Conjunctions are words that join other words or clauses together.
  • God made the country and man made the town.
  • He was poor but he was honest.
  • She must weep or she will die.
  • John and Mary got married.
Conjunctions not only join clauses together; they also show how the meanings of the two clauses are related.
  • I decided to consult a doctor because I was not feeling well. (cause)
  • He is slow but he is sure. (contrast)
  • Ann wrote the letters and Peter posted them. (addition)
  • Either take it or leave it. (alternative)
  • He is very wealthy, yet very unhappy. (contrast)
  • You can have tea or coffee.
A conjunction and its clause can sometimes stand alone. This happens, for example, in answers.
  • When are you going to start? When I am ready.
  • Why are you crying? Because John beat me.
Afterthoughts may also begin with conjunctions.
  • Ok, I did it. – But I didn’t mean it.
Writers and speakers may also separate clauses for emphasis.
Phrase conjunctions
Some conjunctions are made up of two or more words.
  • He looks as if he were on the brink of a breakdown.
  • It looks as though it is going to rain.
  • As soon as I finish this book, I will start another.
  • We started early so that we might not miss the show.
Relative pronouns as conjunctions
Relative pronouns (who, which and that) join clauses like conjunctions.
  • I saw a beggar who was deaf and dumb.
In the above sentence who stands for the beggar – hence it is a pronoun. It also connects the two sentences I saw a beggar and He was deaf and dumb – hence it is a conjunction.
A relative pronoun is the subject or object of the verb that comes after it. So we do not need another subject or object.
  • Trust no man who does not love his country. (NOT Trust no man who he does not …)
  • The snake which we could not kill crept into a hole. (NOT The snake which we could not kill it crept …)

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