Parts of Speech: CONJUNCTIONS

Symphony (photo by WT instructor JLN)

Symphony (photo by WT instructor JLN)

 

Read these 3 sentences. Which is good?

I like the symphony but I don’t go.

I like the symphony and I go.

I like the symphony or I go.

 

Coffee (photo by WT instructor JLN)

Coffee (photo by WT instructor JLN)

 

1. I like coffee but I don’t drink it.

2. I like coffee and I drink it.

3. I like coffee or I drink it.

 

Each sentence is a little different. It depends on the conjunction between the two ideas.

“I like coffee BUT I don’t drink it” = I have a reason that I don’t drink it. Maybe my doctor said, “No coffee!” Maybe the caffeine is bad for me. I like it, BUT, I don’t drink it.

“I like coffee AND I drink it” makes sense. “And” connects two positive ideas.

“I like coffee OR I drink it” doesn’t make sense. “Or” connects two different ideas, two options.

AND, BUT, and OR are the three most common conjunctions. They connect ideas or sentences. In the 1970s, there was a popular educational children’s TV show called “School House Rock.” Here is their conjunction video. (Don’t worry if you don’t understand it . . . just get an idea!)

There are more conjunctions than and, but, and or, though. Here is a list of some of them.

You don’t need to know all of them right now. But, you should study some of them. Let’s look at 6 conjunctions today:

1) AND

“And” connects sentences or lists. You don’t use a comma with two things. You DO use a comma with 3 or more (more on punctuation rules later).

I like chocolate and strawberries. I like chocolate, strawberries, and milk.

We are going to go to school and learn English.

Sam and Patty are going to Toronto and Mike and Darlene are going to New York.

2) BUT

“But” connects a different idea. You use a comma with two sentences.

I like that shirt, but it’s too expensive.

Mary can’t go, but John can.

3) OR

“Or” connects opposing ideas. You don’t use a comma with two things. You DO use a comma with 3 or more.

Do you want to go to Paris or Rome?

My brother can’t eat fish, wheat, soy, or nuts.

4) SO

“So” usually connects a sentence after a reason.

We are hungry, so we eat. (We eat because we are hungry.)

Sherika studied a lot for the test, so she made 100. (She made 100 because she studied.)

Jason didn’t want to go to the park, so he stayed home.

5) EITHER . . . OR

Similar to “or.” This structure gives you two options.

We can either eat at home or go to a restaurant.

You can call either your brother or your sister, but not both.

You can either go to Level 6 or to ERV.

6) ALTHOUGH / EVEN THOUGH  

Similar to “in spite of” or “but.” Use a comma¬†between the clauses.

Even though I’m not hungry, I want to eat!

Although we usually start class at 9:00, today we’re going to start at 9:30.

Kyle is sleepy today, even though he slept for 8 hours last night.

I tried to make a banana cake, although I didn’t have a lot of sugar.

 

PRACTICE.

You can practice more conjunctions here and here.

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