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Conjunctions, also known as joiners, are the words used to combine any two sentences.

Conjunctions | English Medium

Types of Conjunctions

The following are the different types of conjunctions:


These conjunctions are used in pairs.

For example: 

  • Neither a borrower, nor a money lender.
  • She is either from my school or from my tuition.


A subordinating conjunction joins a subordinating clause to a main clause. These talk of an action which is being done because of some other action.

For example: 

  • Jaya read the book because the teacher asked her to do so.
  • I could not see her as she left before I came.


Coordinating conjunctions join the clauses of equal rank. These are the only coordinating conjunctions-for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

For example:

  • Most children like cookies and milk.
  • I like sugar in my tea but I don’t like milk in it.

Among the coordinating conjunctions, the most common are- andbut, and or. It might be helpful to explore the uses of these three most common types of conjunctions used in the English language- 


Let’s understand the usage of AND-

  • To suggest that one idea is chronologically sequential to another.

For example-

Tanisha sent her applications and waited by the phone for a response.

  • To suggest that one idea is the result of another.

For example-

Willie heard the weather report and promptly boarded up his house.

  • To suggest that one idea is in contrast to another (frequently replaced by but in this usage).

For example-

Juanita is brilliant but (‘and’ is replaced by ‘but’) Shalimar has a pleasant personality.

Note that in the above example, since both the statements that have been combined together are in contrast to each other, ‘and’ is replaced by ‘but’.

  • To suggest an element of surprise (sometimes replaced by yet in this usage).

For example-

Hartford is a rich city yet (‘and’ is replaced by ‘yet’) suffers from many symptoms of urban blight.

Note that in the above example, since both the statements that have been combined together are contradictory in nature, but bring an element of surprise in them, ‘and’ is replaced by ‘yet’.

  • To suggest that one clause is dependent upon another, conditionally (usually the first clause is an imperative).

For example-

Use your credit cards frequently and you’ll soon find yourself deep in debt.


Let’s understand the usage of BUT-

  • To suggest a contrast that is unexpected in light of the first clause.

For example-

Joey lost a fortune in the stock market, but he still seems to live quite comfortably.

  • To suggest in an affirmative sense what the first part of the sentence implied in a negative way (sometimes replaced by on the contrary).

For example- 

The club never invested foolishly, but used the services of a sage investment counselor.

  • To connect two ideas with the meaning of ‘with the exception of’(In such cases, the next word after the conjunction takes over as the subject in the sentence).

For example- 

Everybody but Mohit  is trying out for the team.    


Let’s understand the usage of OR-

  1. To suggest that only one possibility can be realized, excluding the other(s).

For example- 

You can study hard for this exam or you will fail.

  1. To suggest the inclusive combination of alternatives.

For example-

We can boil chicken on the grill tonight, or we can just eat yesterday’s leftovers.

  1. To suggest a refinement of the first clause.

For example- 

Smith College is the premier all-women’s college in the country, or so it seems to most of the Smith College alumni.

  1. To suggest a restatement or ‘correction’ of the first part of the sentence.

For example- 

There are no rattlesnakes in this canyon, or so our guide tells us.

Refer to Basics of English Grammar for more information!

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