Types of Conjunction

A conjunction is a word that joins words, clauses, phrases or sentences. e.g. but, and, or, nor, yet for, so, although, since, because, unless, when, where, while, etc.

There are three major types of conjunctions:

  1. Coordinating Conjunction
  2. Subordinating Conjunction
  3. Correlative Conjunction

  Coordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases or clauses having similar grammatical structure.

A coordinating conjunction is also called a coordinator, which are ‘but, and, or, so, nor, yet, for’.

It joins the following:

  • Word + Word
  • Phrase + Phrase
  • Clause + Clause

Read the following example, the underlined parts are the words, phrases and clauses joined by the coordinating conjunction such as ‘and, or, but’

He bought a book and a pen.                                                      (two words)
I forgot to bring my laptop and camera.                              (two word)
You may meet me at my home or at my office.                (two phrases)
He always sits in the library or in the classroom.           (two phrases)
I waited for him but he didn’t come.                                       (two clauses)
She requested him for help but he didn’t help her.        (two clauses)

It can be seen in the above examples, the words, phrases and clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions, in each sentence, are of similar grammatical nature.

  Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction joins a subordinate (dependent) clause to a main (independent) clause.

A subordinating conjunction is also called subordinator, which are ‘although, because, before,  if, how, since, once,  till, until, where, when ,whenever,  whether, after, while,  no matter how, provided that, as soon as, even if’

  • Main Clause + Subordinate Clause
  • Subordinate Clause + Main Clause. 

A main clause is a group of words having a subject and a verb. A main clause can stand alone as a sentence because it can give complete meaning. On the other hand, the subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a sentence as it does not give complete meaning. It depends on main clause to give complete meaning.

The subordinate clause starts with subordinating conjunctions as shown by the underlined words in the following examples.

The parts of following sentences in red color are main clauses. The part of sentence in blue color are subordinate clauses.


You will succeed in life provided that you think optimistically.
We went to zoo where we saw an elephant.
I will help whenever you need my help.
All the shops were closed because it was late.
It makes me happy when you laugh.
I will not tell him the secret even if he insists a lot.
Although It is raining, it is too hot today.
As far as I know, he is a very nice person.
If you avoid sugary foods, you will lose your weight.

  Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are paired words. It joins words, phrases or clauses having reciprocal or complementary relationship.

The common correlative conjunctions are as follows:

  • Either …. or
  • Neither .… nor
  • Whether.… or 
  • Both …. and
  • Not only .… but also 


He may buy either a laptop or a camera.
She likes neither tea nor coffee.
Both the pink and the blue are nice colors. 
She is interested not only in singing but also in games.
You will find him either in the library or in the classroom.