Definition of Conjunction (with Examples)

Definition of Conjunction (with Examples)

A conjunction is a word used to connect words, phrases or clauses.

The words and, but, and or are the conjunctions which spring to mind when people think about conjunctions. However, these are just three very common conjunctions from one of the types of conjunction.

The Types of Conjunction

There are three types of conjunction:

Coordinate Conjunctions

Coordinate conjunctions are normally used to join like with like. (In other words they join a noun with another noun, an adjective with another adjective, and an adverb with another adverb, etc.)

The most common ones are and, but and or.

Examples of Coordinate Conjunctions

Here are some examples of coordinate conjunctions (shaded):
  • The comment was blunt but effective.
  • (Here the conjunction joins two adjectives.)
  • Familiarity breeds contempt...and children.
  • (Here the conjunction joins two nouns.)
  • If a man should challenge me to a duel, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place to kill him.
  • (Here the first conjunction joins two adverbs (kindly and forgivingly). The second joins two verbs (take and lead).)
Read more about coordinate conjunctions.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs to join alternatives or equal elements. The most common pairs are either/or, neither/nor, and not only/but also.

Examples of Correlative Conjunctions

Here are some examples of correlative conjunctions (shaded):
  • I could neither laugh nor cry.
  • She was not only smart but also beautiful.
Read more about correlative conjunctions.

Subordinate Conjunctions

Subordinate conjunctions are used to join subordinate clauses to main clauses. Common examples are although, because, since, unless, until, and while.

Examples of Subordinate Conjunctions

Here are some examples of subordinate conjunctions (shaded):
  • We'll stay here while the weather is fine.
  • I am not attending the meeting until the game has finished.
Read more about subordinate conjunctions.
Quick Test

See Also

Can you start a sentence with a conjunction (e.g., and, but)? What are coordinate conjunctions? What are correlative conjunctions? What are subordinate conjunctions? What are phrases? What are clauses? What is an independent clause? Commas before conjunctions What is the Oxford Comma convention? More on conjunctions Test on conjunctions Glossary of grammatical terms