Category: Conjunction

Hi there, and welcome back to our parts of speech series. In this lesson, you’re going to learn about conjunctions. We’ll first discuss what a conjunction is, and then we’ll look at the four main types of conjunctions, and how to avoid the most common mistake that people with them – that is, how to punctuate conjunctions correctly in writing. Alright, let’s begin. As always, if you have any questions, just let me know in the comments section below and I will talk to you there. OK, so first, what is a conjunction? A conjunction is a word that connects parts of a sentence – it can connect words or it can connect phrases or even clauses. Look at these examples. In number one, “When you go to London, you must try fish and chips.” Fish and chips is a popular food in the UK. So here, the conjunction ‘and’ connects two words – fish and chips. In the next sentence, “My cell phone is either on the table or in the drawer.” The conjunction is the combination of ‘either .. or’ and it connects two phrases ‘on the table’ and ‘in the drawer’. And in number three, can you find the conjunction? The conjunction is ‘but ’ and it connects two clauses (clauses are just like sentences) – “Yazmin went to see her manager” is the first clause and the second clause is “he wasn’t in his office.” So you see here that conjunctions can connect any two parts of a sentence. Alright so now let’s talk about the different types of conjunctions in English. Conjunctions come in four major types: coordinating conjunctions (these are the words and, or, but, so, yet, for and nor), subordinating conjunctions (like because, after, although, if, until etc.), correlative conjunctions (these are pairs of conjunctions such as either .. or, neither .. nor, not only .. but also etc.) – so in each one, you see two words that always go together. And finally, conjunctive adverbs. These are words like as a result, however, in addition and therefore. They are adverbs but they act like conjunctions (that is, they help to join parts of a sentence). Now don’t be scared by all these names – the names are not important, what is important is knowing how to use the conjunctions correctly. Of course, conjunctions are a huge topic and there are many grammar rules relating to them. So today, we will focus on avoiding the most common type of mistake with conjunctions, and that is, punctuating them correctly in writing. We won’t be discussing correlative conjunctions because there aren’t any special punctuation rules with them – but we will be discussing the other three. So let’s start with coordinating conjunctions first. Coordinating conjunctions are probably the most commonly used type of conjunction in English. These are the words: and, or, but, so, yet, for and nor. Now, the words for and nor can be used as conjunctions but they’re not used a lot (the word for is used much more as a preposition not a conjunction). But the other five are very common. Alright, let’s talk about how to punctuate them correctly. On the screen, there are four sentences. You will notice that there are no commas in these. So in all four sentences, I want you to put commas wherever necessary. Pause the video and think about your answers, then play the video again and check. OK, let’s look at the answers: in the first two sentences, did you put a comma anywhere? Actually, you don’t need any commas in these two sentences. That is because when a conjunction only connects two words or two phrases, we don’t use commas. In number one, the conjunction is ‘and ’ and it connects the adjectives ‘beautiful’ and ‘spacious’. Only two items – so no comma. In number two, the conjunction is ‘or’ and it connects two noun phrases: ‘a library’ and ‘a restaurant’.

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