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Contrast words and subordinating conjunctions both work on linking parts of a sentence together. They are similar, yet so different. And that is exactly what will be discussed in this article.

In this article we will learn:

  • The definition of conjunctions and why they are important;
  • Detailed definitions of coordinating conjunctions;
  • The definition of correlative conjunctions;
  • In-depth guide of subordinating conjunctions;
  • Tips and tricks for using different types of conjunction words.

Let’s begin.

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What Are Conjunctions in English and Why Are They Important?

Conjunction connects words or phrases, dependent clauses, and phrases together to give them a better meaning. Basically, conjunctions allow you to form complex sentences elegantly without the need to deal with multiple short simple sentences.

Without conjunctions, you will end up forming your idea in a forced, unflattering way. For instance, you would say ‘I love eating. I don’t like to cook.’

Thanks to conjunction words, you can easily transform that idea to ‘I love eating but I don’t like to cook’

See? One simple word made the sentence a lot more understandable and smooth.

man writing with a feather pen

Coordinating Conjunctions: Detailed Definition and Examples

The coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases and clauses. However, both parts to be linked need to make sense on their own. For instance:

I was very sick. I still went to school.

You can add the coordinating conjunction ‘but’ between both clauses to form the following sentence:

I was very sick but I still went to school.

The most common coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. If you are having trouble remembering them, you can use the mnemonic device FANBOYS.


  • My cat cleans herself all the time but hates to take baths.
  • You can eat this meal using a spoon or fork.
  • I was exhausted, yet I couldn’t sleep last night.
  • I hate to waste gas, for it is insanely expensive this week.
  • She ordered a pizza and a glass of wine.

Correlative Conjunctions: What Are They? Useful Examples

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunction words that work together to link clauses or words that have equal importance within a sentence, like not / but also. Basically, correlative conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions linked to an adverb or objective.

Here is a list of the most common Correlative Conjunctions:

  • either…or
  • not only…but (also)
  • neither…nor
  • both…and
  • whether…or
  • just as…so
  • the…the
  • as…as
  • as much…as
  • no sooner…than
  • rather…than


  • Not only was I able to sleep all night, but I also had a great dream that woke me up in a wonderful mood.
  • Marry will eat either vegetables or fruits for lunch.
  • I like neither coffee nor milk.
  • Do you care whether we go to the movies or the club for our date?
  • He is both handsome and intelligent.

Subordinating Conjunctions: In-Depth Guide and Examples

Subordinating conjunctions are essential for complex sentences that include at least two clauses, with one of the clauses being main (independent) and the other being subordinate (dependent). Technically, the subordinating kind of conjunctions provide a link between two ideas in a sentence.

Moreover, subordinate conjunction join two roles within a sentence:

  • First, it illustrates the importance of the independent clause. In these cases, the clause containing the subordinating conjunction is the less important clause.
  • Second, it provides a transition between two ideas in the same sentence. The transition always indicates a place, time, or cause, effect relationship, and more.


  • As I was walking to the library, I realized I had forgotten my library card. (forgetting my library card > walking to the library)
  • She begins sneezing whenever there is pollen in the air. (sneezing > smelling pollen being in the air)
  • Let me know if I can help you.

Other subordinating conjunctions include where, unless, although, when, while, before, after, until, and since.


  • Whenever a subordinate clause precedes the main clause, you punctuate it with a comma.
  • When she arrived, she immediately took off her wet boots.
  • Not sure if you have a subordinating conjunction? Try moving the sentence around and see if it still makes sense.
  • He got into an accident after the driver cut him off.
  • After the driver cut him off, he got into an accident.
Subordinate Conjunctions
Rather than
As much as
As soon as
Now that
Even though
You have a better accent than my little brother’s accent.

I will travel whether it rains or not.

I love my pets as much as I love my kids.
I will pick you up after I finish my errands.

Whenever I travel, I forget to take pictures.

Now that you live here, we can meet every day.
Although the house is small, it is very beautiful.

Though it was snowing, I had to come here.

