What is a Coordinating Conjunction?
A Coordinating Conjunction is a conjunction used to connect two items of equal rank. Thus, it can join two nouns, two verbs, two gerunds, two infinitives, two adjectives, two adverbs, two phrases, or two independent clauses. There are seven Coordinating Conjunctions in the English language. They are: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So. The acronym, FANBOYS, will be useful to remember these 7 coordinating conjunctions.
Some coordinating conjunctions such as and, but, or , and yet can join two words, phrases and independent clauses. But for, nor and so are more limited.
Let us consider each of the seven FANBOYS separately.
- For – For explains the reason or purpose. We can use For when we mean because. But it is a little formal.
I go to my friend’s house every Sunday, for I long to see his face.
- And – And joins two things or one elements to another. Thus it can join two words, two phrases and two entire independent clauses.
Rose and Mary are also coming to the picnic.
She sang and danced during the picnic.
Her gentle and warm behaviour attracted everybody.
Her golden dress and expensive necklace
She went to the railway station, and met her friend.
- Nor – Nor indicates two negative ideas.
She doesn’t love him nor does she hate him.
Note: In the above example, nor is used to join two independent clauses . In such cases negative inversion must be used in the second clause
- But – indicates a contrast with previous information.
Rani has learnt to drive cars, but she never drives even her own car.
- Or – Or indicates a choice or an alternative.
I shall attend the meeting, or I shall send my partner to attend it.
- Yet – Like ‘but’, ‘yet’ also indicates a contrast.
Rainy season has started, yet it is very hot here.
- So – ‘So’ indicates result or consequence. It is generally used to join two independent clauses.
Jill had studied well, so she came first in the class.
Of these seven coordinating conjunctions, “so” is a bit different, in the sense that it can function as Subordinating Conjunction as well. As a coordinating conjunction, so can connect two independent clauses and as a subordinating conjunction it can link two unequal clauses ,that is, one independent clause and one dependent clause in the meaning of “so that”.
Examples of Coordinating Conjunctions that connect two words:
1. Two nouns :
- Jack and Jill are friends.
- Jack or Jill will go there.
2. Two verbs:
- The girls sang and danced for the function.
- You can play or dance here.
- Swimming and dancing are good exercises.
- The two friend s were eating and drinking.
4. Two infinitives
- To stay or to leave, was the question.
- There is a swimming pool near my house ; I go there to swim and to play in the water.
5. Two adjectives
- The house was very big and magnificent
- The girl was obese , but beautiful.
6. Two adverbs
- Slowly but steadily she began to take part in the business affairs.
- She went with him obediently and willingly.
7. Two phrases
- When I found that my friend was cheating on me, I went to London to keep him out of sight and out of mind.
- she was badly dressed but well mannered.
8. Two independent clauses
- My doctor has advised me to stop smoking, but I am finding it difficult to obey him.
- She always takes her text books to the park, yet she never turns a single page.
Punctuation note: When we use a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses, the coordinating conjunction is preceded by a comma.
Generally we do not begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. But it is to be mentioned that there is no such grammatical rule. Only thing is we must take care that the sentence is not a fragment .