Connector (Conjunctions) Overview 

Express relationship between sentence parts

windy
 

 

Connector Chart

COORDINATORS SUBORDINATORS PREPOSITIONS LINKING ADVERBS / TRANSITIONS

A coordinator joins two coordinates —words, phrases or clauses. The coordinator is placed between the like structures with a comma placed before the coordinator.  A coordinator may also begin a sentence¹.

A subordinator signals or marks a phrase or clause as subordinate to the main clause. The subordinator itself does not have a meaning. It serves to connect content information.

A preposition as the head of an adjunct prepositional phrase connects a subordinate structure. Unlike a subordinator, a preposition carries meaning, and depending on its meaning may take a noun phrase, a clause, or a variety of other complements.

A linking adverb expresses a relationship between two clauses and transitions the reader or listener from the main idea in one clause to the idea in the next clause. (conjunctive adverbs, connective adverbs or transition words)

It was cold, and the wind was blowing. (different subjects)

He opened his umbrella, but the wind blew it backwards.

Did he take an umbrella, or did he wear his raincoat?

He took neither an umbrella nor a raincoat.

 

He said that it was raining.

He thinks (that) we need rain.

It is so windy that it blew me over.

We like to walk in the rain.

He wishes (for) us to bring a coat.

He asked if I needed an umbrella.

Though it was raining, he continued walking.

He walked though it was raining. 

Besides being windy, it was rainy.

The wind was strong besides being cold.
 

He opened his umbrella. However, the wind blew it away.

It was windy and cold. Moreover, it was raining. 

His umbrella blew away in the wind. Otherwise, he would have used it.

In addition, it was windy and cold.

*It was raining, so he opened his umbrella.

NO MEANING      

 

that (declarative)

if, whether (interrogative)

to (infinitival),

for (infinitive subj)

 

 

ADDITION      

and, also, and also

both...and, not only ...also, not only ... but also, and...too, and so

 

 

besides, in addition to

in addition, furthermore, moreover, additionally, besides, firstly, secondly, next, finally

ALTERNATIVE      

or, nor, either...or, neither...nor, X rather than Y

 

prefer X to Y, would rather…or, rather than(2)

instead, as an alternative, otherwise, rather 

CAUSE-EFFECT / REASON      

*so, *for (see "linking adverb")

 

because, since, now that, as, in order, as long as, inasmuch, because of, due to, owing to, so that, in order that, if only because

so (reason), for (purpose)

therefore, consequently, as a consequence, as a result, thus, hence, accordingly

COMPARISON      

 

 

as (like),as…as, same as, so…as, such…as, such as, similar to, equal to/with, identical to/with, -er than, more than, less than, rather than, prefer…to, superior to, inferior to, different from/to/than.

In the same way, Similarly, In contrast, Unlike X, Y

 

CONDITION      

or else

 

if, only if, unless, even if, whether,   whether or not,   provided (that),   in case,   in the event (that) 

otherwise, in the event (that), anyway, anyhow

CONTRARY CAUSE-EFFECT      

but, but still, but anyway

*yet (see "linking adverb")

 

although, even though, though, while, whereas, despitein spite of, regardless of

yet, nevertheless, nonetheless, however, on the one hand, on the other hand, in contrast to, in contrast, on the contrary

EMPHASIS      

 

so...that (Adv-Subord)

such...that (Adj-Subord)

 

indeed, in fact, of course, certainly

 

PLACE      

 

 

where, wherever 

There, Here, In this location,

TIME      

 

 

after, before, when, while, since, as, until, as soon as, by the time, once

first, second, next, then, finally, previously, now, presently, next, still, meanwhile, subsequently, afterward

 

¹ Beginning a sentence with and, so or but (comments by Fowler, Merriam-Webster and other grammarians.)

*A subordinator is a marker. A preposition is not analyzed as a marker but as an integral part (the head) of the prepositional phrase.  See terms below.

Also see Adverb Uses (an overview of adverbs and adverbials) 

 

 

 

 

 

Connectors

Terms

 

 

A connector: 

  • is a general term for a connective word that joins a word, phrase or a clause to the main clause.  In traditional grammar, this is called a "conjunction".
  • takes form as a coordinator (and, but, or) or a subordinator  (that, whether, if, to, for ), or a preposition in a adjunct prepositional phrase (e.g., because, though, before, after, since, when, if [conditional], unless, as, than).
Coordinate Clause

A coordinator:

  • expresses a meaning of addition, contrast or option/alternative.
  • functions as a marker that coordinates like (same kind or equal) elements or structures—two noun phrases, verb phrases, clauses and so on.
  • takes form as: and (addition), but (contrast), or (option/alternative).  The connectives for (reason), so (result), and yet (concession) share properties of both coordinators and subordinators. While some grammar systems include for ( reason), so (result), yet (concession) in the category of coordinators, other grammar systems place for, so, and yet  with linking adverbs
subord clause

