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1. Coordinating Conjunctions

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BOYFANS

We have seven coordinating conjunctions, and you can remember them by referring to the acronym BOYFANS.

B O Y F A N S
But Or Yet For And Nor So

These conjunctions join words, phrases, or clauses. As we’ll discuss more fully below, when you use them, you must make absolutely certain each element in the series (of words, phrases, or clauses) is grammatically equal to all other elements in the same series. They must be grammatically equal not only in function but in form. We call this requirement the rule of parallel construction and explore it in detail in the eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style.

Let’s see how coordinating conjunctions enable us to expand the types of sentences we can build.

Structures Joined Conjunction Example
Two sentences and John hit the ball, and he ran to first base.
Two dependent that clauses and The book that you enjoyed and that won the award has finally arrived at the store.
Two adverbial clauses and He enjoyed the movie because his favorite actor starred and because the special effects required computer technology.
Three prepositional phrases but John hit the ball over the pitcher’s head, between the legs of the short stop, but into the waiting glove of the outfielder.
Two subjects and Lincoln and Jefferson rank among our greatest presidents.
Two verbs but Lucy waited for two hours but then decided to leave.
Two direct objects or Natalie wants the apple or the orange.

 

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