English,  Uncategorized

Teaching Kids About Conjunctions

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” Schoolhouse Rock songs like that one have been in my head since I was a kid. But what IS a conjunction? What IS its function? Understanding the different types of conjunctions and how they function to join words, phrases, and clauses together is important when it comes to being a fluid writer or teaching your own child to become one. Here are the three, maybe four (I’ll explain), types of conjunctions: 

Coordinating Conjunctions→ For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So are the coordinating conjunctions. These can be memorized with the acronym FANBOYS. They are used to join words, phrases, or clauses together and are the most commonly used conjunctions. 

~Words: Hansel and Gretel went up the hill. 

~Phrases: The evil witch lives over the river and through the woods.

~Clauses: Gretel followed the bread trail back home, and her brother Hansel went with her.

Notice I only used a comma before “and” when it joined two complete sentences (independent clauses) together. You also will use a comma before these when listing: 

~Hansel, Gretel, and the evil witch became friends for a short time.

For more on these, click here: https://www.chompchomp.com/terms/coordinatingconjunction.htm

Subordinating Conjunctions→ Subordinating means dependent, so it makes sense that these conjunctions start subordinating (dependent) clauses. It is best to familiarize yourself with these. Then, you can identify them easily. Click here for a complete list:

Here are some examples of ways they can be written in sentences. Notice one uses a comma and one does not:

~Since the story of Hansel and Gretel scared my child, I will not read it to her again. (comma needed because the subordinating clause begins the sentence)

~I will not read Hansel and Gretel to my child again since it scared her. (no comma because the subordinating clause did not come at the beginning of the sentence)

Correlative Conjunctions→ Here’s a list of these so that you can recognize them or use them in sentences:

They are not hard to grasp. Here’s an example:

~Not only did Hansel fear the evil witch but also Gretel feared her as well. 

Conjunctive Adverbs→ These imposters look like conjunctions and even act like conjunctions, but they actually are adverbs. They are used for transition in writing. I will still go over them here with conjunctions because people confuse these with subordinating conjunctions all the time and cause many major grammar errors to occur in their writing. Like subordinating conjunctions, familiarize yourself with these first. If you aren’t sure if it’s one or the other, look it up before writing the word in the sentence:


Here are some ways to use conjunctive adverbs:

~My son, however, likes the story of Hansel and Gretel. 

~My daughter is afraid of the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel. However, my son is not. (good)

~My daughter is afraid of the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel; however, my son is not. (better)

I hope this helps you understand conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs. Knowing how to use these correctly will prevent run-ons and fragments as well as many other grammar errors in writing. As always, I am happy to answer any questions you have. Just post them in the comments below.

Schoolhouse Rock Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPoBE-E8VOc


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