Conjunctions for Kids

by Craig Shrives

What Are Conjunctions? (for Kids)

Conjunctions are joiners. The most common conjunction is the word "and." For example:
• The King and the Queen visited the village.
• (In this example, the conjunction "and" joins "The King" and "the Queen.")
Here are the first three conjunctions we will cover in this lesson:
• and
• or
• but

Examples with "And"

• I like fish and chips.
• (The conjunction "and" joins "fish" and "chips.")
• Jack likes to draw and paint.
• (The conjunction "and" joins "draw" and "paint.")

Examples with "Or"

• You can have lemon or orange.
• (The conjunction "or" joins "lemon" and "orange.")
• A pheasant will run away or fly away if you approach it.
• (The conjunction "or" joins "run away" and "fly away.")

Examples with "But"

• Alan is a clever but clumsy boy.
• (The conjunction "but" joins "clever" and "clumsy.")
• I will pay today, but you must pay tomorrow.
• (The conjunction "but" joins "I will pay today" and "you must pay tomorrow." Notice that conjunctions do not always join single words. They join phrases and clauses too.)

A Quick Test

Select the best conjunction to fill the gap.

More about "And," "Or," and "But"

The conjunctions "and," "or," and "but" belong to a group of conjunctions called "co-ordinating conjunctions."

"And," "or," and "but" are by far the most common co-ordinating conjunctions, but there are seven co-ordinating conjunctions in total:
• for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
• (You can remember these with the mnemonic F.A.N.B.O.Y.S.)

The word "co-ordinating" means equal. If you look closely at the examples we've seen so far with co-ordinating conjunctions, you will notice that they join two "equals" together. For example:
• I like fish and chips.
• (In this example, the co-ordinating conjunction "and" joins two nouns: "fish" and "chips." The words "fish" and "chips" are equals because they are both nouns.)
We say that co-ordinating conjunctions join "like with like."

A Different Type of Conjunction

Not all conjunctions are co-ordinating conjunctions. Here are three different, but also common, conjunctions:
• because
• if
• when
These conjunctions are still joiners, but they do not join equals. They join a subordinate clause to a main clause. Let's look at some examples. (In all of these examples, the main clause is in bold.)

Examples with "Because"

• I left the party early because I was tired.
• (The conjunction "because" joins the subordinate clause ("because I was tired") to the main clause.)
• The concert is cancelled because Kylie has a sore throat.
• (The conjunction "because" joins the subordinate clause ("because Kylie has a sore throat") to the main clause.)

Examples with "If"

• Anna said she will paint the fence if you buy her a pony.
• (The conjunction "if" joins the subordinate clause ("if you buy her a pony") to the main clause.)
• If the rain stops, the game will start at 5 o'clock.
• (The conjunction "if" joins the subordinate clause ("if the rain stops") to the main clause. Notice that a conjunction can start the sentence. Also, notice that there is a comma after the subordinate clause.)

Examples with "When"

• Take the cake out of the oven when you hear the buzzer.
• (The conjunction "when" joins the subordinate clause ("when you hear the buzzer") to the main clause.)
• When you hear the buzzer, take the cake out of the oven.
• (Notice that the conjunction "when" starts the sentence, and notice that this example has a comma to show where the main clause starts.)

More about "Because," "If," and "When"

The conjunctions "because," "if," and "when" belong to a group of conjunctions called "subordinating conjunctions." There are lots of other subordinating conjunctions. Here are 10 more:
• although, before, even if, only if, in the event that, since, until, where, while, why
• (Notice that subordinating conjunctions can be more than one word.)
In each example above, the bold text shows the main clause of the sentence. (This is also called an independent clause because it could be a sentence by itself.)

The non-bold text in each example shows a subordinate clause. (This is also called an dependent clause because it could not be a sentence by itself.)

Remember that a subordinating conjunction joins a subordinating clause (or dependent clause) to a main clause (or independent clause). Read more about subordinating conjunctions.

A Quick Test

Select the best conjunction to fill the gap.

Click on the Two Conjunctions(Interactive Game)

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