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Using coordinating conjunctions

A conjunction is a word that connects parts of a sentence. There are mainly two kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Most coordinating conjunctions have fewer than four letters. Examples are: and, but, or, yet, for, nor, so.

A comma is often used to separate two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction.

  • I had hoped that Peter would become an engineer, but he wasn’t good at science.

The comma is sometimes omitted. This usually happens when the clauses are very short.

  • His rope was thin but it was strong.

Note that the comma is always correct when it is used to separate two clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction.

  • She was poor, but she was honest. OR She was poor but she was honest.
Beginning a Sentence with And or But

Is it possible to begin a sentence with the conjunctions and or but? A large number of grammarians still believe that and or but cannot go at the beginning of a sentence. But the truth is that this prohibition has been ignored by standard authors since Anglo-Saxon times.

And is often put at the beginning of a sentence to achieve the continuity of narration. The same is true with the conjunction but. However, before beginning a sentence with and or but, you have to ask two questions: (1) would the sentence function just as well without the initial conjunction? (2) is it possible to connect the sentence in question to the previous sentence? If the answer to both questions is ‘no’, the initial conjunction should be considered appropriate.

See Also
The conjunctions and, or and but New!
Common errors with conjunctions New!
Using coordinating conjunctions
The conjunction nor
The conjunction yet



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