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Coordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction joins parts of a sentence (for example words or independent clauses) that are grammatically equal or similar. A coordinating conjunction shows that the elements it joins are similar in importance and structure:

clause + clause

There are seven coordinating conjunctions, and they are all short words of only two or three letters:

  • and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so

Look at these examples - the two elements that the coordinating conjunction joins are shown in square brackets [ ]:

  • I like [tea] and [coffee].
  • [Ram likes tea], but [Anthony likes coffee].

Coordinating conjunctions always come between the words or clauses that they join.

When a coordinating conjunction joins independent clauses, it is always correct to place a comma before the conjunction:

  • I want to work as an interpreter in the future, so I am studying Russian at university.

However, if the independent clauses are short and well-balanced, a comma is not really essential:

  • She is kind so she helps people.

When "and" is used with the last word of a list, a comma is optional:

  • He drinks beer, whisky, wine, and rum.
  • He drinks beer, whisky, wine and rum.
The 7 coordinating conjunctions are short, simple words. They have only two or three letters. There's an easy way to remember them - their initials spell "FANBOYS", like this:

F A N B O Y S
for and nor but or yet so