A subordinator: 

  • expresses no meaning of its own; that is, it has a grammatical function rather than a lexical (word) meaning.
  • functions as a marker that subordinates a clause to the main clause. 
  • takes form as:
    • that before a declarative clause; She says that she likes walking. She says [*just] that she likes walking.  Note that is often omitted in informal speech before commonly used verbs such as said, think, know, believe.
    • whether or if before a  yes-no question (closed interrogative) clause; He asked [whether/if we could go with him tomorrow.]
    • to before a bare form verb in an infinitival clause;  She wishes to [walk tomorrow.]  Nonfinite Clause Kinds
    • for before a noun or accusative (obj) pronoun before an infinitival clause;  She wishes for [us to [walk tomorrow.]] Infinitive Cls w/Subj
prep phrase

An adjunct prepositional phrase:

  • expresses additional information about the main clause.
  • functions as an adjunct to the main clause (It adds nonessential information, is not required for the main clause to make sense.)
  • takes form as
    • a preposition that heads the prepositional phrase and carries meaning as the primary element of the phrase.
    • a complement clause that completes the meaning of the preposition —reason (because, since, as); concession (though, despite); purpose (in order, so that), or timing (after, before, when, while, until) or a condition (if , unless); and may include a focusing adverb before the head preposition (e.g.,only, just, mostly, precisely, especially). He likes walking just because it is good for him. 
prep phrase

Other "heads" that join subordinate clauses

  • A comparative expression with as, than, of, from or to is a paired expression with an adjective/adverb phrase followed by a prepositional phrase. (The dog walks faster than we do. He walks as fast as I walk. He walks the fastest of us all. He walks a different route from us / than we do. His route is similar to our route.) 
  • A conditional expression with if or unless is an expression with a main clause expressing a situation, possibly including an "irrealis" verb form (were, knew, walked), followed by a preposition (if, unless) whose complement is a clause expressing the condition.  We walk if we have time.
  • An embedded interrogative clause with who, whom, what, where, why, when, or how is also a clause joined with an interrogative pronoun (wh-word) as the head of the subordinate clause. → She told me [who is coming]  (subject); She asked me [where/when/why we walked] (object).  Note that because the pronoun is the head of the clause (carries meaning and is part of the clause), it can be modified: She asked precisely where we walked.

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Terms in Various Grammar Systems

(Advanced)

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION
COORDINATORS COORDINATORS

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

conjunctions "connects words or phrases that have the same grammatical function in a sentence. This use of conjunctions is called 'parallel structure'. " —  (Azar 16-1) coordinating conjunctions " And and but are often used to connect two independent clauses. " (Azar et al. 16-4)

 

and, or, but, nor
coordinator   (Huddleston 4.2.2, 15-2.2)
coordinators. coordinating conjunction (Biber 2.4.7)
coordinators (and, or, but, for) (Quirk 13.5-10)

for, only and so+that   "borderline connectors" / prepositions (Huddleston 15 §2.11)
yet, but…still, but…anyway
adjunct of concession.coordinator  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);
conjunction (Swan 49) ;

 

PAIRED SUBORDINATORS PAIRED COORDINATORS

both…and, not only…but also, either…or, neither…nor   

paired conjunctions:  "The same grammatical form should follow each part of the paired conjunctions. " — (Azar 16-3)

both…and, not only…but also, either…or, neither…nor 
Focusing adverbs. (Huddleston et al. 6.7.3, 15.2.4)  (Swan 24.6)
Correlative coordinators. (Biber 2.4.7.1)
Focusing subjuncts. (Quirk 8.116)

 

SUBORDINATORS SUBORDINATORS / SUBORDINATING PREPS

after, because, though, if
adverb clauses (Azar 17.3-11)

 

 

 

yet, so
connective adverbs (Huddleston 15 §2.10)
linking adverb (Biber 887
subordinator (Quirk 2.4.7.2)

after, as, as soon as, before, once, since while
— temporal adjunct.preposition (Huddleston et al. 7.2.4, 8.63, 11.8)
conjunction (Swan 29.1.1, 30.1, 510) and  (Quirk 8.53)

because, as, since, inasmuch as
cause-effect adjunct.preposition (Huddleston et al. 8 12.3)
conjunction (Swan 94, 72) "subordinating conjunction" (Biber 2.4.8)
adverbial clause. reason (Quirk 15.45)

though, even though, although
prepositions.concessive adjuncts  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);"
conjunctions (Swan 49.1) 
circumstance adverbial. concession.subordinator (Biber 10.2.8.9-11);
adverbial clause (Quirk 15.39-40) 

even so, nevertheless, nonetheless, despite, regardless of, in spite of
— prepositions.concessive adjuncts  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);
discourse markers. (Swan 157.2)

if, unless
condition adjunct.preposition    (Huddleston 8 §14.1-3)
adverb "circumstance adverbial:Contingency " (Biber 10.2, 10.2.1.4)
conjunction (Swan 257) 
adverbial clause (Quirk 15.39,15.41-2)

after, before, since, when, while 
temporal location adjuncts.prepositions  (Huddleston 8 §6.3;697)
conjunctions (Swan 29.1, 30.1, 73, 97, 411.6, 510)
subordinator.adverbial clause (Biber 2.4.7.5)
subordinator. adverbial clause (Quirk 8.53, 15.28)

