Using conjunctions in English

But although, and though are conjunctions used to connect ideas that contrast.

- But is a coordinating conjunction that must be placed in between the main idea and the contrasting idea. Coordinating conjunctions are used between two main clauses.

The dress is beautiful but impractical.
My dinner was delicious but too expensive.

- Although and though are subordinating conjunctions that link a main clause to a subordinate contrasting clause. They can also be placed at the start of the sentence.

She is nice although I don’t see her much.
He is very smart though he tries to hid it.
Although she is extroverted, she doesn’t really like parties.

- Coordinating conjunctions connect items, phrases, or clauses. They are used to give equal weight to each phrase. Coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered with a simple acronym:



- In addition to coordinating conjunctions' role in giving equal weight to the two main clauses, they can also be used to connect items in a list. While it isn’t grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, many advise against this practice to help avoid fragments.

Main clause Coordinating conjunction Main clause
The dog hates to swim but he loves to go on walks.
I want to go out to eat but the babysitter is sick.
Main clause Item Coord. conjunction item
The party will have cake and cookies.
wan to try salsa or tango.

- Subordinating conjunctions are used to link subordinating clause to a main clause. This means that, instead of equal emphasis for each clause, there is one clause that is considered the principal phrase.

Common subordinating conjunctions:
as soon as because whenever
as long as Just as wherever
after once now that
although if unless
provided even until

- There are two main patterns a sentence with subordinating conjunctions can take. Firstly, the sentence may begin with the subordinating conjunction and subordinate clause. An introductory phrase beginning with a subordinating conjunction is dependent on the main clause.

Subordinate conjunction + subordinate clause , main clause
Even if it’s cold, we are going on a hike.
Although I’ve seen it before, I’ll see that movie with you tomorrow.
As soon as it stops raining, you need to take out the garbage.

*Whether the dependent clause is before or after the main clause, the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of the dependent clause.

- The second structure puts the main clause before the subordinate clause.

Main clause + subordinate conjunction + subordinate clause
I liked your performance now that I understand it’s historical context.
I’ll drive you to school as long as you’re not late again.

- The adjectives "either" and "neither" allow speakers to refer to two separate things or situations at the same time. "Either" is used in positive phrases about a choice, while "neither" is used in negative phrases.

- If the words are paired, you use:

Neither… nor

When paired, they become correlative conjunctions that connect two grammatically equal options. Other correlative conjunctions include: not only…but also, both…and just as…so.

Neither Beth nor Colin got good grades this year.

Whether the dependent clause is before or after the main clause, the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of the dependent clause.

When I’m in Europe this summer I’ll visit either France or Italy.

- These phrases can be grammatically tricky, especially when it comes to verb and pronoun agreement. The verb or pronoun must agree with the second subject or antecedent, instead of the first or a combination.

Neither Rebecca nor the Johnson twins handed in their homework on time.

*Note here that “their homework” represents the Johnson twins. If we reversed the order of the subjects, the antecedent would need to change.

Neither the Johnson twins nor Rebecca handed in her homework on time.