They still love each other, even though they are old.
Relative PronounsReasonCondition
So that
In order to
Only if
Provided that
Assuming that
Whoever broke the vase, needs to replace it.

The person who cares for animals must be protected at all costs.

She is the girl whom I met in Germany.
I love to read novels because they broaden my imagination.

Since I am not allowed to say anything, you will not make me say.

You have to go to the gym in order to stay fit.
I will go to practice only if you go, too.

Unless they called, I will not join their dinner party.

Assuming that I graduated, what will you get me?
PlaceRelative AdjectivesManner
As though
As if
Wherever my kids go, I will be there.

I can’t remember where I hid my ring.

You make great friends wherever you travel to.
I live in the house that my grandparents built.

I will do whatever you want me to.

She is wearing the outfit which she sewed herself.
Joe taught me how to play the guitar.

As though we are not the same age, we get along perfectly.

The painting looks as if it is real life.

Important Tips and Tricks for Using Conjunctions Words in English

Tip #1: Correlative Conjunctions

When conjunction words are used as correlatives, make sure that each correlated word is placed immediately before the words to be connected.

  • He not only visited Italy but also Greece. >> Incorrect.
  • He visited not only Italy but also Greece. >> Correct.

Tip #2: Preposition and Conjunction

It is important to remember that prepositions cannot be used to link two clauses because they should be followed by a noun or noun equivalent that acts as its object. Also, there are words that work both conjunctions and prepositions.

  • The cat ran after the mouse. >> ‘after’ is a preposition here.
  • Mary came after David had left. >> ‘after’ is a conjunction here.

Tip #3: Coordinating Conjunctions

Except for ‘or’ and ‘nor’, every coordinating conjunction can be forgotten and replaced by a comma, colon, or semicolon.

  • He went to work but I stayed home. >> ‘But’ is the coordinating conjunction.
  • He went to work; I stayed home. >> ‘but’ was replaced by ‘;’ mark.

Tip #4: Since

When the word ‘since’ means “from”, then should be followed by a verb in the simple past tense and preceded by a verb in the present perfect tense. All of this change when the word changes its meaning to ‘because’

  • You have changed impressively since the last time I saw you. >> From.
  • Since I don’t come here often, I want to take many pictures. >> Because.

Tip #5: Yet

We use ‘yet’ as a conjunction when we want to highlight the word and achieve a stronger effect.

I have been following a diet, yet I didn’t lose any weight.

We use ‘yet’ as an adverb to talk about questioning times with negative meanings, up till now, etc.

  • Are the guests up yet?
  • Don’t touch the walls, they are not dry yet.

Conjunctive Adverbs

A conjunctive adverb’s purpose is to connect two independent sentences or clauses. We know that adverbs describe other verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Conjunctive adverbs, however, describe two independent clauses and connect them together, and act more like coordinating conjunctions.

Here is a list of conjunctive adverbs:

  • Accordingly
  • Again
  • All in all
  • Anyway
  • Indeed
  • Besides
  • Otherwise
  • However


  • You must study for your exams, otherwise, you will not graduate.
  • I will deep clean the house, next, I will take a long, warm shower to relax.
  • We were supposed to sleep early tonight, however, we ended up going dancing.
  • My daughter is in her ballet class, meanwhile, my son is playing football at his school.
  • Indeed I will go to the concert, I have been waiting for the band to come here for so long.

Contrast Words

Some common contrast words in English include though, however, and but. These are words that show comparison or contrast of two ideas. They can also be used to emphasize positive or negative ideas.

Though and however can also be placed at the end of a sentence, but but cannot be. When either of these two words are placed at the end of a sentence, it makes the complete sentence seem more like an afterthought rather than a part of the original thought.


  • I want to buy some candy, but my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy; however, my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy. My father does not want me to buy any, however.
  • I want to buy some candy, though my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy. My father does not want me to buy any, though.
  • Other contrast words include nonetheless, yet, otherwise, nevertheless, and notwithstanding.


Some contrast words can be interchanged for one another with an extremely similar meaning.

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