- Linking by co-ordination
- Linking by subordination
When I arrived at their house, the big dog, which was called Rover, was barking loudly because it was lonely.
Conjunctions link parts of a sentence either by co-ordination or by subordination.
|co-ordination||We played badly||and||it was raining.|
|subordination||We played badly||because||it was raining.|
Linking by co-ordination
The house looked good and the sun was shining.
In co-ordination, the conjunction must stand between the linked items:
The sun was shining and the house looked good.
But not: And the sun was shining, the house looked good.
Conjunctions linking by co-ordination:
And, or, but (and perhaps: so, then) are co-ordinating conjunctions.
- Coordinating conjunctions can link words, phrases and clauses, while subordinating conjunctions only apply to clauses. The only restriction is that the linked items should be similar.
Coordinated clauses: The house looked good but it was raining.
Coordinating conjunctions give less information than subordinating conjunctions.
Linking by subordination
In subordination the conjunction must move around with the subordinate clause, or else the meaning will be changed:
Because it had been painted, the house looked good.
But not: The house had been painted because it looked good.
Conjunctions linking by subordination:
Subordinating conjunctions link clauses.
- similarity and contrast
if, unless, provided
Self-assessment on conjunctions
[2016 note: unfortunately the links no longer work, but you may find the exercise useful even without the answers.]
In the following passage pick out all the conjunctions (ignoring the distractors) and decide whether they are subordinating or co-ordinating conjunctions.
When I was seven years old, my great-auntie asked me if I would like to start playing the piano. For many years before that, when I used to visit her, I‘d go into her front room and play her grand-piano; just messing around and making up tunes. Although she was seventy eight at the time, she was marvellous for her age. She’d play the organ at many weddings and every Sunday at Brynna church. She was a well-known, popular woman.