Talk:Conjunction (grammar)

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Information at Grammatical particle[edit]

Grammatical particle already has some text on conjunctions...maybe merge or move the text from there here or here there? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DennisDaniels (talkcontribs).

Assorted complaints[edit]

If and/or is a disjunction than to say it is a conjunction perhaps isn't fair

In addition it isn't a "english" "part of speech".

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

A conjunction is a word that links words, phrases, or clauses. There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions may join single words, or they may join groups of words, but they must always join similar elements: e.g. subject+subject, verb phrase+verb phrase, sentence+sentence. When a coordinating conjunction is used to join elements, the element becomes a compound element. Correlative conjunctions also connect sentence elements of the same kind: however, unlike coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. Subordinating conjunctions, the largest class of conjunctions, connect subordinate clauses to a main clause. These conjunctions are adverbs used as conjunctions. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Hello, and please sign your name from now on with four tildes. In any case, I would like to point out that this article is not entitled "English Conjunctions" but rather "Conjunctions", the cross-linguistic lexcial category. Jamutaq (talk) 21:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

"But" vs. "and"[edit]

I am seeking the distinction between the conjunctions "but" and "and"... Unfortunately, the site implies they are the same "Coordinating conjunctions...that join two items of equal syntactic importance." I believe there are subtle (and some distinct) differences in the various conjunctions... My current focus is defining the actual or implied differences between the terms "Separate BUT Equal" and "Separate AND Equal" I welcome your thoughts Wikipedia Community. 15:08, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I tend to think that "but" joins two generally contrasting ideas, while "and" connects two that are similar. 21:08, 30 May 2006 (UTC)Jello
You must remember that syntactic importance refers to the "balance" of the elements or clauses in relation to grammar, not to the elements or clauses [meaning] themselves. They are sometimes used differently.

"And" joins two things together into one group. Think "togetherness." :)

  • Ex: George and I are going to the mall.

->Two syntactically equal people (who are different) who will go to the mall together.

  • Ex: We want to buy shirts, shoes and socks.

->Three syntactically equal types of clothing (that are different) that will be bought (by a group of people who are shopping together).

  • Ex: We are then going to go to a restaurant and, after that, we plan to see a film.

->Two syntactically equal clauses that are joined together to show the order of what they will do together.

"But" is used to show contrast. Think "separation" or "difference."

  • Ex: George wants to go to the mall but I want to go to the hardware store.

-> Two syntactically equal clauses about two people who want to go to different places.

  • Ex: George, but not I, wants to go to the mall.

-> One clause which is subordinated by another clause about two people who want to go to different places.

  • Ex. He wants to buy shirts but not socks.

-> Two syntactically equal items that are not both of interest to the buyer.

  • Ex. After we eat, we are then going to go to the cinema, but George wants to see Star Wars and I want to see Jaws.

-> Two syntactically equal clauses that show a series of events, ending in the different movies the two people want to see.

"And" is used for both elements and clauses, as well as for ordinating, whereas "but" is usually used for connecting clauses and is not commonly used for connecting elements. ReveurGAM (talk) 08:48, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


I think placing for as the first example of a conjunction is very misleading. For is mostly used as a preposition: "He bought flowers for her", etc. The use as a conjunction is limited to quite formal writing: "He gave her the flowers, for he loved her so much." — AdiJapan  12:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

How is using for as a conjunction any different to using 'because' which is classed as a subordinating conjunction while for is classed as a coordinating conjunction? I could easily re-write that sentence ""He gave her the flowers, because he loved her so much.". What's the exact difference? ( 18:10, 3 July 2007 (UTC))
One indicator — not a perfect one by any stretch — is that so-called "subordinating" conjunctions introduce a subordinate clause, which can be moved to the start of the clause containing them: "He gave her the flowers, because he loved her so much" can be re-written as "Because he loved her so much, he gave her the flowers." For does not have this property; we can say, "He gave her the flowers, for he loved her so much", but not *"For he loved her so much, he gave her the flowers." —RuakhTALK 18:43, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
In the first example, shouldn't the comma be omitted? ""He gave her the flowers because he loved her so much" Unimaginative Username (talk) 06:10, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
It depends what you're trying to say; if you're answering the question "Why did he give her the flowers?", no comma, but if you're answering a question like "Did he give her the flowers?" or "To whom did he give the flowers?" or "Who gave her the flowers?" or the like, then yes comma. That said, it's not always obvious exactly what implicit question a given sentence is trying to answer — that's just not how language works — so there are many cases where the comma can be present or absent. —RuakhTALK 21:01, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Very nice distinction! Out of context, it appears not to need the comma, but as you say, if it's adding tangential info... which is what makes copy-editing such a nuanced, fascinating, and time-consuming hobby! Cheers, Unimaginative Username (talk) 00:32, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

