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Relative Pronouns & Adjectives (yes, they belong here, too!)
A conjunction is a word that links words, phrases, or clauses. Conjunctions come in three broad types: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions join single words or groups of words, but they must always join similar elements: subject + subject, verb phrase + verb phrase, sentence + sentence, etc. Correlative conjunctions also connect sentence elements of the same kind but with one difference: correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. Subordinating conjunctions connect subordinate clauses to a main clause. These conjunctions are adverbs used as conjunctions.
Coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions are listed below. Since there is a large group of subordinating conjunctions, only a few of the more common ones are listed.
To help remember the coordinating conjunctions, think of the word FANBOYS. Remember, when using a conjunction to join two sentences, use a comma before the conjunction. Notice that then and now are not coordinating conjunctions, so their functions in a sentence---and any punctuation rules that may apply to them---is different.
|for||Linda was finally going to buy a new car, for she had won the lottery.||sentence + sentence|
|and||Christopher sings and dances superbly.||verb + verb|
|nor||I didn't run, nor did I walk to the fire. I drove.||sentence + sentence|
|but||Jon intended to go to the ball game, but his wife made him go to the opera instead.||sentence + sentence|
|or||Do you prefer blondes or brunettes?||direct object + direct object|
|yet||Matthew wanted to stay home, yet he couldn't resist going out.||sentence + sentence|
|so||Laura stubbed her toe, so she was limping for two days.||sentence + sentence|
Click on the conjunction to read a bit more about it.
Commas and coordinating conjunctions:
1. Use a comma before the conjunctive when it is joining two independent clauses. An independent (main) clause is one that can stand alone as a complete sentence.
Marty had thought he had a date with Sarah, but Sarah went to the movies with Jesse, instead. (Two independent clauses, each able to stand alone as a sentence.)
2. A comma is used before and in a series. Some people do not use that last comma, and it is becoming more acceptable to leave it out. Whichever you choose, be consistent.
I bought apples, oranges, and bananas.
3. A comma is used with but when expressing contrast:
She thought she loved him, but she really didn't.
In most of their other roles as joiners (other than joining independent clauses, that is), coordinating conjunctions can join two sentence elements without the help of a comma.
AND: Its uses and functions.
1. To show that one idea comes after another (chronological order):
Tony drove to the golf course and played nine holes before lunch. (He drove first, played second.)
2. To show an opinion or comment about the first clause:
Mildred is eighty-seven and is very fragile now.
3. To show some surprise or a degree of amazement (yet is often used here; and may also be used):
Andrew is handsome and is still single!
4. To show that one idea is the result of another:
Vicky saw the storm coming and ran to the basement.
5. To show that one clause is dependent upon another, conditionally (the first clause is often an imperative): Stop pouting, and I'll give you some ice cream.
6. To show that one idea contrasts with another. But is often used; and is also used:
Mark is brave, and Alan is humorous.
Hortense exercises but is still clumsy.
7. To join or add words or similar ideas together.
They sang and danced the night away.
Its uses and functions.
1. To show in a positive way what the first part of the sentence implied in a negative way (on the contrary is also used):
Mr. Lee seemed to waste time, but he completed all the work.
2. To take the place of with the exception of:
No one but Bert remembered to bring a notebook to class. (Everyone forgot to bring a notebook, with the exception of Bert.)
3. To show join contrasting ideas:
Amanda never gets tough, but she still commands a lot of respect.
NOTE: Even though it is not formal usage to begin a sentence with and or but, writers have been doing exactly that for centuries. A sentence beginning with and or but can help a narrative flow smoothly, and can draw attention to the sentence. If you want to use one of these words to start a sentence, first ask yourself: (1) Does the sentence not work as well without using and or but at the beginning? (2) Is the sentence logically connected (in thought) to the one before it? If both answers are "yes", go ahead and use it.
OR: Its uses and functions.
We didn't know if we should risk driving through the deep water, or get out and swim.
2. To further elaborate on the first clause:
English Mistakes Welcome is the best room on Paltalk, or so the regulars say.
3. To show choice or possibility:
You can eat dinner early, or you can wait until midnight to eat.
4. To show a negative alternative without using an imperative (also see uses of and):
Clyde must like to chat or he wouldn't keep fighting with his bad connection to stay on-line.
5. To suggest the inclusive combination of alternatives:
We can take turns talking on the microphone, or we can just sit here and look at each other.
6. To suggest a restatement or correction of the first part of the sentence:
Iowa is the best place in the world to live, or at least Annie tries to tell us that.
NOR: Its uses and functions.
Nor is not used nearly as often as the other conjunctions, and is usually used together with neither (Neither Bill nor Judd are interested in going sailing this Sunday.) Nor can also be used alone:
Nor can be used with other negative expressions:
Gloria did not start the riot, nor did Lilly.
Neither Wilfred nor Stuart kept the promises they made.
YET: Its uses and functions.
Yet has two functions: 1) as an adverb 2) as a coordinating conjunction. It has several meanings:
in addition (Yet another fine mess you got me in!)
even (yet less interesting. . .)
still (She is a beginner, yet.)
eventually (CC may yet get unpacked.)
at this time (He's not here yet.)
