Conjunction – Definition, Types and Examples | Grammar

Definition of Conjunction

Conjunctions are such kinds of words that are used to connect two or more words, phrases, or clauses and sentences. 

You’d have to explain every complicated topic in a set of short, simple words if you didn’t have conjunctions. Conjunctions allow you to create complex, elegant phrases without the choppiness that many short sentences may cause.

For example:

 I enjoy food. I enjoy sharing it. I dislike making food.

But when you use proper conjunctions, the above expressions will be like that:

I enjoy food and sharing it, but dislike making it. Doesn’t this sound good? Of course, yes.

Confirm to see that the phrases connected by conjunctions are parallel (share the same structure).

Incorrect: He could solve the problem quickly and easy.

Correct: He could solve the problem quickly and easily.

Types of Conjunctions

Conjunctions are mainly divided into two types- 

  1. Co-ordinating Conjunctions 
  2. Subordinating Conjunctions

1. Co-ordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction connects grammatically equal or similar parts of a phrase (for example, words or separate clauses). A co-ordinating conjunction indicates that the components it connects have a similar priority and structure.

Co-ordinating conjunctions are again of four types:

(i) Cumulative or Copulative 

(ii) Adversative

(iii) Alternative

(iv) Illative

(i) Cumulative or Copulative Conjunctions

Definition : The conjunctions that combine one statement with another statement are called Cumulative or Copulative Conjunctions. 

And, both …. and, as well as, no less than, not only … but also etc. are examples of Cumulative Conjunction. 

  •  And : The king died and his son became the next king.
  • Both….and : I both love and respect all my teachers.
  • As well as : He as well as his parents were invited to this ceremony.
  • Not only… but also : Women not only like dresses but also jewellery.
  • No less than : Tom, no less than his father, is an intelligent man.
Note:  Learn two different uses of and in the first two sentences. Notice in the fourth and sixth sentences that the Number and Person of the Verb should be determined according to the Number and Person of the Subject before as well as, no less than.

(ii) Adversative Conjunctions

Definition : The conjunctions that express the opposite inherent between two sentences are called Adversative Conjunctions.

       The conjunctions – but, only, whereas, nevertheless, on the contrary, however, still, yet are the examples of Adversative Conjunctions.

  • But : He tried hard to recover but he failed.
  • Only : I would help you, only I am too busy. 
  • Whereas : The rich are wasting money for luxury, whereas the poor are dying of hunger.
  • Nevertheless : Everybody insulted me, nevertheless, I did not lose hope. 
  • On the contrary : The king did not run away from the battlefield, on the contrary, he fought it out to the end.
  • However : He was very much poor however he helped the beggar. 
  • Still : The incident was very shocking, still he did not complain.
  • Yet : India played well yet they were defeated. 
Note: Sometimes Conjunctions are used as Pronouns.Such as – but

(iii) Alternative Conjunctions

Definition :The conjunctions that express a choice between two statements are called Alternative Conjunctions.

        Or, either… or, nor, neither… nor, else, otherwise are examples of such kind of conjunctions. 

  • Or : Do or die.
  • Either… or : Either my sister or I must join the party. 
  • Nor : I shall not talk to him, nor even his father. 
  • Neither… nor : She could neither protest nor say anything. 
  • Else : Run, else you will lose the game. 
  • Otherwise : Hurry up, otherwise you will be late. 

(iv) Illative Conjunctions

  : Conjunctions that take a statement from one statement to another are called Illative Conjunctions. 

       The conjunctions – for, so, therefore, then are the examples of Illative Conjunctions. 

  • For: The weather is cool now, for it is raining.
  • So: Mr Sen is physically fit, so he does not feel laziness.
  • Therefore: The man is not honest, therefore you should not deal with him. 
  • Then: I see, then, we should start at once. 
Smartobey TIP : If the sentence is long, you have to place a comma or semicolon before for

2. Subordinating Conjunctions

To understand the Subordinating Conjunction at first, look at the following sentence:

We eat that we may live. 

The above sentence is formed by joining two sentences: 

          (a) We eat, (b) that we may live. 

The first sentence alone can reveal its full meaning. Such an independent sentence within a sentence is called the principal clause. But the second sentence ‘that we may live’ can’t express it’s meaning alone, it has to depend on the first sentence for meaning. The second sentence is added to the first sentence only to describe the first sentence in more detail. That means the second sentence helps the first one depending on it. The phrase under such a basic phrase is called a Subordinate Clause. In this case, the word ‘that’ has joined the Subordinate Clause with the Principal Clause. So, ‘that’ is called here ‘Subordinating Conjunction’. 

Definition : The word that join Principal Clause with Subordinate Clause is called Subordinating Conjunction. 

There are 10 types of Subordinating Conjunction according to their meaning:

i. Time Indicator Conjunctions

Till, until, before, as, after, when, since, as long as, as soon as are the Subordinating conjunctions that indicate time. But since can be a cause indicator sometimes. 

  • Till: Wait till he arrives. 
  • Until: I shall read the story until it is complete. 
  • Before: I lived in this village from before she was born. 
  • As: Jack trembled as he spoke. 
  • After: The police came after the robbers had escaped. 
  • When: I left for college when he returned. 
  • Since: What have you been doing since the last three months? 
  • As long as: Stay here as long as you like. 
  • As soon as: The journey started as soon as I reached there. 

ii. Cause Indicator Conjunctions

The conjunctions – because, since, as etc. are used to indicate any reason or cause.

  • Since: I dislike him since he is not good.
  • As: As it is raining,I shall not go out to play.
  • Because: I didn’t go to school because I was sick.

iii. Purpose Indicator Conjunctions

The following Subordinating Conjunctions are used to indicate any purpose of work. 

  • That: I work that I may earn a living.
  • So that: I study regularly so that I can score better.
  • In order that: Anjali took medicine in order that he might get well.
  • Lest: I ran away lest I should fall into danger.
Note: Lest is usually followed by should.

iv. Result Indicator Conjunctions:

  • That: You lie so often that nobody believes you. 

In the above sentence, ‘that’ is Result Indicator Subordinating Conjunction. 

v. Condition Indicator Conjunctions

The following Subordinating Conjunctions are used to indicate any condition. 

  • Unless: You will fail unless you study regularly. 
  • If: You will die if you take poison. 
  • Whether: Ask her whether she 

loves me or not. 

  • Provided/provided that: He was allowed to go out provided (or, provided that) he would return. 

vi. Manner or extent Indicator Conjunctions:

The conjunctions – as, so far as, according as etc. are used to indicate a manner or extent. 

  • As: It happened exactly as (=in what manner) I told you. 
  • So far as: This is not true, so far as (=to that) I can see. 
  • According as: You will be praised or criticized according as (=to extent that) your work is good or bad. 

vii. Comparison Indicator Conjunctions: 

As….as, So….as, than are the Subordinating Conjunctions that indicate comparison. 

  • As….as: The ripe mango is as sweet as sugar. 
  • So….as: This mango is not so sweet as sugar. 
  • Than: You are taller than me. 

viii. Contrast Indicator Conjunctions: 

Though, although, as, however, notwithstanding are the Subordinating Conjunctions that indicate a contrast between two statements. 

  • Though: He finished first though he began late. 
  • Although: Although it was raining, the man went out without an umbrella. 
  • As: Rich as he is, he is not happy. 
  • However: He will never recover, however he gets treatment. 
  • Notwithstanding: I was not refreshed, notwithstanding (the fact that) I slept long. 

ix. Concession Indicator Conjunctions

  • Though: You are intelligent, though not hard-working. 
  • Although: Although he is honest, he is happy. 

x. Apposition Indicator Conjunctions

  • That: Nick promised me that he would help me. 

In the about sentence, the Subordinate Conjunction is indicating the next Subordinate clause. 



  • He was both flogged and fined.
  • Both money and peace of mind are necessary for human life.


  • Either my father or my mother will go to the market tomorrow.
  • The man is either a monk or a devil.


  • The dress is neither red nor pink.
  • Daina is neither educated nor a good housekeeper.


  • Though he is poor, yet he is very honest.
  • Though Sourav Ganguly is mainly a batsman, yet he can bowl well.


  • I do not know whether she loves me or not.
  • You must do it whether you like it or not. 

Not only….but(or, but also)

  • She is not only intelligent but also brave.
  • Not only, you but all the people love their motherland.

The same….as

  • This is the same pencil box as I lost the other day.
  • Your dress is the same kind as mine.

Other….than, else….than (or, but)

  • I have no other friend than you.
  • I have none else than (or, but) you to call my own. 


  • He would rather die of hunger than beg.
  • My father would rather resign than act against his morals. 


  • The movie was not so m as I thought it would be.
  • He was so kind as to invite me to his house.


  • Jeet is not such a fool as he seems to be.
  • His injury was such as to cause death.

So….that, such….that

  • He was so weak that he could not walk.
  • Such was his bad luck that even his family left him.


  • As you sow, so shall you reap.
  • As you are tired, you had better rest a while.
Note: If as means ‘because’ then so is not used.
  • No sooner had I started than it began to rain.
  • Hardly (scarcely) had we reached home before (or, when) it began to rain.
Smartobey TIP: (i) The meaning of the four phrases – no sooner….than, hardly….before or when, scarcely….when, scarcely….before is the same.
(ii) In those sentences that contain Hardly … before, No sooner … than, Scarcely … when, etc., their subjects are placed after the auxiliary verb to emphasize the sentence.

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