"For, yet, so" are not conjunctions[edit]

Of these seven words, only "and" and "but" and "or" are fully-satisfactory co-ordinators, though "nor" comes very close. "So" and "yet" are conjunctive adverbs like "however". But the preposition "for" doesn't even resemble any conjunctions (much less any co-ordinating conjunctions) in any way. (Although it can have a clause for its "object" or "complement". --Eldin raigmore (talk) 16:11, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Do you have a source for this statement? I have a college-level grammar textbook published in 2009 that says that they are. Henrymrx (t·c) 22:28, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
More than that, Merriam Webster lists 'for' as a conjunction ( As an editor in the U.S., I know a good deal of us (fans of the AP and Chicago styles among others) use this is our primary source in these matters; I can't speak for an international audience though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:04, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
The assertion that "so", "yet", and "for" are not coordinating conjunctions is incorrect OR. Coordinating conjunctions in English can link main clauses -- clauses that could stand alone as a sentence:
A is true, so B is true. / A is true. So B is true.
A is not true, yet B is true. / A is not true. Yet B is true.
A is true, for B is true. / A is true. For B is true.
Furthermore, "so" and "yet" are not conjunctive adverbs like "however". We can punctuate as "A is not true, yet B is true"; but we cannot punctuate as "A is not true, however B is true" (despite the fact that one sometimes sees the latter mistake).
I'm removing the OR POV edit of 15:56, 13 March 2010 in this regard. (talk) 21:36, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

List found in comments[edit]

I found the following in HTML comments in the article. -- Beland 19:55, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Should the following be listed anywhere?

  • after
  • although
  • as
  • as far as
  • as if
  • as long as
  • because
  • before
  • even if
  • for
  • how
  • granted (that)
  • if
  • in case
  • lest
  • like
  • on condition that
  • provided
  • providing
  • since
  • so
  • so that
  • supposing
  • than
  • unless
  • until
    • 'til
    • till
  • that
  • though
  • when
  • whence
  • whenever
  • where
  • whereabouts
  • whereafter
  • whereagainst
  • wherealong
  • whereas
  • whereat
  • whereby
  • wherever
  • wherefor
  • wherefrom
  • wherein
  • whereinto
  • whereinsoever
  • whereof
  • whereout
  • whereover
  • whereround
  • whereso
  • wheresoever
  • wheresomever
  • wherethrough
  • wheretill
  • whereunder
  • whereunto
  • whereupon
  • whereup
  • whether
  • while
  • whither

What about "forasmuch" and "inasmuch" ? Gregbard 10:07, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I crossed out words that have since been mentioned on the page. The article does a fine job of including examples of conjunctions, as it's not possible to include every conjunction (otherwise it would be cluttered or look like a list). However, a few common ones like as could be added. The compound words (where+..., forasmuch, inasmuch) are mostly old ways of saying things and not used colloquially, or they are used exclusively in legal mumbo-jumbo.
Wikky Horse 02:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Someone anonymous edited the paragraph on phrases that can be used as co-ordinating conjunctions to change "provided that" to "providing that". This was a mistake. The single word "providing" is often so used, as is the two-word phrase "provided that"; but "providing that" is much rarer and is considered awkward by many native speakers of English. For references, search the web for "providing that". Eldin raigmore (talk) 23:27, 27 December 2011 (UTC)


It might be prudent to include examples. I am not familiar with the topic to do so and could benefit from them —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jgassens (talkcontribs) 16:53, 13 July 2007 (UTC).


