According to merriam-webster.com, conjunctions join together sentences, clauses, phrases, or words. They hold membership in the “Parts of Speech” club and are crucial to gluing different types of words or phrases to form a coherent sentence. The basic types of conjunctions include coordinating, subordinating, and correlative.
They act as coordinators and fulfill their duty to coordinate the relationships between words, phrases, and main clauses. They’re sometimes referred to as “FANBOYS”. The members of this club include for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.
Historically, some people thought it was improper to start a sentence with a member of the “FANBOY” club. These questionable elite members include and, but, and or. However, modern grammar books and guides green light their use at the beginning of sentences.
Uniting two main clauses with coordinating conjunction requires a comma before the conjunction. Sentences that start with conjunctions don’t require a comma. No comma is necessary when uniting pairs of subjects, verbs, complements, or objects.
- Jennifer wanted to go with them, but she couldn’t.
- Paul’s favorite meal was steak and potatoes.
- Elizabeth left the party in a hurry. And she dropped her purse on the sidewalk.
- So she thought she wanted to be the boss.
Their responsibility includes linking a dependent clause (subordinate clause) to the main clause. Sentences with a dependent clause and no subordinating conjunction put the sentence in danger of sentence fragment territory.
This club boasts a large membership which includes while, as soon as, although, before, even if, because, no matter how, whether, wherever, when, until, after, as if, how, if, provided, in that, once, supposing, while, unless, in case, as far as, now that, as, so that, though, and since.
Starting a sentence with a subordinate clause requires a comma after it. Otherwise, no comma is necessary.
- As soon as the alarm sounded, she jumped out of bed.
- No matter how awful she treated him, he still loved her.
- Debra held her breath while she watched Elizabeth reach the top of the mountain.
- Always use good manners wherever you go.
Pairs are the name of the game for this club. They’re coupled up to join related sentences together. While their number is few, their contribution to a sentence is essential. Members of this club include either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, both…and, whether…or, and so…as.
Usually, a comma doesn’t separate correlative pairs. However, a comma is required if offsetting a nonrestrictive clause or two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction.
- Either you eat the bananas or the strawberries for breakfast.
- Not only was she nearly out of breath but also dehydrated.
- Both mothers and their children had a picnic in the park.
- Neither the house, which had an affluent address nor the high-rise penthouse piqued Mr. Johnson’s interest.
Members to Remember
Whether they’re coordinating, subordinating, or correlating, conjunctions carry out their duties in sentences. Without them, a sentence doesn’t have the flavor of sentences with them.