Coordinate conjunctions

What is a coordinate conjunction?

Coordinating conjunctions connect grammatically equal elements. There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, so, and yet. Coordinate conjunctions connect two word, phrases, or sentences. If you want to connect two words or phrases, no comma is needed. But if you want to connect two complete sentences, you need a comma before these coordinate conjunctions. 


For is used for connecting a reason to a result.

Some examples:

I’m a little hungry, for I didn’t eat breakfast this morning.

She was a bit upset, for she didn’t pass her exam.

I take care of my granny, for she has poor eyesight. 


‘And’ connect similar ideas, word, phrases, or sentences. 

Some examples:

She is cute and generous.

She loves singing songs and watching movies.

She hates cooking, backbiting, and dancing.

He likes to fish, and he often goes fishing.


‘Nor’ connects two negative sentences. 

Some examples:

She doesn’t eat fish, nor does she drink soda.

John doesn’t like salad, nor does he like meat.



‘But’ connects equal different ideas.

Some examples:

I like to eat fish but not to catch them. 

I love listening to music, but my dad hates it. 

She enjoys playing the guitar, but the neighbors are bothered. 


‘Or’ connects two equal choices.

Some examples:

Do you prefer tea or coffee?

Do you like listening to music or watching movies?

You are going to have a little brother or sister.

We can eat ice cream, or we can go get pizza.


‘Yet’ connects equal contrasting ideas.

Some examples:

The weather is sunny yet cold.

The weather was cold, yet we enjoyed the picnic.

She says nice words, yet I can’t trust her. 


‘So’ connects a result to a reason. 

Some examples:

I didn’t eat lunch, so I am starving.

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I am exhausted.

She has lots of money, so she can travel wherever she wants.

He is too negative, so he doesn’t have many friends.

Correlative(paired) conjunctions

What is a correlative conjunction?

Correlative conjunctions are always in pairs. Like coordinate conjunctions, they connect grammatically equal elements. They can connect two words, phrases, or complete sentences. 


  • Both my mom and my dad love watching Indian movies.
  • Both San Francisco and Sydney have beautiful harbors.
  • Both my friend and my sister like collecting stamps.

Not only....but also

  • Not only my mom but also my brother are messy.
  • Chinese food is not only delicious but also beautiful to look at.
  • He is not only handsome but also intelligent.
  • I love not only chocolate but also chocolate cake.



  • Bring either a coat or an umbrella when you visit Canada.
  • Either he or his brother cooks dinner.
  • Either you control the situation or let the situation control your life.
  • You can either come with me or stay home and study.



  • He can neither read nor write.
  • Neither John nor his wife is optimistic.
  • My friend neither drinks nor smokes.
  • Neither the employee nor the employer was at the office.


  • They can’t decide whether to live with their parents or to rent an apartment.
  • I asked him whether he was happy or not.
  • He must do it; whether he likes it or not.
  • Do you care whether we have pizza or rice for lunch?


What is a subordinator?

A subordinator is the first word in a dependent clause. There are different different subordinators: subordinators for adverb clauses, subordinators for adjective clauses, subordinators for noun clause.

Subordinators for adverb clauses

  •  After
  • As, just as
  • As long as
  • As soon as
  • Before
  • Since
  • Until
  • When
  • Whenever
  • While
  • Where
  • Wherever
  • Anywhere
  • Everywhere
  • As if
  • As though
  • As ….. as
  • As often as
  • As
  • Because
  • Since
  • So that
  • In order that
  • So (adjective) that
  • So (adverb) that
  • Such a(n)+ adjective+ noun+ that
  • So much/many/ little/ few +noun + that
  • If
  • Unless
  • Although
  • Even though
  • Though
  • While
  • Whereas

Subordinators for adjective clauses

  • Who, whom
  • Whose
  • That 
  • Which
  • When
  • Where

Subordinators for noun clauses

  • That
  • Whether
  • Whether or not
  • Whether …..or not
  • If
  • If ….. or not
  • Who, whoever, whom
  • Which, what
  • Where, when, why, how
  • How much, how many
  • How long, how often, etc

Subordinators for adverb clauses

Time (When?)

