This blog post will guide you down the yellow brick to understand coordinating conjunctions.
Firstly, let’s establish exactly what a coordinating conjunction is.
We can use the cheesy acronym FANBOYS to help us remember:
Coordinating conjunctions connect words, phrases, and clauses that are of the same syntactic importance together each in their own unique way. This becomes especially important in academic writing because you will be creating more complex sentences as your ideas become more complex.
Let’s see each of these words in action, using the same theme:
I take good care of my teeth, for it is expensive to go to the dentist.
I brush and floss my teeth twice a day.
I have never had a root canal nor braces.
My dog has really bad breath, but he hates having his teeth cleaned.
After I go to the dentist, my reward will be either a new toothbrush or a sundae!
I am terrified of the dentist, yet I go twice a year.
Dentists make a lot of money, so I have decided that’s what I’ll be!
That was a lot to sink your teeth into!
As you can see each of these words perform the same function of linking two words, clauses, or phrases together. Which word you chose to perform this function can impact whether you are comparing, contrasting, explaining, or adding to.
For example, and is clearly adding to the already established information; whereas, the word but is contrasting with something that has already been mentioned.
Another important element to coordinating conjunctions is how to punctuate them. When a coordinating conjunction joins two independent clauses, a comma is used. For example:
- I have not been paid this month, but I may have to visit the dentist because my toothache is becoming worse.
In the above example, each clause on either side of the “but” is independent – they make sense by themselves. I am connecting my lack of money with the fact that I need to spend money on a trip to the dentist with the coordinating conjunction “but,” highlighting the connection between these two pieces of information.
This punctuation does not work if the coordinating conjunction is not connecting two independent clauses. For example:
- My dentist has a hairy nose and bad breath.
“My dentist has a hairy nose” is an independent clause but “bad breath” is not. So, the comma rule does not apply here and the sentence is grammatically correct without one.
Choosing the appropriate coordinating conjunction for your sentence can greatly impact the overall meaning, so while these monosyllabic words can seem negligible they have a lot of influence over meaning.
Information for this blog taken from: