A. Coordinating Conjunctions

Location of a coordinating conjunction

1. Don't use a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) at the beginning of a sentence. These conjunctions can be used to join two independent clauses, so they come in the middle of a sentence rather than the beginning.

Commas with coordinating conjunctions

2. Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction when it is being used to join two independent clauses.

 I wrote for ten hours, but I didn't finish my composition.

I wrote for ten hours, yet I didn't finish my composition.

I couldn't decide if I should continue writing, or if I should go to bed.

I was tired, so I went to bed.

I went to bed, for I was tired.

I continued thinking about my composition, and I couldn't fall asleep.

I didn't finish my composition, nor did I get any sleep.

 

3. The coordinating conjunctions and and or can be used to join two nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. In these cases, don't use a comma before the conjunction.

 I couldn't decide if I should continue writing or go to bed.

I felt nervous and worried.

I was thinking about my composition and other homework all night.

Check your understanding of coordinating conjunction use

  Open quiz question

Read these sentences:

Good teachers have several important qualities. They care about students. They have an ability to explain the material clearly.

Choose the sentence below that combines the second two sentences correctly.

    a.They care about students. And they have an ability to explain the material clearly.
    b.They care about students and, they have an ability to explain the material clearly.
    c.They care about students, and they have an ability to explain the material clearly.

   

 Open quiz question

Read these sentences:

Students have asked for several improvements to the parking lots. They asked for more spaces. The college hasn't added more yet.

Choose the sentence below that combines the second two sentences correctly.

    a.They asked for more spaces, but the college hasn't added more yet.
    b.They asked for more spaces. But, the college hasn't added more yet.
    c.They asked for more spaces; but the college hasn't added more yet.

   

B. Conjunctive Adverbs

Location of a conjunctive adverb in a sentence

 1. A conjunctive adverb (e.g., however, nevertheless, therefore, moreover, likewise, furthermore, consequently, etc.) can be used at the beginning, middle, or end of a single independent clause. The beginning or middle is preferred to the end position.

Commas with conjunctive adverbs

2. Use a comma after a conjunctive adverb when it starts a single independent clause.

I wrote for ten hours. However, I didn't finish my composition.

I wrote for ten hours. Nevertheless, I didn't finish my composition.

I was tired. Therefore, I went to bed.

I was tired. Consequently, I went to bed.

 

3a. Use commas around a conjunctive adverb when it comes between a subject and main verb in a single independent clause.

I wrote for ten hours. I didn't, however, finish my composition.

 

3b. Use a comma before a conjunctive adverb when it ends a single independent clause.

I wrote for ten hours. I didn't finish my composition, however.

 Semi-colons with conjunctive adverbs

4. A conjunctive adverb can be used to join two independent clauses. In this case, a semi-colon is used instead of a period after the first independent clause.

I wrote for ten hours; however, I didn't finish my composition.

I was tired; consequently, I went to bed.

Check your understanding of conjunctive adverb use

 Open quiz question

Read the sentences:

The college added lights to the parking lot. The lights aren't bright enough.

Choose the sentence below that combines these two correctly.

    a.The college added lights to the parking lot however the lights aren't bright enough.
    b.The college added lights to the parking lot. However, the lights aren't bright enough.
    c.The college added lights to the parking lot, however, the lights aren't bright enough.

   

 Open quiz question

Read the sentences again:

The college added lights to the parking lot. The lights aren't bright enough.

Choose another sentence that combines these two correctly.

    a.The college added lights to the parking lot; However the lights aren't bright enough.
    b.The college added lights to the parking lot. The lights however, aren't bright enough.
    c.The college added lights to the parking lot. The lights, however, aren't bright enough.

   

 Open quiz question

Read the sentences one more time:

The college added lights to the parking lot. The lights aren't bright enough.

Choose a third way to combine the sentences correctly.

    a.The college added lights to the parking lot; however, the lights aren't bright enough.
    b.The college added lights to the parking lot however. The lights aren't bright enough.
    c.However the college added lights to the parking lot. The lights aren't bright enough.

   

C. Subordinating Conjunctions

Location of a subordinating conjunction in a sentence

 1. A subordinating conjunction (because, although. until, if, when, while, before, after) is used to join an independent clause and a dependent clause. They can come at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle when they begin another clause.

Commas with subordinating conjunctions

2. When you begin the sentence with the subordinating conjunction and the dependent clause, use a comma after the dependent clause (before the second/independent clause).

 Although I wrote for ten hours, I didn't finish my composition.

Because I was tired, I went to bed.

  3. When you use the subordinating conjunction in the middle of the sentence and the dependent clause at the end, don't use a comma after the first (independent) clause.

 I didn't finish my composition although I wrote for ten hours.

I went to bed because I was tired.

Check your understanding of subordinating conjunction use

Open quiz question

Read the sentences:

The city promised to add a traffic light last month. It isn't finished yet.

Choose the sentence that combines these two correctly.

    a.Although the city promised to add a traffic light last month. It isn't finished yet.
    b.Although the city promised to add a traffic light last month it isn't finished yet.
    c.Although the city promised to add a traffic light last month, it isn't finished yet.

   

 Open quiz question

Read the sentences again:

The city promised to add a traffic light last month. It isn't finished yet.

Choose another sentence that combines these two correctly.

    a.The traffic light isn't finished yet although the city promised to add it last month.
    b.The traffic light isn't finished yet. Although the city promised to add it last month.
    c.The traffic light isn't finished yet although, the city promised to add it last month.

   

 

 


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