  • After

After we ate dinner, we decided to go for a walk.

After I said that, I felt really bad.

After my mom went out, we started a party.

  • As, just as

Just as we left the house, it started to rain.

As we started to talk, she burst into tears.

Just as I thought, the door in unlocked.

  • As long as

We waited as long as we could.

As long as she doesn’t confess, she stays in prison.

As long as you promise to be careful, you can drive my new car.

  • As soon as

As soon as the door closed, I looked for my keys.

As soon as she got there, she started to doubt it.

As soon as he finished his work, he went out with his friends.

  • Before

I put it in my bag before we left.

Before going out, you should do your homework.

Let’s do the chores before we leave.

  • Since

I haven’t read a novel since I was a teenager.

I have known her since 2008.

He has had two jobs since he graduated.

  • Until

Until I was 9, my parents let me play in the street.

Let’s stand here until the rain stops.

He was the principal until he retired in 2019.

  • When

When I turned 12, my mother let me go out with my friends.

When I was a kid, I was so stubborn.

I came right home when I heard the news.

  • Whenever

I usually put the key in the same place whenever I come home. 

Whenever she comes over, the dog goes crazy.

You look really different whenever you take your glasses off.

  • While

While I searched for the key, it rained harder and harder.

While I was talking on the phone, the doorbell rang.

I don’t let you drive while you are so tired.

Place (where?)

  • Where

I like to shop where prices are low.

I love to play where she is present.

I hate to confess where I have been this evening.

  • Wherever

I try to shop wherever there is sale.

She tries to go wherever she feels comfortable.

I’ll go wherever you go.

  • Anywhere

You can find bargains anywhere there is a sale.

She won’t go anywhere without her husband.

Please sit anywhere you want.

  • Everywhere

I use my credit card everywhere I shop.

I take her with me everywhere I go.

Everywhere I go, they follow me.

Manner (how?)

As, just as

I like to buy flowers, as many people do. 

I love watching movies just as everyone else does.

They love to shop, as all women do.

As if

You look as if you didn’t sleep at all last night.

They stared at her as if she was crazy.

It seems as if the principal doesn’t know what to do.

As though

She acts as though she doesn’t know us. 

She acts as though she were angry.

It looked as though it was going to rain.

Distance (how far, near, close?)

  • As+ adverb+ as

We will hike as far as we can before it gets dark.

She sat as close as she could to her dad.

He sat as far as he could to the weird lady.

Frequency (how often?)

  • As often as

I call my mom as often as I can.

She comes over as often as she can. 

They don’t visit their relatives as often as they’d like to. 

Reason (why?)


I can’t take morning classes, as I work in the morning.

I can’t go for a walk, as I have a bad cold.

As she was angry, she refused to talk to us.


I can’t take morning classes because I work in the morning.

She doesn’t like you because you make her feel bad.

Because you were disloyal, she left you for good.


I can’t take morning classes since I work in the morning.

Since she was busy, we went out without her.

I couldn’t concentrate since she was singing out loud.

Purpose (for what purpose?)

  • So that

Many people emigrate so that their children can have a better life.

We left a note so that she would know we have come.

I need to go to bed early so that I can get up on time.

  • In order that

Many people emigrate in order that their children can have a better life.

She opened the door in order that the wind could come in.

I will leave the party early in order that I can catch the bus.


Result (with what result?)

  • So+ adjective + that

I was so tired last night that I fell asleep at dinner. 

I was so angry that I preferred not to talk. 

I am so happy that I can’t stay here anymore.

  • So+ adverb + that

She talks so softly that the other students can not hear her.

She drives so slowly that no one can stand it.

She dresses so nicely that we can’t take our eyes off her.

  • Such a(n)+ adjective +noun + that

It was such an easy test that most of the students got A’s.

She was such a nice girl that everybody loved her.

They have such a great house that you want to spend the rest of your life there.

  • So much/many/ little/ few + noun + that

He is taking so many classes that he has no time to sleep. 

He spends so little time for himself that he is gonna get sick.

He knows so little that I prefer not to explain it to him.

Condition (under what condition?)

