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Coordinate Conjunctions - Glossary of Terms

Co-ordinate Conjunctions

Co-ordinate conjunctions join similar words, phrases or clauses to each other (i.e., to join an adjective to an adjective or a noun to a noun).  The most common co-ordinate conjunctions are: and, but, or, for, nor, so and yet.

The conjunctions and, but and or are the most common by far. 


The waiters served sandwiches and cakes. (joins two nouns)
He is a small but aggressive dog. (joins two adjectives)
The manager or his secretary will be with you in a moment. (joins two nouns)
He typed the letter quickly but accurately. (joins two adverbs)

In the examples above, the conjunctions all join words.  As a general rule, when a conjunction joins two words, there is no need to precede it with a comma.  However, when it joins two clauses, it is usual to place a comma before the conjunction.


The applicant must be able to sing and dance. (no comma)
The applicant must be able to sing, and she must be able to dance. (joins two clauses - comma required)
Interactive example:

Pat and I slept, but Julie stayed awake the whole way. [show me the co-ordinate conjunction]
Associated pages:
What are conjunctions?
Conjunctions and commas
Conjunctions and semicolons
Glossary of grammatical terms

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