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Coordinating, Subordinating and Correlative Conjunctions

Updated on June 21, 2020
Poonam-Malik profile image

Teaching English grammar to diverse students has honed my own skills of understanding and explaining.


Conjunctions are also known as joining words. We use conjunctions to join two words, two clauses or two phrases in a sentence. Conjunctions are also used to join two sentences together.

By using conjunctions, specific meaning is conveyed through the combined expression.

Read the given examples.

  1. Ila and Tina go to the same school.
  2. Give me a pear or an orange.
  3. I get up early in the morning because it makes me feel good.
  4. He reached late, therefore he said sorry.
  5. Not only Meena but Twinkle also loves music.
  6. Both Mona and Tina are good students.

Without using conjunctions, the sentences above would have been written as follows.

  1. i. Ila goes to St Peter School. ii. Tina goes to St Peter School.
  2. i. Give me an orange. ii. Give me a pear. I want only one, not both.
  3. i. I get up early in the morning. ii. It makes me feel good.
  4. i. He reached late. ii. He said sorry.
  5. i. Meena loves music. ii. Twinkle loves music.
  6. i. Mona is a good student. ii. Tina is a good student.

So, with the use of conjunctions, the sentences have become concise and more meaningful.

Now, if you read sentences 1, 2, 5, and 6 carefully, you would also notice how the meaning of the sentence differs with the different conjunctions used.

We will learn about different types of conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Have you heard the acronym, FANBOYS? It denotes the seven coordinating conjunctions in English language. These are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

We use these conjunctions to join two independent grammatical elements having equal weightage. These could be two nouns or pronouns, two adjectives, two verbs, two clauses, or two phrases in a sentence. Coordinating conjunctions are used to join two independent sentences also.

Try to identify the conjunctions in the sentences below and underline the two parts joined.

  1. I like my friend, Aman, very much for he is a very caring person.
  2. I like my friend, Aman, and also his cousin, Namit.
  3. Sheena dislikes fruits nor does she like fruit juices.
  4. Beena is not a graduate but she can teach very well.
  5. Come back soon or miss the program.
  6. He is not feeling well yet he does not want to take rest.
  7. The flowers looked fresh so I bought all of them.


  1. For

a. I like my friend, Aman b. he is a very caring person

2. And

a. I like my friend, Aman b. his cousin, Namit

3. Nor

a. Sheena dislikes fruits b. she does not like fruit juices

4. But

a. Beena is not a graduate b. she can teach very well

5. Or

a. Come back soon b. miss the program

6. Yet

a. He is not feeling well b. he does not want to take rest

7. So

a. The flowers looked fresh b. I bought all of them

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are those conjunctions that are used to join two clauses in a sentence. One of these clauses is an independent clause and the other is a dependent clause. An independent clause is like a complete sentence. But a dependent clause is not a complete sentence.

  1. In the sentence, He reached late therefore he said sorry, He reached late is the independent clause and therefore he said sorry is the dependent clause.
  2. 2. I get up early in the morning because it makes me feel good. I get up early in the morning is the independent clause and because it makes me feel good is the dependent clause.

Subordinating conjunctions in the above sentences are therefore and because.

Other subordinating conjunctions are although, after, before, how, if, once, since, so that, until, unless, when, etc.

Mark the subordinating conjunctions in the sentences below.

  1. I wait every morning at the bus stop until the bus comes.
  2. He had left his home town for good before the tsunami came.
  3. Please teach me how to write an essay.
  4. Although he is very poor, he is never sad.
  5. We had bread pudding after finishing dinner.
  6. I know this person since childhood.
  7. I will come with you if you get me that book.
  8. I will come with you since you are insisting so much.


1. until 2. Before 3. how 4. Although 5. After 6. Since 7. if

8. Since

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative Conjunctions are also known as paired conjunctions. Two conjunctions are used together in a sentence.

Some examples of correlative conjunctions are, both-and, either-or, neither-nor, not only-but also, whether-or, etc.

Read the following sentences and underline the correlative conjunctions. Be sure to underline two conjunctions in each sentence as these are paired conjunctions.

  1. I always keep both pens and pencils in my bag.
  2. I not only love to draw line-drawings but also love to do portraits.
  3. Naveen plays neither cricket nor football.
  4. You can choose to go to either Mumbai or Chennai.
  5. Right now, I can’t say whether I will go for shopping or I will stay in bed the whole day.

Answers. 1. Both, and 2. Not only, but also 3. Neither, nor 4. Either, or 5. Whether, or


The above exercises were meant to give you an idea about the three types of conjunctions and their uses. I hope it was helpful information.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.



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