connects words, phrases, or groups of words
in a sentence. The words or phrases being connected should be equal or
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
For example, the word and
is a coordinating conjunction.
Example sentences with "and":
- We are hungry and
- He asked us to clean our rooms and wash the dishes.
- John works as a teacher and
Beth works as a nurse.
- The mailman is running away and the dog is
There are seven coordinating conjunctions in the English language.
An easy way to remember the coordinating conjunctions is to remember
F = for
A = and
N = nor
B = but
O = or
Y = yet
S = so
Coordinating conjunctions always go between the words or phrases that
they are connecting.
In the examples below, the equal parts of the
that are being joined are underlined. The coordinating conjunction is
will be late to the party
, for I am working until seven
Tom likes to read
Sally does not
like the mountains
does she like
I wanted to ride
, but the tire was flat
Fred wants peas
I love chocolate
yet I do not eat chocolate
She was late to
, so her boss made her stay
Rules for using a coordinating conjunction
1. Put a comma before the coordinating conjunction when it is
connect two independent clauses.
a group of words the contain a subject
and a verb
An independent clause
(or main clause
expresses a complete thought. It can stand alone as a sentence. For
example, "I like apples."
(A dependent clause
does not express a complete thought. It cannot stand alone as a
sentence. For example, "that I saw last month.")
Examples of independent
- Tom walked the dog.
"Tom walked the dog" is an independent clause.
grabbed the mail.
"Tom grabbed the mail" is also an independent clause.
These two independent clauses can be combined
conjunction. When we combine these two sentences, the second "Tom" will
be changed to "he."
- Tom walked the dog, so he grabbed the mail.
Tom walked the dog, and he grabbed the mail.
Both parts of the sentence have a subject and verb (before and after
the coordinating conjunction).
Here are a few more examples of coordinating conjunctions connecting
want to go see a movie but my sister has my car.
want to go see a movie,
but my sister has my car.
loves cats yet she does not want one living in her house.
yet she does not want one living in her house.
2. When using a coordinating conjunction to connect two
items, do not
use a comma.
In the example above with Tom and his dog, we can leave out the comma
if we do not have two independent clauses. We do this by leaving out
the subject in the second part of the sentence (he).
- Tom walked the dog and grabbed the mail.
("Tom walked the dog" is an independent clause, but "grabbed the mail"
Here are a few more examples of how to use a coordinating conjunction
to connect two items that are not independent clauses.
likes apples and bananas.
brother is young,
brother is young but smart.
3. When using a coordinating conjunction with a list of items
(three or more in number), the
comma before the coordinating conjunction is optional.
You should put or leave out the comma before the coordinating
conjunction based on the style guide you are using.
Example with comma:
Example without comma:
- She is cooking chicken, potatoes, corn, and carrot.
- She is cooking chicken, potatoes, corn
These were the uses of the coordinating conjunction
. Now do this illustrated worksheet on coordinating conjunctions
Get Updates, Special Offers, and English Resources