A conjunction may be used to indicate the relationship between the ideas expressed in a clause and the ideas expressed in the rest of a sentence. The conjunctions in the following examples are printed in bold type.
e.g. We could go to the library, or we could go to the park.
He neither finished his homework nor studied for the test.
I went out because the sun was shining.
1. Coordinate conjunctions
Coordinate conjunctions are used to join two similar grammatical constructions; for instance, two words, two phrases or two clauses.
e.g. My friend and I will attend the meeting.
The sun rose and the birds began to sing.
In these examples, the coordinate conjunction and is used to join the two words friend and I, the two phrases the beauty of its landscape and the hospitality of its people, and the two clauses the sun rose and the birds began to sing.
The most commonly used coordinate conjunctions are and, but and or. In addition, the words nor and yet may be used as coordinate conjunctions. In the following table, each coordinate conjunction is followed by its meaning and an example of its use. Note the use of inverted word order in the clause beginning with nor.
and: in addition
She tried and succeeded.
They tried but did not succeed.
Did you go out or stay at home?
nor: and neither
I did not see it, nor did they.
The sun is warm, yet the air is cool.
As illustrated above, when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which have the same subject, the subject need not be repeated. For instance, in the example she tried and succeeded, the pronoun she acts as the subject for both the verb tried and the verb succeeded. It should also be noted that when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which do not have the same subject, the two coordinate clauses may be separated by a comma or semicolon, in order to make the meaning clear.
1. Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences, and to the presence of inverted word order, fill in the blanks with the correct coordinate conjunctions chosen from the pairs given in brackets. For example:
I would like to come, ___ I do not have time. (but, nor)
I would like to come, but I do not have time.
He has not written, ___ has he called me. (but, nor)
He has not written, nor has he called me.
1. I opened the door _________ looked out. (and, yet)
2. She was not in the back yard, _________ was she upstairs. (or, nor)
3. The sun had set, _________ it was still light outside. (or, yet)
4. Do you know his address _________ telephone number? (but, or)
5. He has not arrived yet, _________ have they. (and, nor)
6. I read the book, _________ did not understand it. (but, or)
7. We searched diligently, ________ found nothing. (or, yet)
8. I invited him _________ his friends. (and, but)
2. Correlative conjunctions
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, in order to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence. For instance, in the following example, the expression either ... or is used to indicate that the ideas expressed in the two clauses represent two alternative choices of action.
e.g. Either you should study harder, or you should take a different course.
The most commonly used correlative conjunctions are both ... and, either ... or and neither ... nor. In the table below, each pair of correlative conjunctions is accompanied by an example of its use. Note that in the construction if ... then, the word then can usually be omitted.
both ... and
He is both intelligent and good-natured.
either ... or
I will either go for a walk or read a book.
neither ... nor
He is neither rich nor famous.
hardly ... when
He had hardly begun to work, when he was interrupted.
if ... then
If that is true, then what happened is not surprising.
no sooner ... than
No sooner had I reached the corner, than the bus came.
not only ... but also
She is not only clever, but also hard-working.
rather ... than
I would rather go swimming than go to the library.
scarcely ... when