  • If

We won’t go hiking if it rains.

You can’t go out if you are not ready for your exam.

If she studies hard, she can pass the test.

  • Unless

We will not go hiking unless the weather is perfect.

You will be sick unless you stop eating junk food.

I won’t pay unless you provide the goods as soon as possible.

Partial contrast

  • Although

I love my dad although we disagree about almost everything.

I go out with him although he disrespects me sometimes.

We get along well although we have our differences.

  • Even though

I love my mom even though we disagree about trivial things.

Their whisper woke me up even though it wasn’t loud.

I didn’t block him even though he was a total jerk.

  • Though

I love my brother though he is so messy that he drives me crazy.

Though I don’t usually drink coffee, I have had two cups today.

We didn’t make any profit though we don’t know why!

Contrast (direct opposite)

  • While

My brother likes pop music, while I prefer classical music.

I like living in the city, while my parents prefer the countryside.

I love watching the same movie over and over again, while my brother finds it boring.

  • Whereas

He dresses conservatively, whereas I like to be a little shocking.

She is wealthy, whereas her husband is poor.

Whereas I did all the job, I enjoyed myself.

Subordinators for adjective clauses

Who, whom

  • Who

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Students who study hard during the term have no need to study on the night of the exam.

Teachers who are strict are unpopular.

  • Whom

My parents didn’t approve of the man whom my sister married.

He is the man whom I told you about.

The man whom I saw last night at the party proposed to me.



An orphan is a child whose parents are dead.

The girl whose bag is green was looking for you.

The child whose mom is wearing blue jeans is my cousin.

That (informal)

The man that is on the left in the photo is my dad.

The girl that is wearing a red dress is my sister.

The teacher that is smiling is our teacher.


Which refers to animals or things.

My new computer, which I bought last month, stopped working today. 

My phone, which is brand new, take great photos.

My house, which is in the middle of jungle, is wonderful.


That refers to animals or things.

Yesterday I received an email that I didn’t understand a word of it.

My phone that I bought last week is fantastic.

The dog that she got last year is too big now.


When refers to a time.

Thanksgiving is a time when families travel great distances to be together.

Norouz is a time when we visit our relatives.

Seven sharp was the time when we were supposed to meet each other.


Where refers to a place.

An orphanage is a place where orphans live.

I went back to the store where I bought my pants.

I went to the bank where I lost my wallet.


Subordinators for noun clauses


Do you believe that there is life in outer space?

I believe that he is innocent.

I feel that she is not telling the truth.


I can’t remember whether I locked the door. 

I wonder whether she will join us.

I don’t know whether she needs help.

Whether or not

I can’t remember whether or not I locked the door. 

I don’t know whether or not she likes me.

I wonder whether or not she will join us.

Whether ......or not

I can’t remember whether I locked the door or not.

I don’t know whether she likes me or not.

I wonder whether she will attend the party or not.


I can’t remember if I locked the door.

I don’t know if this train goes to my neighborhood.

I don’t know if she passed the exam.

If...... or not

I don’t remember if I locked the door or not.

I wonder if she likes me or not.

I don’t know if this train goes to my neighborhood or not.

Who, whoever, whom

Whoever arrives at the bust station first should buy the tickets.

Whoever wins this game will be awarded.

Whoever studies hard enough will pass her/his exams.

Please tell me who left his keys on the counter.

The boy with the red shirt is whom I want to marry. 

Which, what

Do you know which bus we need to take?

She was saddened by what she had seen.

You must choose which flavor you prefer.

Where, when, why, how

We should ask when the bus arrives.

Ask him where he wants to go.

I don’t know why she is so upset.

She doesn’t know how to overcome her fears.


How much, how many

I can’t remember how much milk we needed.

I can’t recall how many friends she had.

I don’t know how many jobs she need to change to understand that she has to change her own character.

Don’t worry about how much they cost.

How long, how often, etc

He didn’t care how long he had to wait.

I don’t know how often she visits her therapist.

I don’t remember how long we have been here.

I don’t care how often she travels.


Notice that some subordinators can introduce different kinds of dependent clauses. That can introduce either noun clauses or adjective clauses, and where can introduce a noun, an adjective, and an adverb clause. Take a look at the differences.

