by Julie A. Daymut, M.A., CCC-SLP
Conjunctions are words that connect—or combine—words, phrases, clauses,
or sentences. Conjunctions link thoughts and ideas in speaking and in writing. Some
conjunctions are only one word, such as “and,” while others are more than one word,
such as “even if.” Conjunctions are part of grammar (the form and function of words)
and syntax (how words are put together for meaning). There are three main types
Coordinating Conjunctions – These conjunctions coordinate
or “balance” the information located on either side of it. Coordinating conjunctions
include: and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so.
Example: The students have substitute teachers for both
reading and math today.
Subordinating Conjunctions – These conjunctions combine
a main (independent) clause that can stand alone to a subordinate (dependent) clause
that cannot stand alone. Subordinating conjunctions include: after,
although, because, even if, if, since, that, though, unless, until, when, whereas,
wherever, whether, while, why.
the students finish lunch, they head out to recess.
Correlative Conjunctions – These conjunctions correlate
or “go together” in pairs to join information that is equally important. Correlative
conjunctions include: both/and, either/or, neither/nor, whether/or,
Example: If the
students answer the bonus question correctly, then
they will earn extra points.
Ways to Work on Conjunctions
- Combine sentences with conjunctions. Give students two
complete sentences. Have them combine the two sentences into one sentence by using
a conjunction. Do this for spoken and written sentences.
- Underline conjunctions. Have students underline conjunctions
in written text. Use different reading materials, such as books, magazines, newspapers,
- Identify conjunctions by type. Provide students with
a list, or flash cards, of various conjunctions. Have them group the conjunctions
by type—coordinating, subordinating, or correlative.
- Replace incorrect conjunctions with correct ones. Give
students words, clauses, phrases, or sentences joined by an incorrect conjunction.
Have them replace the conjunction with a correct one. For example—She missed the
bus either she overslept (because).
- Create a story using different conjunctions. Have students
make up a story that uses a minimum number of conjunctions. To increase the difficulty,
have them use a minimum number of conjunctions from each type—coordinating, subordinating,
and correlative. Do this for spoken and written stories.