What Are Coordinate (Coordinating) Conjunctions? (with Examples)Coordinate conjunctions (or coordinating conjunctions) most commonly join like with like. This means, for example, they join an adjective with an adjective, a noun with a noun, or a clause with a clause.
The three most common coordinate conjunctions are and, but, and or. There are seven in total. They are:
Examples of Coordinate ConjunctionsHere are some examples of coordinate conjunctions:
- The waiters served sandwiches and cakes. (joins two nouns)
- The manager, his deputy, or his secretary will be with you in a moment. (joins three nouns)
- He is a small but aggressive dog. (joins two adjectives)
- He typed the letter quickly but accurately. (joins two adverbs)
- She must be able to sing and dance. (joins two verbs)
- She must be able to sing like a rock star, and dance like a ballerina. (joins two phrases)
- She must be able to sing, and she must be able to dance. (joins two clauses)
When to Use a Comma before a Coordinate ConjunctionThere is often confusion over when to use a comma before a coordinate conjunction. Here is a summary of the rules:
When your coordinate conjunction joins two items, do not use a comma. For example:
- Cheese and biscuits
- The Bakerloo line runs between Elephant and Castle, and Harrow and Wealdstone
- Cheese, pickle, and biscuits (for those following the Oxford Comma convention)
- Cheese, pickle and biscuits (for those not following the Oxford Comma convention)
- I like sweet things but prefer savoury dishes. (In this example, prefer savoury dishes cannot stand alone as a sentence. This is just an example of a coordinate conjunction joining two phrases.)
- I like sweet things, but I prefer savoury dishes. (In this example, the individual clauses can stand alone. They are independent clauses. That's why there is a comma before but.)
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