  • I can’t remember where I put the house keys. (noun clause; direct object of remember)
  • It’s not the place where I usually put it. (adjective clause; tells which place)
  • I always put it where I will see it when I go out the front door. (adverb clause; tells where I put it)

Another example is that. 

  • Do you believe that there is life in outer space? (noun clause; direct object of the verb believe)
  • This is the dog that I was talking about. (adjective clause; more information about the dog)

Another example is when.

  • We should ask when the bus arrives. (noun clause; direct object of the verb ask)
  • Thanksgiving is a time when families travel great distances to be together. (adjective clause; gives more information about the noun ‘time’)
  • When I turned 12, my mom let me go out with my friends. (adverb clause)

Conjunctive adverbs

What is a conjunctive adverb?

Conjunctive adverbs are used at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of one independent clause, but we often use them to connect two independent clauses.

Remember to put a semicolon before and a comma after the conjunctive adverb if an independent clause follows.

Also, besides, furthermore, in addition, moreover

They are all used to add a similar idea. 

Some examples:

community colleges offer preparation for many jobs; in addition, they prepare students for transfer to four-year- colleges.

community colleges offer preparation for many jobs; also, they prepare students for transfer to four-year- colleges.

I don’t like fishing; besides, I don’t even have a boat.

I really don’t want to go to the party; furthermore, I have no time to do so.

The car looked great; moreover, the price was reasonable.

However, nevertheless, nonetheless, still

They are used to add an unexpected or surprising continuation.

Some examples:

The cost of attending a community college is low; however, many students need financial aid.

He was exhausted; nevertheless, he went on walking.

She is not our best employee; nonetheless, she works very hard.

Conjunctive adverbs act like conjunctions; still, they are adverbs.

In contrast, on the other hand

They are used to add a complete contrast.

Some examples:

Most community colleges do not have dormitories; in contrast, most four-year colleges do.

I really like to go to the party; on the other hand, I should study for my exams.

As a result, consequently, therefore, thus

They are used to add a result.

Some examples:

He misbehaved with his boss; as a result, he lost his job.

She didn’t like the food; consequently, she threw it all away.

She worked the hardest; therefore, she got the promotion.

She got caught cheating on the exam; thus, she will be punished by the teacher.

Meanwhile, afterwards, then, subsequently

They are used to list ideas in chronological order.

Some examples:

Police kept people away from the scene of the accident; meanwhile, ambulance workers tried to pull victims out to the wreck.

The workers put five injured people into an ambulance; afterwards, they found another victim.

She followed him home; then, she killed him.


For example, for instance

Colors can have different meanings; for example, white is the color of weddings in some cultures and funerals in others.

There are a number of improvements; for instance, she has made great progress in math.

Similarly, likewise

They are used to show similarities.

John loves to repair cars; likewise, his brother Jack enjoys it. 

He was late; similarly, I was delayed.

Instead, on the contrary, rather

They are used to indicate an alternative.

Some examples:

The medicine did not make him feel better; instead, it made him feel worse.

It doesn’t seem ugly to me; on the contrary, I think it is pretty.

It is not a sign of weakness; rather, it shows how strong you are.


It shows a substitution.

When it indicates substitution, instead can go at the end of the sentence.

They had planned to go to Canada on their honeymoon; instead, they went to Mexico. 

We ordered hamburgers; instead, they brought us pizza.

On the other hand, alternatively

They are used to give another possibility.

Some examples: 

You can live in a dorm on campus; on the other hand, you can rent a room with a family off campus.

We can go to the Italian restaurant; alternatively, we can try that new Indian place.


It is used to give a result, often bad (meaning ‘if not’)

Students must take final exams; otherwise, they will receive a grade of incomplete.

In other words, that is

They are used to add an explanation.

Some cultures are matriarchal; in other words, the mothers are the head of the family.

Some cultures are matriarchal; that is, the mothers are the head of the family.

indeed, in fact

They are used to make a statement stronger.

Apples are a very common fruit; indeed, people eat more mangoes than any other fruit in the world.

