Conjunctions

A conjunction is a linking word such as and, or, but. Conjunctions are used to connect words, phrases or clauses.

and, but, or

and

Use and to link words that are similar.

  • We buy fruit and vegetables at the grocery store.
  • The president visited towns and cities across the country.
  • The house is warm and comfortable.
  • The weather was cold and windy.
  • There were several cars and trucks in the street.

but

Use but to link words that are different and do not normally go together.

  • He works quickly but neatly.
  • The teacher is firm but fair with the children.
  • The musicians are young but very talented.
  • The weather was sunny but cold.
  • Karate is tiring but fun.
  • We want a vacation that's interesting but relaxing.
  • Some animals are big but gentle.

or

  • Use or to talk about choices.
  • You can have a soda or lemonade.
  • Would you like pasta or rice?
  • Who is cooking the dinner, Mom or Dad?
  • Does the sauce taste sweet or sour?
  • Do we turn right or left?
  • Is your sister older or younger than you?
  • Should the children bring bikes or skateboards?

The word or is often used with not and other negative words.

  • She does not like apple juice or orange juice.
  • I didn’t see or hear anything strange.
  • He can’t sing or dance.
  • They’ve never been to Europe or Asia.

Conjunctions Linking Phrases

Use the conjunctions and, but and or to link phrases. 

  • We like going shopping and visiting museums.
  • I tell my parents and my best friend all my secrets.
  • Some of my toys are dirty and a bit broken.
  • The car is very old but still very reliable.
  • The weather was very sunny but rather cold.
  • I’m older than Anna but younger than Jack.
  • Is it quicker to go by train or by car?
  • You could call it a thin book or a thick magazine.
  • She couldn’t decide whether to stay in bed or get up and take a shower.

Conjunctions with Lists

Use the conjunctions and and or with lists of words. Remember to put a comma between the words. Then use and or or between the last two words.

  • We bought milk, eggs, cheese and butter.
  • My favorite teachers are Mr. Lee, Mrs. Carter and Mr. Park.
  • In the morning I get up, take a shower, eat breakfast and brush my teeth.
  • Kathleen didn’t have any paper, pens or pencils.
  • People travel to work by car, bus or train.
  • I haven’t eaten breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Conjunctions of Time

The words before, after, as, when, while, until, since, are also conjunctions. They tell when something happens, so they are called conjunctions of time.

  • Maggie could play the piano before she was five.
  • I always brush my teeth after I've had my breakfast.
  • After he began exercising regularly, Jerry became healthier.
  • You have grown taller since I saw you last.
  • Look both ways before you cross the street.
  • Joe listened to music while he was doing his homework.
  • Miss Lee was smiling as she walked into the class.
  • Wait here until I come back.
  • Don’t leave until you’ve finished your work.
  • Tran saw an accident while he was walking home.
  • Take all your belongings with you when you leave the plane.
  • Joe first met his wife when he was studying in London.
  • Tom and Joe have been friends since childhood.

Conjunctions of Place

The conjunctions where and wherever are used to talk about places.

  • They are called conjunctions of place.
  • Does anybody know where Mr. Carter lives?
  • Where the road is narrow, big trucks can’t get through.
  • The dog follows Andrew wherever he goes.
  • Wherever there are mountains, you will also find streams.

Conjunctions of Reason

The conjunctions because, since, as and in case tell why someone does something. They are called conjunctions of reason.

  • I sat down because I was feeling tired.
  • Because we arrived late, we missed the beginning of the play.
  • I took an apple since it was the only fruit in the bowl.
  • Since you have finished your homework, you can help me make dinner.
  • Mom switched off the TV as it was past my bedtime.
  • As you’re my best friend, I’ll lend you my new bike.
  • Take an umbrella in case it rains.
  • In case you forget the number, I’ve written it on this piece of paper.

Conjunctions of Purpose

The conjunctions so, so that and in order to tell what the purpose of something is. They are called conjunctions of purpose.

  • The children are wearing hats so they won’t get sunburned.
  • John finished his homework before dinner so he could watch his favorite TV program.
  • Let’s write down the address so we don’t forget it.
  • We left early so that we wouldn’t be late.
  • John took a map so that he wouldn’t get lost.
  • I hid the comics under the bed so that nobody could find them.
  • She goes jogging every morning in order to keep fit.
  • In order to get to sleep, he reads a really boring book at bedtime.
  • Dad painted the walls white in order to make the room look brighter.