Coordinating Conjunctions

Conjunctions can be divided into two broad classes – coordinating and subordinating.

Coordinating conjunctions join pairs of clauses that are grammatically independent of each other.
Examples are: and, but, for, or, yet, so, nor, also, either…or, neither…nor etc.

  • Birds fly and fish swim.
  • I was annoyed still I kept quiet.
  • Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
  • There was little hope of success nevertheless they decided to perform the operation.

Words for repeated ideas can often be left out in the second of two coordinate clauses.

  • She smokes and drinks. (= … and she drinks.)
  • She is clever but careless. (… but she is careless.)

Kinds of coordinating conjunctions

Conjunctions expressing addition

Some conjunctions merely add one statement to another.

Examples are:
Both … and
As well as
Not only … but also

  • He got up and slowly walked away.
  • She was both clever and pretty.
  • Tom as well as John qualified for the finals.
  • He was not only praised but also rewarded.
  • He came into the room and locked the door.

Conjunctions which merely add one statement to another are called cumulative or copulative conjunctions.

Conjunctions expressing opposition or contrast

Some conjunctions express opposition or contrast between two statements.

Examples are:
Still, yet
Whereas, while
Although, despite the fact that
However, nevertheless

  • Though he worked hard he could not pass.
  • Though he is fat, he runs fast.
  • Although he is poor, he is honest.
  • He is ill but he is cheerful.
  • He is very wealthy, yet (or still) very unhappy.
  • Tom is ambitious whereas (or while) his brother is quite the reverse.
  • There was little hope of success nevertheless they decided to perform the operation.
  • He is the fastest runner but he came last.

Conjunctions which express opposition or contrast between two statements are called adversative conjunctions.

Conjunctions expressing alternative

Some conjunctions present two alternatives sometimes indicating a choice between them.

Examples are:
Either … or
Neither … nor
Neither, nor
Otherwise, else

  • You can have tea or coffee.
  • He is either a fool or a rogue.
  • He will neither spend his money nor invest it.
  • He does not smoke, neither does he drink.
  • He does not smoke, nor does he drink.
  • You must apologise, otherwise (or else) you will be punished.

Conjunctions which present two alternatives, sometimes indicating a choice between them, are called disjunctive or alternative conjunctions.

Conjunctions expressing inference

Some conjunctions express something inferred from another statement or fact.

Example: For

  • He must be asleep, for there is no light in his room.
  • Nobody came; for I heard no knocking.

Conjunctions which express an inference are called illative conjunctions.

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