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Coordinating Conjunctions

One of the important parts of speech is Conjunction. Conjunction is known as a joining word. It acts as a bridge between two sentences and helps them to join together and complete the meaning of the sentence.

A word that joins parts of sentences is known as conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators or joiners, are conjunctions that join, or coordinate, two or more words, sentences, items or clauses of equal importance. The coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet.

Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions:
  • Evelyn and Amelia are best friends.
  • He is yet to receive the mail.
  • You can eat mango or orange.
  • He is sick so he feels very weak.
  • The man is neither blind nor deaf.
  • They smoke, but they don't drink.
  • She goes home, for she is ill.
The 7 coordinating conjunctions are short, simple words. They have only two or three letters. There's an easy way to remember them - their initials spell:

F      A        N      B       O     Y       S 

For   And    Nor    But    Or    Yet    So

When to Use a Comma before a Coordinating Conjunction

There is often confusion over when to use a comma before a coordinate conjunction. Here are the summary of the rules:

When you have three or more items we use comma and separate the items in the list.

  • Ivy bought mangoes, oranges and pineapples from the market.
  • Can you buy some potatoes, onions and garlic for me?

When your coordinate conjunction joins two or more independent clauses in a series or a list, we don’t use a comma to separate the items in the list or the series.

  • Samhitas and The Brahamans and The Aranyakas and The Upanishads are four parts of Veda.
  • The Bakerloo line runs between Elephant and Castle, and Harrow and Wealdstone

While expressing a contract, a comma can be used with a coordinating conjunction ‘but’

  • The meeting was long but not fruitful.
  • I like sweet things but prefer savoury dishes.

In joining two independent sentences, in most of the cases, the coordinating conjunction isn’t accompanied by a comma.

  • The Stone Age and Bronze Age are two significant ages in the History of India.
  • Some European powers United Kingdom and Portugal started to establish trade posts in India in the 16th Century.
It is difficult to say whether Stone Age or Bronze Age was the most important Age in the History of India.


We should keep in mind when two independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction, a comma is also used with the coordinating conjunction, but if the two independent clauses are nicely balanced then we can remove the comma.

Example: It was raining very hard, but he managed to go to school.

The coordinating conjunction (and) is used to seperate items in a list. We also use a comma to seperate the items in the list with the help of a comma.

Example: Joshua drinks beer, scotch, rum and wine.

As we know and, but are two important coordinating conjunction, but it is often questioned whether we can begin a sentence with and or but. Although it is considered to be incorrect to use andbut in the beginning of a sentence, but some authors use andbut consistently in the beginning of a sentence.

The commonly used coordinating conjunctions are:

And, but, or

So, it would be beneficial to know the uses of the coordinating conjunction

  • And - 

         a)  It helps us to express sequential ideas or events in a sentence.

  1. Abigail wrote the letter to the school principal and waited for his response.
  2. Viola passed the examination and went to study abroad.

         b)  And can be used to express when one idea or event is the result of the previous event.

  1. Ryan heard the news of the earthquake and ran to save his family.
  2. The man saw the accident and called an ambulance immediately.

         c)  To express a surprise element in the sentence. The surprise element is mostly expressed by ‘yet’ but and sometimes and               can also be used.

  1. Kolkata is a big city and has many roads which are congested.
  2. She asked us to clean our rooms and wash the dishes.

          d) When one clause is dependent is another clause (generally the first clause is imperative in such cases)

  1. Use your phone frequently and you will soon find how expensive it is.
  2. The mailman is running away and the dog is chasing him.

  • But- 

      a)  We use ‘but’ to express a contrast in the sentence.

  1. Fred lost the game but he was not upset.
  2. I wanted to ride my bike, but the tire was flat.
  3. I want to go see a movie, but my sister has my car.

       b)  But is used to join two ideas in a sentence but it intends to mean “with the exception of”

  1. Everyone but Mr. Thomas is trying out for the team.
  2. He is a small but aggressive dog.
  3. No one but Alex knew the answer.

  • Or
         a)  When only possibility has more chances to occur, at that time or is used. It helps to exclude the chances of other                           possibilities to occur.

  1. You should study hard or you will not pass in the examination.
  2. You should go out quickly or you will miss the bus.
  3. He didn’t want this life for himself or for his daughter.

          b)  To express alternatives.

  1. What would you prefer to take? - Tea or coffee.
  2. You can have guava or pineapple.
  3. The manager, his associate, or his secretary will be with you in a moment.

Negative condition or negative alternatives can be expressed with the help of ‘or’. The conjunction ‘Nor’ is not so frequently used in the sentences; however its usage has not become extinct.

  • He is neither a stupid nor a brilliant person.
  • Neither John nor Jack went to attend their friend’s party.
  • Neither my mother nor my father went to Dublin.

The next coordinating conjunctions are ‘Yet.’ Yet can also be used an adverb. Yet can used to express several meanings.  As a coordinating conjunction, it means nevertheless.

  • Ann plays chess well, yet her favorite board game is monopoly.
  • The guests complained about the loud music at the restaurant, yet they continued to have food.
  • I got the book a week ago and I haven't yet had a chance to read it.

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Important of Coordinating Conjunctions

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For and So are other two important coordinating conjunctions.

Although For is mostly used as a preposition, so can be used to join two independent clauses accompanied by a comma. When So is used as ‘as well’ most of the authors prefer to use a semicolon between the two clauses.

  1. Rihanna studied hard, so she could become the topper in her class.
  2. You can’t blame me for everything you did.
  3. We set up camp early, for we were tired.
  4. Why is she making it so difficult?
Coordinating conjunctions are very important in the sentences. Without them, two sentences cannot be joined.  If two sentences are not joined, we cannot create correct sentences that will express proper meanings of them.

While deciding to begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, keep in mind the following:
  1. Ensure that a main clause follows the coordinating conjunction.
  2. Do not use a coordinating conjunction to begin every sentence. Use the option only when it makes the flow of your ideas more effective.
  3. Do not use a comma after the coordinating conjunction.
  4. Coordinating conjunctions are not transitional expressions like for example or first of all. You will rarely use punctuation after them.
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