English Language Guide: Conjunction

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Conjunctions express a variety of logical relations between phrases, clauses and sentences." There are two kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.
Coordinating conjunctions link "elements of equal grammatical status." The elements in questions may vary from a prefix to an entire sentence.
  • (prefixes): "The doctor must provide facilities for pre- and post test counselling and have his own strict procedures for the storing of that confidential information."
  • (words): "'No, I'll never love anybody but you, Tom, and I'll never marry anybody but you--and you ain't to ever marry anybody but me, either."
  • (phrases): "Can storied urn or animated bust back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?"
  • (subordinate clauses): "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
  • (independent clauses): "Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I think you're a tangle-headed old fool, Jim."
  • (sentences): "He said we were neither of us much to look at and we were as sour as we looked. But I don't feel as sour as I used to before I knew robin and Dickon."
A correlative conjunction is a pair of constituent elements, each of which is associated with the grammatical unit to be coordinated. The common correlatives in English are:
  • "either ... or":
    • "The clergyman stayed to exchange a few sentences, either of admonition or reproof, with his haughty parishioner ...."
    • "...; for I could not divest myself of a misgiving that something might happen to London in the meanwhile, and that, when I got there, it would be either greatly deteriorated or clean gone."
  • "neither ... nor":
    • "Buck made no effort. He lay quietly where he had fallen. The lash bit into him again and again, but he neither whined nor struggled."
    • "For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, to stir men's blood: I only speak right on; ..."
  • "both ... and"
    • "There was no mistaking her sincerity—it breathed in every tone of her voice. Both Marilla and Mrs. Lynde recognized its unmistakable ring."
    • "There messages have both ethical and pragmatic overtones, urging women to recognize that even if they do suffer from physical and social disadvantages, their lives are far from being determined by their biology."
  • "Not only ... but also"
    • "The director of A Doll's House, the brilliant Zhang Min, ..., was impressed with Lin not only professionally but also personally."
    • "... she attempted to persuade her husband to give up his affair. Not only did he refuse, but also told her he loved them both ...."
Subordinating conjunctions
Subordinating conjunction relate only clauses to one another. They make the clause associated with them into a subordinate clause. Some common subordinating conjunctions in English are: (of time) after, before, since, until, when, while; (cause and effect): because, since, now that, as, in order that, so; (opposition): although, though, even though, whereas, while; (condition): if, unless, only if, whether or not, whether or no, even if, in case (that), and so forth.
  • (time: "before"): "Perhaps Homo erectus had already died out before Homo sapiens arrived.
  • (cause and effect: "in order that"): "In order that feelings, representations, ideas and the like should attain a certain degree of memorability, it is important that they should not remain isolated ..."
  • (opposition: "although"): "Ultimately there were seven more sessions, in which, although she remained talkative, she increasingly clearly conveyed a sense that she did not wish to come any more."
  • (condition: "even if"): "Even if Sethe could deal with the return of the spirit, Stamp didn't believe her daughter could."