Some people are intimidated by him; in fact, he is a really gentle guy.

Transition signals

To list ideas in order of time

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • First, …
  • First of all, …
  • Second, …
  • Third, …
  • Next, …
  • Then …
  • After that, …
  • Meanwhile, …
  • In the meantime, …
  • Finally, …
  • Last, …
  • Last of all, …
  • Subsequently, …


  • Before
  • After
  • Until
  • When
  • While
  • As soon as
  • Since

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • The first reason/cause/step, etc is …
  • The second…
  • The third …
  • Another …
  • The last …
  • The final …

To list ideas in order of importance

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • First, …
  • First of all, …
  • First and foremost, …
  • Second, …
  • More important, …
  • Most important, …
  • Most significant, …
  • More significant, …
  • Above all, …
  • Most of all, …

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • The first … (reason, cause, step, etc)
  • An additional …
  • The second …
  • Another …
  • A more important (cause, reason, step, etc.) 
  • The most important ….
  • The most significant …
  • The best …
  • The worst …

To add a similar or equal idea

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • Also, …
  • Besides, …
  • Furthermore, …
  • In addition, …
  • Moreover, …
  • Too
  • As well

Coordinators and paired conjunctions:

  • And
  • Both … and
  • Not only … but also

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • Another … (reason, cause, step, etc.)
  • A second …
  • An additional …
  • A final …
  • As well as

To add an opposite idea

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • However, …
  • On the other hand, …
  • Nevertheless, …
  • Nonetheless, …
  • Still, …

Coordinators and paired conjunctions:

  • Yet
  • But


  • Although
  • Even though
  • Though

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • Despite
  • In spite of 

To explain or restate an idea

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • In other words, …
  • In particular, …
  • (more)Specifically, …
  • That is, …

To make a statement stronger

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • Indeed, …
  • In fact, …

To give another possibility

Transition signal and conjunctive adverbs:

  • Alternatively, …
  • On the other hand, …
  • Otherwise, …

Coordinators and paired conjunctions:

  • Or
  • Either … or
  • Whether … or 

To give an example

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • For example, …
  • For instance, …

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • Such as
  • An example of
  • To exemplify
  • Include

To give a reason

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • For this reason, …

Coordinators and paired conjunctions:

  • For


  • Because

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • As a result of 
  • Because of
  • Due to

To give a result

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • Accordingly, …
  • As a consequence, …
  • As a result, …
  • Consequently, …
  • For these reasons, …
  • Hence, …
  • Therefore, …
  • Thus, …


  • So

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • The cause of
  • The reason for
  • To cause
  • To result (in)
  • To have an effect on 
  • To affect

To add a conclusion

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • All in all, …
  • In brief, …
  • In short, …
  • To conclude, …
  • To summarize, …
  • In conclusion, …
  • In summary, …
  • For these reasons, …

To show similarities

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • Likewise, …
  • Similarly, …
  • Also

Coordinators and paired conjunctions: 

  • And
  • Both … and
  • Not only … but also
  • Neither … nor

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • Alike
  • Like
  • Just like
  • As well
  • As well as
  • Compared with or to
  • In comparison with or to
  • To be similar (to)
  • Too

To show differences

Transition signals and conjunctive adverbs:

  • However, …
  • In contrast, …
  • Instead, …
  • On the contrary, …
  • On the other hand, …
  • Rather, …

Others: adjectives, prepositions, verbs

  • Instead of


Fill in the blank with the correct coordinate conjunction. (and, for, but, nor, so, yet, or)

1. John was cold, he put on a warm coat.
2. Sara tried to read a novel in Spanish, it was too difficult for her to understand.
3. To get from Canada to America, you can fly,  you can ride the ferry.
4. I bought a bottle of Juice, we can drink it together and enjoy.
5. The waiter was not very polite, the food was tasty.
6. I went to buy a DVD,  the shop didn’t have it.
7. Claire needed some money, she took a full-time job.
8. There’s so much rain lately! Maybe it’s because of El Nino,  maybe it’s just a coincidence.
9. Jill has a piano,  she plays it really well.
10. The concert was cancelled,  we went to a theatre instead.

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