Conjunctions & Conjunction Rules - Parts Of Speech

CCSS Alligned CCSS.L.4.1, CCSS.L.4.2c, CCSS.L.5.1a, CCSS.L.5.1e, and CCSS.L.6.1

Author: Sarah Perowne

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Conjunctions are a part of speech that help link sentences, and without them, our sentences would be very bland and short. Conjunction rules for words such as "and, because, and therefore," are easy to understand but can be confusing to follow, so let's delve into them now.

Conjunction Rules

Conjunctions are words that connect and link clauses. They help us join our brilliant ideas, thoughts, and actions in everyday speech and written work. There are three main types of conjunctions, coordinating, correlative, and subordinating conjunctions.

Types Of Conjunctions

There are three main conjunctions types, each with a slightly different purpose.

  • Coordinating conjunctions - this type of conjunction connects phrases, ideas, and sentences that are related to each other. They are "for, and, or, but, yet, so, nor."
  • Correlative conjunctions - this type of conjunction typically comprises two correlative pairs to connect phrases, ideas, and clauses. They are "both/ and, either/ or, not/ but, whether/ or, not only/ but also, neither/ nor, just as/ so."
  • The final type of conjunction is subordinating conjunctions. They connect independent and dependent sentences. Some examples include "after, although, supposing, even if, though, unless."

Unless you want to write simple sentences, it's always a good idea to utilize conjunctions to vary the sentence structures you apply to your work.

Conjunction Rules with Commas

Grammar rules for using commas with conjunctions are fairly simple, regardless of the type of conjunction you use.

How to use commas with conjunctions.

When a conjunction connects two independent clauses, use a comma before the conjunction.

My teacher explained the assignment, but I still didn't understand it.

It was a long journey, so I'm super tired now.

You don't need a comma when a conjunction connects an independent clause and a dependent one.

My teacher explained the assignment and handed out the worksheet.

The sun is out but it's chilly.

When using conjunction, use a comma after an introductory clause, phrase, or words that come before the main sentence.

Common conjunctions that are used as introductory words are after, although, as, if, while, since, and when.

While I was eating, my dog sat patiently.

If you're ill, you should go to the doctor.

The Function of Conjunctions

We've spoken a little bit about what conjunction rules are and the different types; now, we're going to talk about how conjunctions function.

Coordinating Conjunctions with Examples

In English, there are 7 coordinating conjunctions.

  • And
  • But
  • For
  • Nor
  • Or
  • So
  • Yet

You can use these coordinating conjunctions to link words of the same part of speech.

  • I bought cookies and mac and cheese. ("And " connects the two nouns.)
  • Do you want to walk or drive to school? ("Or " connects the two verbs.)
  • Go and get the scissors and glue. ("And " here connects the two nouns.)

We also use coordinating conjunctions to connect independent clauses; they are sentences that can work by themselves. When we do this, we create compound sentences.

  • David was running late, so he decided to work from home.
  • They had a horrible holiday, yet they were pretty happy.
  • Danny didn't like his new baby cousin, but he had no choice.

If we didn't use conjunctions in the sentences above, they would look like this;

  • David was running late for work; he decided to work from home.
  • They had a horrible holiday; they were pretty happy.
  • Danny didn't like his new baby cousin; he had no choice.

Though the sentences above are grammatically correct, they sound unfinished and strained.

Correlative Conjunctions with Examples

Coordinating and subordinating conjunctions create new parts of speech. Correlative conjunctions, on the other hand, don't. They work to connect two sentence parts or statements with equal significance.

  • Either/ and
  • Neither/ nor
  • Both/ and
  • Not/ but
  • Whether/ or
  • Not only/ but also
  • Either/ or
  • Just as/ so


  1. Not only do we think this plan is stupid, but also unorganized. ("But also" connects the two adjectives, "stupid and unorganized," and "not only " connects the two equal clauses.)
  2. Neither the red shirt nor the purple skirt is available in your size. ("Neither " and "nor " join the nouns to make a statement)
  3. Whether you clean your room or complete your homework is up to you. ("Whether " and "or " connects the two verbs to give a choice)

Subordinating Conjunctions with Examples

Subordinating conjunctions connect a dependent clause with an independent clause. Basically, without the subordinating conjunction, the dependent sentence is lacking or nonsensical. These conjunctions form complex phrases, making your work sound way more interesting than just simple sentences full of periods or commas.

There are many conjunctions of this type, but here are some examples.

  • After
  • Although
  • As much as
  • Because
  • Even though
  • Now that
  • Provided
  • Rather than
  • Since
  • Than
  • Though
  • Unless
  • Until
  • Whenever
  • Whereas
  • Wherever
  • Whether

Subordinating conjunctions add extra information to compare and give a time frame, reason, or condition.

  1. The party is canceled because Danny is sick.
  2. They had to put their cat up for adoption, even though they loved it.
  3. I will let you go hang out with your friends, provided that you send me a text when you get there.

You can also play around with complex sentences by putting the subordinating conjunction at the beginning of the clause. Changing the structure around can make the clauses sound more formal. If you're doing this, make sure you put a comma after the subordinating conjunction.

  1. Because Danny is sick, the party is canceled.
  2. Even though they loved their cat, they had to put it up for adoption.
  3. Providing that, you send me a text when you get there; you can go hang out with your friends.

As you can see, we've switched a few words around, especially in the second sentence. We did this because it sounds better, so have a play around and see what works for you.

Conjunctive Adverbs

Occasionally, you'll see adverbs acting as conjunctions. That's because some adverbs are actually conjunctive adverbs.

  • Therefore
  • Accordingly
  • However
  • Elsewhere
  • For example
  • On the other hand
  • Still
  • In summary

Conjunctive adverbs join complete thoughts within sentences, and we typically use periods or semicolons as punctuation before introducing them.

  1. Adverbs are a type of verb. However, conjunctions are a part of speech.
  2. Lucy is looking for her keys; therefore, we must wait.
  3. English grammar can be challenging to learn; on the other hand, there are plenty of online tools to help.


Think you've got it? Check out these conjunction flashcards.

Practicing Conjunctions

There are many ways to practice conjunctions, so let's look into a few now.

1) Read

Reading is an important life skill, and if you're not an avid reader, having a purpose might help you. We recommend checking out various sources, both fictional and fictional. Highlight all of the conjunctions you see!

2) Song Lyrics

What's your favorite song? Well, it might just contain conjunctions. See if you can spot any!

3) List

Write down as many words as possible; you can use a mixture of nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc. Then write down some conjunctions, and try constructing complex and independent clauses using the correct punctuation. Gaining both confidence and comfort will allow you to create your own sentences in no time!

In summary, conjunctions are a significant part of speech in your word arsenal. They can help your work sound richer and flow better; nevertheless, they're an essential part of English.