English Grammar: “Coordinating Conjunctions”

Remember our Introduction to Connectors? Let’s look deeper into the first category: Coordinating Conjunctions.

These conjunctions connect words, phrases and clauses. They are usually found in the middle of a sentence with a comma (,) just before the conjuction, or at the beginning of the sentence.

Addition Alternative Cause-Effect Condition Contrast
And or so  or else  but
Also not for until  yet


First, we will explain the difference between coordination and subordination: coordination means both parts of the sentence are equal. Subordination means one clause, or part of the sentence, is more important than the other.

Coordination: “Diana loved studying maths, but Julia hated it.”
Subordination: “Diana only enjoyed math if Julia was there.”

There are three ways of using Coordinating Conjunctions:

1. Connecting two main clauses
When you connect two main clauses, use a comma. The clauses are underlined.

Example: “When I get home the dog is on the sofa and the cat is on the bed

2. Connecting two items
Connect two gramatical units, but not clauses.

Example: “My hat’s great: it has flowers and a ribbon

3. Connecting three or more items in a series. 
This way is similar to number two. You separate the items with a comma, except the last.

Example: “What I do when I get home is watch TV, cook supper and go to bed.

When do we use each connector?

For – used to introduce a statement that explains why a preceding statement is true. Usually, we use “because” instead of “for”, however.
Example: “I know he went to the party, for I saw him there”


1 - Used to join words or groups of words.
Example: “My dog is black and white.

2 - Used to describe an action that is repeated or that occurs for a long time.
Example: ” The dog barked and barked and barked.

3 - Used to describe actions that occur at the same time.
Example: “They sat and waited for hours for the doctor to come”

4- Used to describe an action that occurs after another action.
Example: “Ok, we will travel for 3 hours and then stop to eat”

5- Used to describe an action that occurs after and is caused by another action.
Example: “I asked her to buy me some sweets and she did.

Nor – used after a negative statement to introduce a related negative word or statement. It’s not often used on its own.
Example: “Laura didn’t eat her meat, nor did she want the vegetables”


1 - Used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way
Example: “Gina doesn’t like James, but I do”

2 - Synonymous of  “other than”.
Example: “When the weather got worse we had no choice but to go home”


1 - used to introduce another choice or possibility
Example: “Would you like tea or coffee?”

2 - Used in negative statements to introduce something else that is also not true.
Example: “We couldn’t stop or get out of the taxi”

3 - Used to say what will happen if a specified thing is not done.
Example: “You have to go to the job interview or you won’t get a job”

4 - Used to introduce the reason why something said previously is true.
Example: “He must have passed the exam or he would be upset”

5 – Used to introduce a word or phrase that defines or explains what another word or phrase means.
Example: “Adiós, or in English goodbye, is what we say to each other when we’re leaving”

Yet – used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way.
Example: “My aunt designs high quality yet affordable clothes”


1 - For that reason : and therefore
Example: “The film was very bad, so we left after 10 minutes”

2 - Used to say the reason for something.
Example: “Please be quiet so everyone can read peacefully”

3 - Used in speech to introduce a statement or question.
Example: “So, finally we meet!”

Great! That’s one of the four Sentence Connector types.

Try to practice by using them in sentences; stop yourself when you are about to say or write two short sentences which you could connect for a richer language.

Remember, if you have any questions about connectors or English grammar, let us know in the comments section below and our teachers will give you an answer!

See you soon for more!


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About the author  ⁄ Kate

I have been teaching English for 9 years. I currently work for ABA English but I also teach English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I love vegan cooking, my pets and everything to do with social media!

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    10 May 2012

    Hello tankz so much for d website it hlps alolt,buh how do I break sentences like dis into simpler gramatical units ”John killed a lion” and ”Ada sings every day” and ”Tolu is a good girl”. Tank u so much for helpin.

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    Can the conjunction “And” join a noun and an adjective or A verb and an adjective? For example is it correct to write “Wailing and Gnashing of teeth”- Wailing is a noun or an adjective whereas Gnashing is a verb. Kindly guide

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