The Secret to Learn Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions Better

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In English grammar, it is possible for two or more words, phrases or sentences to be joined together to convey a complete meaning. Such words used to join two or more words, phrases, or sentences are called conjunctions.

Definition of Conjunctions

A conjunction is a grammatical word used to join two or more words, phrases, or sentences together. Conjunction occurs and functions in compound, complex and multiple sentences.

There are three classifications of conjunctions, namely coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions. In this article, we shall discuss two types of conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions include ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’. They are realized under two types: additive and contrastive conjunctions.

(a)  Additive coordinating conjunctions: This kind of conjunction is that of ‘and/or which expresses an addition to what is said in the first clause. In other words, it joins items having similar attributes or status. Consider the illustrations below.

1. Additive conjunctions join two words together.

(a)        The said two words may be nouns. For example:

(i)         Moses and John are enemies.

(ii)        I abhorred Eke and Usman.

(b)        The said two words may be adjectives. For example:

(i)         I want these thieves dead or alive.

(ii)        Are you rich or poor?

(c)        The said two words may be verbs. For example:

(i)         She eats and sleeps.

(ii)        Will you go or stay?

2.  Additive conjunctions join two phrases together. For example:

(i)       My younger brother and my younger sister look alike.

(ii)     Try to come along with a pen or a pencil.

3. Additive conjunctions also join clauses together. For example:

(i)         I can’t say whether you will go or you will wait.                              

(ii)        The boy who came in and the one that stayed outside are thieves.

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4. Additive conjunctions join sentences together. For example:

(i)     I studied English and I was teaching English.

(ii)   I hate that teacher and I hate his subject too.

Let us now consider their functions in the sentences.

(i)         In sentence (a), the conjunction joins ‘Moses’ and ‘John ‘together.

(ii)        In sentence (b), the conjunction or joins ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ together.

(iii)       In sentence (c), the conjunction and joins ‘sleep’ and ‘eats’ together.

(iv)       In sentence (2), the conjunction or joins ‘a pen’ and ‘a pencil’ together.

(v)        In sentence (3), the conjunction joins ‘the boy who came in’ and ‘the one that stayed outside’ together.

(vi)       In sentence (4), the conjunction and joins, ‘I hate that teacher’ and ‘I hate his subject too together.

Contrastive coordinating conjunctions: This is a type of conjunction expressing the ideas or the situations which are contradictory or dissimilar to what is said in the first. Its example is (but).

1. Contrastive conjunctions join two words together.

(a)  The said two words may be nouns. For example:

I don’t beat Bola but Sola.

(b)  The said two words may be pronouns. For example:

It was not she but he.

2. Contrastive conjunctions join two phrases together. For example:

I am not afraid of the dog but of the lion.

3. Contrastive conjunctions join two clauses together. For example:

He is not talking about the student who scored 5, but the one who scored 2.

4. Contrastive conjunctions join two sentences together. For example:

Bukky was indolent but Josephine was assiduous.

In the examples above, contrastive conjunctions perform the following functions:

(i)         In example, 1(a), the conjunction joins ‘Bola’ and ‘Sola’ together.

(ii)        In example 1(b), the conjunction but joins ‘she’ and ‘he’ together.

(iii)       In example (2), the conjunction but joins ‘the dog’ and ‘the lion’ together.

(iv)       In example (3), the conjunction but joins ‘the student who scored 5’ and ‘the one who scored 2’ together.

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(v)        In example (4), the conjunction but joins ‘Bukky was indolent’ and ‘Josephine was assiduous’ together.

Note that coordinating conjunctions and or but can join more than two items. Consider the following examples:

(i)         I bought rice and beans and fish and tomatoes.

(ii)        He has nothing but to support but to assist.

The first sentence is also possible to say:

I bought rice, beans, fish and tomatoes.

Evaluation

1. Define the concept of conjunctions.

2a.  Distinguish between additive coordinating conjunctions and contrastive coordinating conjunctions.

3. Identify examples of additive and contrastive coordinating conjunctions.

4. Form 5 sentences with each additive and contrastive coordinating conjunctions

5. Form 2 sentences with each of the features below.

(a)  Coordinating conjunctions joining two phrases

(b)   Coordinating conjunctions joining two clauses

(c)    Coordinating conjunctions joining two sentences

Introduction to Subordinating Conjunctions

In the previous unit, we discussed the definition, ad main classification of conjunctions. We also discussed coordinating conjunctions and their two types: additive and contrastive with relevant and copious examples. In this unit, we shall discuss subordinating conjunctions.

 Definition of Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are those that simply join independent clauses to dependent clauses. Those clauses are joined by the following subordinators: when, where, who, after, before, while, which, whom, as, since, if, in order that, so that, unless, until, whose, that, though, although, etc.

1. Whenever subordinators join main clauses to subordinate clauses, complex sentences will be realized. Consider the examples below.

(i)   Mum had slept before I arrived.

(ii)  I flogged the boy who disrespected me.

(iii)  Amos passed his exams though he didn’t prepare well.

(iv)  Toyin work up very early so that she could meet up with the bus.

(v)  Those people won’t go unless they are instructed.

2. It is also possible for some subordinators to begin sentences. Consider the examples below.

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(i)    If you ask me to go, I will.

(ii)   Until my father comes, I have not slept.

(iii)   To get a prize, you should perform very excellently.

(iv)  When I get home, I phone him.

Under the sentences of number (1), the first clauses are independent while subordinators render the second clauses subordinate. For example:

(i)  I flogged the boy who disrespected me.

(ii)  My mum had slept before I arrived.

First, ‘I flogged the boy’ is an independent clause, but the subordinator who renders ‘disrespected me’ subordinate. Also, ‘my mum had slept’ is an independent clause, but the subordinator before renders ‘I arrived’ subordinate. Furthermore, in number (2), the second clauses are independent clauses and subordinators render the first clauses subordinate. For example:

(i)   If you ask me to go, I will.

(ii)  When I am back, I phone him.

The subordinator if renders ‘you ask me to go subordinate but ‘I will’ is an independent clause. Also, the subordinator when renders ‘I get home’ subordinate but ‘I phone him’ is an independent clause.

Evaluation

Explain subordinating conjunctions with illustrations.

Use the following examples of subordinating conjunctions in the sentences:

(i)         In order that

(ii)        As soon as

(iii)       Although

(iv)       Which

Author: Deola Adelakun

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