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Conjunctions are words that join other words or clauses together.
- God made the country and man made the town.
- He was poor but he was honest.
- She must weep or she will die.
- John and Mary got married.
Conjunctions not only join clauses together; they also show how the meanings of the two clauses are related.
- I decided to consult a doctor because I was not feeling well. (cause)
- He is slow but he is sure. (contrast)
- Ann wrote the letters and Peter posted them. (addition)
- Either take it or leave it. (alternative)
- He is very wealthy, yet very unhappy. (contrast)
- You can have tea or coffee.
A conjunction and its clause can sometimes stand alone. This happens, for example, in answers.
- When are you going to start? When I am ready.
- Why are you crying? Because John beat me.
Afterthoughts may also begin with conjunctions.
- Ok, I did it. - But I didnt mean it.
Writers and speakers may also separate clauses for emphasis.
Some conjunctions are made up of two or more words.
- He looks as if he were on the brink of a breakdown.
- It looks as though it is going to rain.
- As soon as I finish this book, I will start another.
- We started early so that we might not miss the show.
Relative pronouns as conjunctions
Relative pronouns (who, which and that) join clauses like conjunctions.
- I saw a beggar who was deaf and dumb.
In the above sentence who stands for the beggar - hence it is a pronoun. It also connects the two sentences I saw a beggar and He was deaf and dumb - hence it is a conjunction.
A relative pronoun is the subject or object of the verb that comes after it. So we do not need another subject or object.
- Trust no man who does not love his country. (NOT Trust no man who he does not --)
- The snake which we could not kill crept into a hole. (NOT The snake which we could not kill it crept --)
Sections in this article
Using coordinating conjunctions
The conjunctions and, or and but New!
The conjunction nor
The conjunction yet
Common errors with conjunctions New!
Tenses exercises and worksheets
Mistakes with verbs | Exercise 1
Mistakes with verbs | Exercise 2
Mistakes with verbs | Exercise 3
Mistakes with verbs | Exercise 4