to bring my wallet.
- I went to the store. I forgot to bring my wallet, however.
Adverb phrases such as as a result or on the other hand are considered conjunctive adverbial phrases.
Conjunctions Do More than Connect Ideas
Conjunctions also show the relationship between ideas. For example, coordinating conjunctions imply that the two ideas are of equal importance.
I want you to clean your room and wash the dishes. (Both are of equal importance.)
Subordinating clauses, however, indicate that some ideas are more important.
Before you clean your room, I want you to wash the dishes. (Washing the dishes is more important.)
And conjunctive adverbs such as however show how ideas are connected. (However, the subordinate clauses have a different relationship from coordinate clauses).
Conjunctions are Necessary to Create Interesting Writing
It is possible to write a paragraph without using conjunctions. It is not easy. We don’t have isolated ideas floating around. Our brains naturally connect ideas.
Writing without conjunctions is uninteresting, to say the least.
I asked an AI writer to create a paragraph about conjunctions. See if you can spot the conjunctions.
“Conjunctions are words that connect other words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence. They are important because they help to create a smooth and logical flow in your writing. Without conjunctions, your writing can become choppy and difficult to read. Conjunctions also help to clarify the relationships between different parts of a sentence, making it easier for your readers to understand your message.”Worthless AI Writer
I spotted two in an “article” about conjunctions. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but because I am a real writer, I can manage three in this sentence. So take that, worthless AI writer.
If you feel too old to watch Schoolhouse Rock Conjunction Function videos, check out the lyrics here.