BISAWAWE is a mnemonic? I feel like I need a mnemonic for the mnemonic. The Internet Anagram Server informs me that "I SAW A WEB" is an anagram of BISAWAWE. If you're feeling bold, substitute that in the article. --DavidConrad 18:59, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Conjunctions beginning sentences[edit]

I removed from this article the straitlaced assertion that sentences should not begin with coordinating conjunctions. It's a kind of polysyndeton, and perfectly acceptable. Vbbdesign (talk) 03:46, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

"not this nor that" = "not this or that" ?[edit]

I've seen people say both "or" and "nor" in phrases like that, is it the same thing in those cases? or is one of them the wrong word for the meaning?--TiagoTiago (talk) 13:06, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Rolled back edit[edit]

I rolled back through some edits that had introduced many errors into the page. (Someone thought adding a section on cobjunctions was funny, and someone else had eliminated all the periods and made them "ands" in another section -- this problem had survived a more extensive edit, but I didn't make the effort to combine the two, so if the previous editor wants to take a crack at it, fine by me...)

I also rewrote the section on starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions. It seemed to me to make more sense to frame it as a debate.

Wikinetman (talk) 08:26, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Search redirect =[edit]

Could someone enter this article as a search result for "conjunction" when searching from the "search page? THKS. (talk) 10:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

why 'but' redirect at top[edit]

Why is there is a BUT link at the top of this page? But is no more important a conjunction than any other - I fail to see why it should get a special mention Willphase (talk) 04:24, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

"Whilst" and "now" as coordinating conjunctions[edit]

The article currently says "various others [besides the FANBOYS seven] are used as coordinating conjunctions, including whilst and now." (1) I'm not British, so could someone give me an example here of "whilst" being used as a coordinating conjunction, along the lines of this example for "or": "You could go or you could stay." / "You could go. Or you could stay." While the article gives a citation (that I don't have access to), I'm skeptical. (2) I'm extremely skeptical that "now" can be used as a coordinating conjunction. Again, can someone give an example here? (talk) 22:01, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

I've looked up the source given in the article, and here's what I found. It is indeed true that Fowler's Modern English Usage claims that John Algeo (International J. of Lexicography, vol. 1, 1988) states that "whilst" and "now" can be used as coordinating conjunctions. However, the examples that Fowler's gives are of them being used as subordinating conjunctions: "I would like to thank .... for their encouragement whilst I was writing this book." " Now ['Now that' in American English] the socialists have accepted the expensive red rose as their emblem, may I suggest...." Either Fowler's got it wrong and Algeo said they were subordinating conjunctions, or Algeo himself got it wrong-- I don't know which since I cannot get access to that issue of the journal he wrote in. However, I looked in Algeo's subsequent 2006 book British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns (chapter 9 on conjunctions), and I found that both usages are given under subordinating conjunctions. So either Fowler's got it wrong about Algeo, or Algeo changed his mind. In any event, "whilst" and "now (that)" are subordinating conjunctions, so I will correct this Wikipedia article accordingly. (talk) 20:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

for as a coordinating conjunction[edit]

"He is gambling with his health, for he has been smoking far too long.") (though "for" is more commonly used as a preposition)

Isn't this sentence an example of a subordinating conjunction instead? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:42, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Examples for subordinated conjuncions[edit]

There are very clear and helpful examples of coordinating and correlating conjunctions. But when it comes to subordinated conjunctions it drifts off into a discussion of usage in other languages. Similar examples of subordinated conjunctions would be appreciated, and I sugget it would be better to put th eother languages discussion into a section of its own.

Baska436 (talk) 12:01, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Whether [or not][edit]

I've always wondered whether the use of "or not" in a sentence containing whether is completely superfluous. I hear/read it so often and to my mind it seems wrong. For example - "I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll buy that car", or "I haven't decided whether I'll buy that car or not". Either way, the or not seems pointless. Surely this works on it's own - "I haven't decided yet whether I'll buy that car". It doesn't seem to be lacking an "or not". (talk) 15:56, 4 August 2011 (UTC) DD

Serial comma before 'and'[edit]

At the beginning of the article, there is a definition of the 'and' conjunction and the example: "They gamble, and they smoke". The serial comma only gets applied when there is a list of three or more items. It really doesn't get used for simple separation. Shouldn't the example read "They gamble and they smoke"? Sunnyape (talk) 22:52, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

This is not an example of a serial comma. It's two independent clauses linked by a conjunction, which strictly speaking typically requires a comma. — (talk) 07:52, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Contradictory edit in lede[edit]

An editor has added (and I have reverted) material to the following sentence in the lede:

Many students are taught that certain conjunctions (such as "and", "but", and "so") should not begin sentences, although this belief has "no historical or grammatical foundation".[1]

The added passage was:

of course, the conjunction of such a sentence would not be explicitly connecting two grammatical units (words, sentences, phrases or clauses), which provides the logical foundation for avoiding such a construction.