As a coordinating conjunction, its meaning is similar to nevertheless or but.
Jackson sings beautifully, yet he prefers to listen to others.
Everyone complains about politics, yet no one does anything about it.
Anna sews much better than the tailor on First St., yet she's afraid to charge for her services.
You can combine yet with but or and in a sentence.
The tornado chaser was scared but yet calm as he drove closer to the center of the storm.
FOR: Its uses and functions.
For is usually a preposition, but it can be used as a coordinating conjunction too. It sounds very formal and stiff, so isn't used that much. The use of for strongly indicates a certain order of events or thoughts, so be careful how you use it. A more informal choice instead of using the word for would be because or since. The function of for is to introduce the reason for the preceding clause:
Nicole believed the best of everyone, for she was a truly good person.
Everyone took a break and got a drink, for it had been a grueling class session.
SO: Its uses and functions.
So is a little more confusing than the other conjunctions. Sometimes it can connect two independent clauses along with a comma, but sometimes it can't.
Correct: Max is a bit shy, so he doesn't speak on the microphone very much.
So can also be as a weaker version of therefore. (That is, it can show that a second idea is the result of the first idea. In that case, a comma before so is fine.)
Correct: "So, my proud beauty, I have you in my power," leered the evil villain.
In the previous example, so was put at the beginning of the sentence to show a transition or summing up of a narrative. When it is used this way, a comma should follow so.
going to the wrestling match alone,
Abe and Libby are going too
When so means as well or in addition, it is better to use a semicolon (;) between the independent clauses, or use a period after the word alone and start a new sentence, omitting the word so.
Correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. They join similar elements. When joining singular and plural subjects, the subject closest to the verb determines whether the verb is singular or plural. Below are all the correlative conjunctions.
|both. . .and||Both red and white wines are good for cooking.||subject + subject|
|either. . .or||You can have either chicken or fish.||noun + noun|
|neither. . .nor||Neither Lionel nor Herbert can tap dance.||subject + subject|
|not only. . .but also||Not only did Martin lose his wallet, but he also lost his keys.||sentence + sentence|
|whether. . .or||Whether to stay or to go is a decision only you can make.||verb + verb|
|not. . .but||Not a day goes by that I don't remember the fresh air, but I don't wish I were still in the mountains.||sentence + sentence|
|Just as. . .so too||Just as you sow, so too shall you reap.||sentence + sentence|
While coordinating and correlative conjunctions are great to use to join two things of equal importance, subordinating conjunctions can show that one idea is more important than another. The idea in the main clause is more important, while the idea in the subordinate clause (made subordinate by the subordinating conjunction) is less important.
The subordinate clause supplies a time, reason, condition, etc. for the main clause. It modifies the independent clause in some way, or acts as a part of speech in relation to the independent clause.
Subordinating conjunctions are placed at the front of the subordinate clause. This clause can come either before or after the main clause. Subordinators are usually a single word, but there are also a number of multi-word subordinators that function like single subordinating conjunctions. Subordinators make the clause depend on the rest of the sentence in order to make sense. You should put a comma at the end of an adverbial phrase when it precedes the main clause.**
** NOTE: Usually, no comma is needed before a subordinating conjunction if the dependent clause follows the independent clause. (Pay attention to the order of the clauses.)
Some subordinating conjunctions such as after, before, since are also prepositions, but when they are used to introduce a clause, they make that clause subordinate to the independent clause in the sentence. Below are the most common subordinating conjunctions. Some can indicate more than one idea.
|Indicates Time||Indicates Place||Indicates Manner||Indicates Reason||Indicates Condition||Indicates Concession|
|since||how||so that||until||even though|
|when||why||in case (that)||while|
|whenever||in order that||provided that||whereas|
|while||now that||assuming that||rather than|
|as||so||only if; if only|
|once||whether or not|
|as long as||that|
|Make hay while the sun shines.||time|
|Because Barbie is from the South, she has a drawl.||reason|
|If Taylor moves to New Zealand, he will have a better job.||condition|
|Santa keeps a list, so you better be good!||reason|
|Wherever he goes, she will follow.||place|
|Vanessa never liked chocolate, although it smelled delicious.||concession|
|Unless the taxes are lowered, there will be trouble.||condition|
|Gertie wants to be an acrobat, as if her mother would let her!||manner|
|He walked into the room as though he owned the place.||manner|
Conjunctive adverbs such as however, moreover, nevertheless, consequently, as a result, etc., are used to join two independent clauses (sentences). A conjunctive adverb is a word (sometimes a phrase) that shows how such sentences, sections of a paragraph, or entire paragraphs are related. They add a lot of emphasis, so don't be tempted to use them too often. Be aware that some of them sound too formal for everyday conversational English.
1. A semicolon and a comma are used when a conjunctive adverb separates two main clauses.
2. When conjunctive adverbs (transitions) are within an independent clause, they are set off by commas.
Natalie ate strawberries, however, without a second thought.**
**NOTE: without a second thought isn't not a complete sentence, so a semicolon is not needed. Just set off the conjunctive adverb with commas.
