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Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions

What is a coordinating conjunction?

A co-ordinating conjunction is a word or phrase that connects two or more equal grammatical elements.

For example:

It could connect two verbs in a sentence: The audience cheered and clapped at the end of the performance.

It could connect two nouns in a sentence: Would you like cake or ice cream for dessert?

It could connect two adjectives in a sentence: The holiday cottage was small yet welcoming.

It could connect two adverbs in a sentence: Slowly but surely, I made it to the top of the hill.


Coordinating conjunctions are also used to connect independent clauses together:

James wanted a piece of cake. He was on a diet.      =    James wanted a piece of cake, but he was on a diet.

It was a long journey. I am feeling very tired now.     =      It was a long journey, so I am feeling very tired now.

When two independent clauses are joined with a coordinating conjunction, a comma needs to be placed before the conjunction.


When a conjunction connects two independent clauses together, a compound sentence is created.

Coordinating conjunction examples:

There are seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet

FANBOYS conjunctions

The seven coordinating conjunctions can be remembered using the mnemonic FANBOYS:








What is a subordinating conjunction?

A subordinating conjunction is used to connect an independent clause to a subordinate clause (also known as a dependent clause).


Some subordinating conjunctions are used to show cause and effect between the clauses within a sentence:

I took the week off work because of my illness.

Tom will be late for school unless he catches the bus.

Jared booked a train ticket so that he could travel to London on Tuesday.

Janey was upset that she didn't pass the test since she had studied hard.


Some subordinating conjunctions are used to signaling relationships of time or place:

The twins were allowed to watch TV after they completed their homework.

I can start making dinner once I know what time they are arriving.

Rhea feels scared whenever she sees a spider.

Nadia forgot to add the blueberries before she put the muffins in the oven.


As in the above examples, subordinating conjunctions can be placed in the middle of the two clauses: We can go for a walk this afternoon unless it starts to rain.

However, they can also be placed at the beginning of the sentence in front of the subordinate clause: Unless it starts to rain, we can go for a walk this afternoon.

When a subordinate conjunction is at the beginning of the sentence, a comma must be placed after the subordinate clause that follows it.


When a conjunction connects a subordinate clause to an independent clause, a complex sentence is created.

Subordinating conjunction examples:

Here are some common subordinating conjunctions:

as, after, although, before, because, even if, even though, how, however, if, so that, since,

than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, wherever, while

A WHITE BUS conjunctions

These subordinating conjunctions can be remembered using the mnemonic A WHITE BUS:

A - as, after, although

W - when, whenever, where, wherever, while

H - how, however

 I - if

T - than, though

E - even if, even though

B - before, because

U - unless, until

S - so that, since

FREE Fanboys Coordinating Conjunctions Cards

FREE A White Bus Subordinating Conjunctions Cards

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