First, the resulting combined passage becomes self-contradictory, with the first half asserting one thing and the second half asserting the opposite. Second, the second half is self-evidently wrong: If a coordinating conjunction appears at the start of one sentence, it links the previous sentence with that sentence. Third, while the existing passage is footnoted to a reputable source, the added material has no source given and thus is WP:Original research, which is not permitted in Wikipedia. Duoduoduo (talk) 15:37, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ University of Chicago (2010). The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. p. 257. ISBN 9780226104201. 

"neither", "no more", and "only"[edit]

I am not an expert on British English, nor do I have access to the Algeo and Burchfield sources, so I cannot verify the coordinating conjunctions "and nor", "but nor", or "or nor". However, the examples given for "neither", "no more", and "only" are clearly not being used as conjunctions, so I'm removing them (although I'm thinking you might be able to make a case for "neither", just with a better example). Can anyone who does know something about British English verify the other three? (They don't have examples, and they're in the same sentence as the ones which don't belong there, so I'd just like to make sure). --Brjaga (talk) 21:09, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

I was the one who put in all of these, about a year ago, after I found them in the indicated sources. I'm pretty sure that the specific examples I gave were drawn from those sources. The ones, with examples, that you've reverted are:
"neither" ("They don't gamble; neither do they smoke"), "no more" ("They don't gamble; no more do they smoke"), and "only" ("Can we perform? Only if we practice").
Of these, it seems clear to me that "neither" and "no more" are synonyms for "nor" in these sentences; replace them with "nor", and I don't think you'd dispute that "nor" is used there as a coordinating conjunction. I think you're just not familiar with that usage, but I've certainly seen it often enough, and not just in the source given. As for the example with "only", it looks to me like a subordinating conjunction since it's followed by a subordinate clause.
So I'm putting back in the "neither" and "no more" examples, which are certainly right. As for the "only" example, I invite further discussion as to whether the source is just wrong or whether there just needs to be a more appropriate example.
Also, the "and nor", "but nor", and "or nor" conjunctions are certainly used by the British, so they too should stay. Duoduoduo (talk) 02:19, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Correction: the versions you reverted are not the same as the ones I put in a year ago (given above) -- someone must have messed them up since then. I'll revert to the originals. Duoduoduo (talk) 02:23, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
They were messed up on 7 August 2011 by User:MMcLaughlin2097. Thanks for catching it, Brjaga ! Duoduoduo (talk) 02:31, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like "no more" and "neither" do belong there, but since the parts in question are in the section on Coordinating Conjunctions, I think "only" ought to be moved to the subordinating conjunction section (if it's not already there). I seem to remember at the time that I initially removed these that I thought "only" could be considered one, but I was only looking at whether it belonged in the coordinating conjunction section.--Brjaga (talk) 00:37, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I somehow missed the new (i.e. original) example for "only", which does seem to be coordinating. Thanks for fixing those examples, and teaching me something about British English. --Brjaga (talk) 00:41, 9 October 2011 (UTC)


Is the word also a necessary part of the correlative conjunction not only...but also?? I'm sure the following statement is valid:

Wikipedia has articles not only in English but in hundreds of languages.

There's no also in the above statement. Georgia guy (talk) 22:57, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Additional infobyte[edit]

Regards to this: 'Many students are taught that certain conjunctions (such as "and", "but", "because", and "so") should not begin sentences; although authorities such as the Chicago Manual of Style state that this teaching has "no historical or grammatical foundation".'

