Grammatical conjunction

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In grammar, a conjunction (abbreviated conj or cnj) is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a "conjunction" should be defined for each language. In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle, and it may or may not stand between the items it conjoins.

The definition can also be extended to idiomatic phrases that behave as a unit with the same function as a single-word conjunction (as well as, provided that, etc.).


Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators, are conjunctions that join two or more items of equal syntactic importance, such as words, main clauses, or sentences. In English the mnemonic acronym FANBOYS can be used to remember the coordinators for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.[1][2] These are not the only coordinating conjunctions; various others are used, including[3]:ch. 9[4]:p. 171 "and nor" (British), "but nor" (British), "or nor"(British), "neither" ("They don't gamble; neither do they smoke"), "no more" ("They don't gamble; no more do they smoke"), and "only" ("Can we perform? Only if we practice").

Here are the meanings and some examples of the FANBOYS coordinating conjunctions in English:

  • for: presents a reason ("He is gambling with his health, for he has been smoking far too long.") (though "for" is more commonly used as a preposition)
  • and: presents non-contrasting item(s) or idea(s) ("They gamble, and they smoke.")
  • nor: presents a non-contrasting negative idea ("They don't gamble, nor do they smoke.")
  • but: presents a contrast or exception ("They gamble, but they don't smoke.")
  • or: presents an alternate item or idea ("Every day they gamble, or they smoke.")
  • yet: presents a contrast or exception ("They gamble, yet they don't smoke.")
  • so: presents a consequence ("He gambled well last night, so he smoked a cigar to celebrate.")

Correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together to coordinate two items. English examples include both…and, [n]either…[n]or, and not [only]…but [also], whether... or.


  • Either do your work or prepare for a trip to the office.
  • Not only is he handsome but he is also brilliant.
  • Neither the basketball team nor the football team is doing well.
  • Both the cross country team and the swimming team are doing well.
  • Whether you stay or go is your decision.

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