[Conjunctions] – Lesson 3: Coordinating conjunctions

The seven coordinating conjunctions are soandbutoryetfornor.

A coordinating conjunction joins words, groups of words, or clauses, and gives them equal importance:

  • I like summer, but I don’t like winter.
  • Do you prefer summer or winter?
  • He’s been working all day, so he’s very tired.

Conjunctions are words which connect sentences or groups of words. Some learners know them asconnectors or joining words.

One type of conjunction is the coordinating conjunction, which gives equal importance to the words or sentences that it connects.

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

  • I like coffee, but my wife prefers tea.
  • Would you prefer coffee or tea?
  • I’ve drunk six cups of coffee today, so I’ve got a headache.
  • I take milk and sugar in my tea.
  • He’s seventy-two, yet he still swims, runs and plays football regularly.
  • She must have been very hungry, for she ate everything immediately.
  • Switzerland is not in the European Union, nor is it a member of NATO.

Functions of coordinating conjunctions

  • so – for showing the consequence of something
    He was very hungry, so he ate all the cake.
  • but – for contrast
    I eat cake, but I never eat biscuits; I don’t like them.
  • for – for explaining why [more formal and less common than because]
    He’s overweight, for he eats too many cakes and biscuits.
  • and – the same, similar or equal; without contrast
    His favourite snacks are cakes and biscuits.
  • nor – for two non-contrasting grammatically negative items (not + not)
    He doesn’t eat cake, nor does he eat biscuits.
    [= He doesn’t eat cake and he doesn’t eat biscuits.]
  • or – before an alternative
    Would you like cake or biscuits with your coffee? 
  • yet – contrast, despite something [synonyms = nevertheless, but still]
    He’s overweight and feels terrible, yet he continues to eat lots of cakes and biscuits.
    [He’s overweight, but still he continues to eat lots of cakes and biscuits.]
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