I actually speak Old English, and I have read historical Old English texts where conjunctions are used at the beginning of a sentence, so the practice has a long history (at least 1000+ years). Should this additional little bit of information be included. Gott wisst (talk) 04:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Specific Concern[edit]

Dear Wikipedia Users, Have any of you noticed the fact that grammatical conjunctions have been used in the article itself (more specifically, the first paragraph)? Should it be changed to have no grammatical conjunctions before it has been explained? Your thoughts, please. Abdullah H. Mirza (talk) 19:18, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

To add to this, 'Microsoft Word' has a comma before a conjuction as a grammatical error: "If you are using a conjunction to connect only two items, it is incorrect to use a comma before the conjunction." See the sentence "In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle, and it may or may not stand between the items it conjoins." Is this poor grammar ? Interestingly, it did not bring up a violation when I pasted the above sentence into a document, yet it did for one of my own which was similar. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

History of starting sentences with conjunctions[edit]

I can explain the history of ending sentences with prepositions as follows:

Ending sentences with prepositions has always been standard in English. The rule that you can't do so is a rule of Latin grammar; its use in English derives from the impression that English is a Romance language like Latin, not a Germanic language as it really is.

Can anyone give info on the history of starting sentences with conjunctions in a similar way?? Georgia guy (talk) 00:51, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Extremely Anglocentric Article[edit]

As I've stated before, the title of this article is not English Conjunction, but rather simply Conjunction; hence, I suggest we make this article cross-linguistically relevant. As a related side note, this article's text is largely based on traditional grammar, rather than modern linguistics. I think we had best have information on conjunctions and maybe even corresponding structures in other languages; I could help somewhat with Chinese, and more so with Sumerian. Jamutaq (talk) 21:35, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

This article does mention some other languages, specifically the West Germanic ones. But it needs some expansion in this area. (Or perhaps, it could be renamed to "Conjunctions in English Grammar", or something similar?) I actually came to this article wondering how English conjunctions compare to conjunctions in other languages. For example, is the confusion between the logical concepts of "exclusive or" and "inclusive or" universal? If not, what languages provide counterexamples? Some research on this topic lead me to believe that classical Latin did have a distinction, with "aut" and "vel" being used, but I'm not certain I understood correctly. Is it known if any language has a unique conjunction for every one of the 16 binary truth functions? Also, apparently classical Arabic required all lists to contain an "and" after each element "I want an apple, an orange, a date, and a plum" would be "I want an apple and an orange and a date and a plum" Just random thoughts on conjunctions across languages, I guess. I hope this might help in expanding this article! JonathanHopeThisIsUnique (talk) 04:23, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Self-demonstration of starting sentences with conjunctions[edit]

The "Starting a sentence" section of the article currently has a couple of sentences that are clearly intended to serve as examples of the subject they're talking about:

But this superstition has "no historical or grammatical foundation". First-rate writers from across the English-speaking world regularly begin sentences with conjunctions. And they do it at all writing levels, even the most formal: [...]

While this sort of wink-wink-nudge-nudge "see, look, I'm doing it right now" demonstration might be appropriate on a TV Tropes page, I don't think it's appropriate on Wikipedia. In particular, the sentence beginning with "and" seems clearly shoehorned in for the sake of said demonstration. To be clear, I'm not disagreeing that it's fine English (and otherwise Wikipedia-appropriate) to begin sentences with conjunctions. But if we want to illustrate the concept, we should do so via explicit examples (of which a profusion is already found immediately beneath), not in this unencyclopedic way. (talk) 03:29, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

I appreciate someone saying that and being bold enough to change the wording, since I also found it a bit cheesy. I might've tried to change it, but then been reverted. — Eru·tuon 02:16, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Take note of the lead section, too. I might change it later. CtP (tc) 19:49, 3 May 2015 (UTC)


Two of the examples of conjunctions used to start a sentence are from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But that novel is written from the point of view of Huckleberry Finn himself, who had very limited education and used nonstandard grammar frequently. So those aren't good examples of sentences beginning with conjunctions "in even the most formal writing". --Metropolitan90 (talk) 02:17, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

No semicolon preceding coordinating conjunction?[edit]

In the examples given for coordinating conjunctions, semicolons are used to link the two clauses, e.g. "they don't gamble; neither do they smoke". According to the Wikipedia article on semicolons, however, "[semicolons are used] between closely related independent clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction, when the two clauses are balanced, opposed or contradictory" (italics mine).

Does anybody care to comment on this contradiction? Which one is correct? Which should be changed? MrSparkle713 (talk) 14:56, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

if only, than[edit]

Is "if only...than" a conjunction? "if only the ground is broken up once a year, than it will in many places with any amount of care."- Wild Apples by Henry David Thoreau117.216.31.248 (talk) 11:57, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

Read: .... it will grow faster ... or ... than it will ...". --Boson (talk) 16:22, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

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