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Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are short words like: because, and, or, but. They are words that connect sentences and clauses and show the relationship between them. So, without conjunctions, we would have to constantly make extra phrases, which would mean a lot of redundancy. Importantly, the words being connected with coordinating conjunctions must be part of the same category or part of speech, for example, noun + noun, adjective + adjective etc.

  • I know Susan and Maria.

The nouns “Susan” and “Maria” are grammatically equal, that is, they are both nouns.

  • You are good or bad.

Here, the adjectives “good” and “bad” are grammatically equal, that is, they are both adjectives.

In English, there are three types of conjunctions in English: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions. conjunctions. However, In this lesson, we’re going to focus on the most common type of conjunction, coordinating conjunctions, of which there are seven:

  • For
  • And
  • Nor
  • But
  • Or
  • Yet
  • So

Coordinating conjunctions are words like: and, or, for, yet, soon, nor, either etc.

Their purpose is to join or link clauses and phrases together that are of similar importance, grammatically speaking. So the sentences must not depend on anything else to give or change the meaning in order for the coordinating conjunction to function. Examples below: 

  • Which pen would you like? The red or the blue?
  • I’m a fast runner but my friend Peter is faster.
  • She has done all her homework and finished her speech.
  • I really like the way she sings yet I don’t believe she has what it takes to win.
  • We didn’t sign the player onto the team for he is not worth his price.
  • We can’t tell him our secret nor anyone else.

All the above examples that include coordinating conjunctions will now be written out without their respective coordinating conjunctions to prove why they are necessary to avoid excessive redundancy 

  • Which pen would you like? Would you like the red one? Would you like the blue one?
  • I’m a fast runner. My friend Peter is faster.
  • She has done all her homework. She has also finished her speech.
  • I really like the way she sings. I don’t believe she has what it takes to win.
  • We didn’t sign the player onto the team. He is not worth his price.
  • We can’t tell him our secret. We cannot tell anyone else.

As we can see in all the above examples, that, without the coordinating conjunctions, we are left with either excessive redundancy or the need to make separate sentences altogether instead of having just one sentence.

Coordinating conjunctions are a vital part of English grammar and need to be used accordingly.

Coordinating conjunctions with context and analysis

  • So, you’re heading1 to university next year. Have you decided which one you want to go to?
  • Well2, I would like to go to either3 one4 in London or Oxford5, but It’s very hard to get into Oxford University.
  • I bet it is6. Have you done all your research and7 understood the entrance requisites for both universities?
  • Yes, I’ve spent a good deal of8 time researching both universities and I also understand the requisites for both of them.
  • How much does it cost to go to university in the U.K. these days?
  • It’s so expensive… It’s nor expensive or9
  • Have you thought about getting a student loan then?
  • Yes, that crossed my mind, and I’ll definitely consider that If need be.
  • I wish you all the best then!
  • Thanks. 


  1. Head to: to go to a place, or head in a direction either as part of a career choice or metaphorically speaking.
  2. Well: this is a popular word to use in English to begin a sentence. It usually takes a comma (,) after, before the next word.
  3. Either: this conjunction is used to give two options. ‘’Either apples or pears, you decide’’.
  4. One: Remember, this word is also a pronoun that, in this case, is referring to the university.
  5. London and Oxford: are both capitalised (have capital letters) because they are places and thus, proper nouns. Proper nouns are always capitalised.
  6. To bet: an idiom used in everyday language to express certainty that we’re even willing to bet over it (idiomatically of course).
  7. And: conjunction being used to connect two things, research and research requisites.   
  8. A good/great deal of: an expression to express a high quantity of something.
  9. Or: conjunction being used to connect two things together; the university is not expensive or easy. 

Section review

  • My friend and I want to do some travelling around Europe next year in July. We were thinking of going by train or What do you reckon?
  • I reckon the train would be a better option. You can get cheap tickets off Inter rail and travel throughout Europe. It should be good fun for you guys.
  • Yeah, I bet!
  • Which countries are you planning on seeing?
  • Well, I really want to see a lot of countries in central and Eastern Europe, yet I don’t think I’ll have enough time to see them all.
  • How long will you be travelling for?
  • Roughly two weeks, then I have to head back to Australia because my visa will expire.
  • You can always come back and do it next year. Which countries were you wanting to see?
  • Hungry, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia, and many more.
  • You’ve got plenty of time, don’t sweat it.

See also