3. Conjunctive adverbs can be often moved around in the sentence with no loss of meaning. This cannot be done with "true" conjunctions such as the coordinating conjunctions.
Helena's car is making strange noises; therefore, she will take it to be serviced.
Helena's car is making strange noises, so she will therefore take it to be serviced.
Helena's car is making strange noises. She will therefore take it to be serviced.
4. When a conjunctive adverb is used as an introductory word (at the beginning of a sentence), it needs a comma after it.
Naturally, Kyle has a cosmopolitan view on many topics.
Conjunctive Adverbs and the Relation They Indicate
|To add to||To compare||To concede||To contrast|
|again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second, still, too, in fact||also, in the same way, likewise, similarly||granted, naturally, of course||
although, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, despite that, even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, still, though, yet
|To emphasize**||To summarize|
certainly, indeed, in fact, of course, to be
sure, I hope, naturally, after all
in short, at least,
remarkably, in fact,
I think, it seems, in brief, clearly, I suppose, assuredly,
definitely, without doubt, for all that,
on the whole, in any event, importantly,
all in all, altogether, as has been said,
finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in particular, in short,
in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole, that is, therefore, to put it
differently, to summarize
|To show a time sequence||To conclude an argument||To illustrate|
|after, after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length, at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately, meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too, until, until now, when, later||consequently, therefore, as a result, accordingly||after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in conclusion, indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely, specifically, that is, to illustrate, thus, truly|
**These words are also called expletives, and are closely related to conjunctive adverbs. Expletives often show no other meaning than to emphasize the sentence to which they are attached. Because of this, they do not really show a logical relationship like time or cause between ideas, so they are not exactly conjunctive adverbs. They do, however, show that the new idea is important because of what preceded it. That is why many references include them with conjunctive adverbs.
RELATIVE PRONOUNS & RELATIVE ADJECTIVES
Another type of word that is not really a conjunctive adverb, but which joins ideas together with adjective or noun clauses, are relative pronouns and relative adjectives.
Randolph is the guy who won the in-line skate contest.
Artie told the waiter what his date wanted to order.
Dreams that have been denied still are not forgotten.
Lanny was determined to visit Helen, whatever the cost.
That is used to connect a subordinate clause to a preceding verb. It serves the purpose of a conjunction in that instance. That may often be left out with no changes in meaning to the sentence. You need to determine whether the sentence is clearly understood if you leave out the word that when you introduce a subordinate clause. If the sentence makes sense without the word that, omit it.
Rod heard (that) his car was stolen.
Margo thought (that) her neighbors were gossiping about her.
feels (that) he said nothing rude to the salesman.
If you think leaving out the word that makes a break in the smoothness of a sentence, you may use a comma where the word that would have been placed.
Iím telling you, (that) I donít want to go
The biggest obstacle
is, (that) no one wants to spend money on repairs.
If you think the sentence sounds as good and its meaning is clearly understood without using that, then leave it out. BUT: There are three times when the word that should be used:
1. If there is a time element mentioned between the verb and the clause:
Warren told us last week
that he was going on vacation this
2. If the verb of the clause is further into the clause rather than close to the beginning:
The newspaper stated that some of the new houses built over the last few months were already in disrepair. (Be careful! The main verb in this clause is were, not built)
3. If a second that makes the sentence more clear as to who said or did what:
The fireman said that the frequency of home fires was increasing, and that the sale of smoke detectors had fallen off. (Did the fireman mean that sales had fallen off, or was the increase in fires causing the drop in sales? The second that clarifies the sentence.)
Interjections (words or phrases) are used to convey emotion, such as surprise, anger, protest, or to give a command. Milder interjections are set off by commas within a sentence, but stronger interjections may stand alone and are followed by an exclamation point. Interjections are not used in formal or academic writing. An interjection is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.
There are so many words used as interjections, that it's impossible to list them all. Some of them can indicate several different emotions. In written English, the sentence or thought following the interjection is your clue to the emotion it is meant to convey. In spoken English of course, the tone of voice and inflection will give you the meaning.
Some of the meanings or emotions an interjection can convey are: anger, surprise, pity, distress, sorrow, pleasure, realization, resignation, asking for repetition, inviting agreement, hesitation, pain, greeting. In fact, you can show almost any emotion with an interjection. And yes, four-letter words (cursing or swear words) are very often interjections!
Ah! I like that.
Darn it! I forgot my car keys.
Hi honey! I'm so glad to see you!
Hey, you jerk! You hit my car.
Gee whiz! I hit my thumb with the hammer.
Imagine that! I don't know the answer.
Darling! Where have you been all my life?
Damn! I got another parking ticket. (Some people consider the word damn unacceptable in informal conversation, but it has become a very a common word, even appearing as brand names on commercial products.)
Oh-oh! (or uh-oh), I think I'm going to be sick.
Oh dear! You did what?? (or Oh my!, Oh my goodness!, Goodness gracious!, and many more)
Well! Don't scold me for being late, when you're late all the time!
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