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Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Conjunctions hook words or word groups together. Coordinating conjunctions hook equal things together while correlative conjunctions are two part conjunctions that hook equal things together. Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent clauses and hook them to independent clauses.

Alright some of you guys may remember back to the classic school house rock video conjunction junction where you saw a lot of train cars going by and that's what we're going to talk about today. We're going to talk about conjunctions and they really are the work horses of the parts of speech and what they do like those train cars they hook up words or word groups.
There's three different types of conjunctions that you're going to need to know, the first is the coordinating conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions hook up two equal items so it could be two sentences, two items in a list, two adjectives describing the same noun whatever it is when you look on either side of a coordinating conjunction the side should be equal. The nice thing about coordinating conjunctions as well, there is a limited amount so they're pretty easy to remember it's for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.
The next type we're going to talk about are the correlative conjunctions and they actually function much like coordinating conjunctions however they come in pairs, so they're the word groups that you use together, they're still going to hook up to equal items but they're going to do it using two words, things like either/or, not only/but also, both/and. So you're going to use it, you could say either this or that, not only this but also that, so you'll use them together to hook up two equal items.
And then the final type, probably the most difficult type to understand is the subordinating conjunction and what those do are introduce dependent clauses, those are those groups of words that can't stand on their own and what they do is then hook them up to independent clauses so that they can stand together. Some of those popular subordinating conjunctions are although, since, because, when, while, until. I really suggest taking a look at the big list of them because some of knowing subordinating conjunctions is just being aware of what they are.
Let's talk about some tips before we take a look at how they actually work in writing. So the first trick I want to tell you about is Fanboys, you may have heard this before but it's the super simple way to remember those coordinating conjunctions we just talked about, for and nor, but or yet and so. So I guarantee if you remember that acronym it's going to be really difficult to forget those coordinating conjunctions.
And then the other trick that I want you to remember is that a subordinating conjunction will always no exception will always be the first word of a dependent clause, so when you are starting to identify different clauses if you've identified something that's dependent take a look at that first word because that's your subordinating conjunction.
Alright let's take a look at some writing and see if we can actually look at some conjunctions and identify them in action. So we've got this short paragraph. "In this Summer I love to go to the beach and relax since I stay a while, I usually bring a book some sunscreen and a hat, the beach is ideal because I can either go in the water or lay in the sand."
So let's start identifying some of those words those conjunctions that hook things up. We've got in the summer I love to go to the beach and relax, so I've got two things that I'm doing there 'and' is a conjunction and the easy way to identify what kind of conjunction it is, is it because we know it's a fanboy, if it's a fanboy it's nothing else. So we've got a coordinating conjunction there it's hooking up going to the beach and relaxing two equal verbs, alright.
We've got "since I stay a while I usually bring a book some sunscreen and a hat." Now the first one that probably pops out to you is this 'and' again, we know it's a fanboy so we know it's a coordinating conjunction it's hooking up a book, some sunscreen and a hat so that's my list of items. But hopefully you looked earlier in this sentence and you saw the sentence has two parts one half that can't stand on it's own and the other half that can.
So if we look at "since I stayed a while" we know it's got a subject 'I' and it's got a verb 'stay' but it can't stand alone 'cause there's not a complete thought there, remember if we've got a dependent clause the first word of it is a subordinating conjunction. So since is one of those subordinating conjunctions there and it's acting to hook together this dependent clause to "I usually bring a book, some sun screen and a hat" which makes it a complex sentence and we'll talk about those later.
Finally we have got "the beach is ideal because I can either go in the water or lay in the sand." So we already have these two things that we know are being hooked up laying in the sand -- I guess you could lay in the water -- and going in the water so those two things are hooked up and they're hooked up by 'or' but we know 'or' most of the time has a partner in crime and it's usually 'either' when you're given two choices. So 'either' and 'or' are working together here to be a correlative conjunction. So here you can see how conjunctions work together and really how they work to hook things up and make your sentence make sense.