Coordinating and Correlative Conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect two words, phrases, or clauses that have equal importance together. There are 7 coordinating conjunctions in English and they are easy to identify with the simple mnemonic: FANBOYS. The first letter of each coordinating conjunction starts with a letter from “FANBOYS”:
Hopefully remembering “FANBOYS” can make these conjunctions easier to remember. Let’s look at a few examples.
Liz and Mariah played videos games until the sun came up.
Here, we see the coordinating conjunction is and. It links the two words Liz and Mariah together, because they both stayed up playing games and are both important subjects in this sentence. Let’s try another sentence:
Liz was exhausted, yet she still managed to go to work this morning.
Here, we see the conjunction yet connects two independent clauses “Liz was exhausted” and ‘she still managed to go to work this morning.”
Let’s try another one.
She was still tired, so she hit the snooze button.
Here, we have the coordinating conjunction so, which is connecting “she was tired” and “she hit the snooze button.”
Now, let’s look at correlative conjunctions. Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that come in pairs. When writing a sentence, they connect two things of similar importance like coordinating conjunctions do, but they add a layer of complexity to the sentence by making it more “wordy.” A few examples of correlative conjunctions include:
Not only/but also
Let’s try a few examples to get the gist of it.
Not only was Liz late for work but she also left with mismatching shoes.
Not only and but also are the coordinating conjunctions that connect two ideas together. In this example, we are describing two events that happened to Liz that are of equal importance, which were being “late for work” and “left with mismatching shoes.”
Here’s another example:
Mariah wasn’t sure whether to go to work or stay home and sleep in.
In this example, the correlative conjunctions are whether/or. They connect two separate ideas, which in this example are the two decisions Mariah had to make: “to go to work” or to “stay home and sleep in.”
Let’s look at one more example:
There are as many pictures as there are videos.
Correlative conjunctions can use language that is a bit more obscure than the conjunctions we named earlier. That’s why it is important to ask “what two things are being related?” In this example, we see the correlative conjunctions are as/as, because they connect two things: “pictures” and “videos.”
Before we go, let’s test what we’ve learned.
Which of the following is NOT a coordinating conjunction?
Which of the following is NOT a correlative conjunction?
Thanks for watching, and happy studying!