(See Grammar Notes on individual pages for details.)

that
—declarative subordinator He said that it was cold. (Hudddleston 11 §4.2-5)
whether, if
—interrogative subordinator He asked whether/ if it was cold.

 

TRANSITION WORDS TRANSITION WORDS

moreover, however, otherwise
Connectives "transitions", "conjunctive adverbs", "Transitions connect the ideas of two sentences. They are used most commonly in formal written English and rarely in spoken English.  A transition occurs in the second of two related sentences."  (Azar 19-2) 

 

so, yet, however
connective adverb (yet, however) (Huddleston 6 §6,15 §2.9-10)
contrastive.linking adverb. (Biber  2.3.4, 7.14.3, 10.4.3.1)
adverb (Swan 49.3)

then, next, besides, anyway, suddenly, however, moreover, however, otherwise
connective adjuncts (Huddleston 8 §19-20)
connective adverb (Swan  22.1) discourse markers. (Swan 157.1-21)
linking adverbs. (Biber 10.4)
conjuncts. (Quirk 8.137)

 

Major changes: Many words that were analyzed as  Adverb (category) have been reassigned to the category Preposition. "We count as prepositions words that take other kinds of complement than NPs, and we also include in the preposition category some words that occur without complement.  i. According to Mary, we have no chance of winning. ii. The basket is outside. (Huddleston et al. 6.5.1)   The traditional category of "subordinating conjunctions" reanalyzed as prepositions (PP) with a content clause as the complement  (Huddleston 11.8.1)

CATEGORIES:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective
FUNCTIONS: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complements: (elements required by verb) Object, Indirect Object, Predicative Complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj, Adv

 

 Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

A Windy Walk

San Francisco Embarcadero walkway
 

Read the Context

Mid-day we walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco though a cold wind whips our hair across our faces. Clouds move across the sky and at times hide the bridge towers. We talk while we walk. We try to let go of our thoughts about work yet they creep into our conversation. We have just an hour to walk before returning to our offices. This is why we live here, isn't it? Because we love the view of the bay and the smell of the saltwater, we endure the traffic and the crowds. 

As we count our steps and watch the time, we pass by sculptures and artwork along the walkway. In the distance, barking sea lions on the boat docks are begging for fish, but nobody is paying attention to them. We turn back and quicken our pace in order to return to work on time.

Sitting back down in our offices, we are bothered by neither co-workers nor bosses; our minds are still filled with views of the bay and the smell of the sea air.

GLOSSARY   

bark (V) — the sound a dog makes

beg (V) — ask for something as a gift, free, charity

creep (V) — move in a quiet, careful way, especially to avoid attracting attention

embarcadero (N) — a roadway or walkway along the waterfront

endure (V) — be in a difficult or painful situation for a long time without complaining

contrary (Adj) — when the idea in one clause is opposite in expectation, opinion, or action to that in the second clause

 

dock (N) — wooden walkway where boats are tied up; a boat landing pier

pace (V) — rate or speed of walking

sculpture (N) — three-dimensional (3-D) art; an object made out of stone, wood, clay, or some other material by an artist

view (N) — sight

whips (V) — strike with a lash or rod, usually as punishment

 

 

 

Identify the connector.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.
Mid-day we walk along the Embarcadero in San Francis though a cold wind whips our hair across our faces.

The connector expresses
2.
3.


When / While
4.
5.
6.


Cause & Effect
7.
8.


But / But still
9.
10.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

A Day on the Bay

sailing
 

 

Complete the sentence with a logical connector.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

11.


  Because/ Though
12.
13.


Adverbs of Condition
14.


Because/ Though 
15.


Condition
16.


Condition
17.


novice
(N) – new member, a learner


Contrasts
18.


Because/Though
19.


If/In Case
20.


close calls – near collisions


Because/ Though  Noun Phrases 
21.


Because/ Though
22.


Because/ Though
23.


Because/ Though
24.
25.


If/Unless  Indeed/Even 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

"The Spirit of the Sea"  

Vaka Canoe of Ancestors

(Advanced)

 

 

Read the Context

Six "vaka moana" canoes arrived in San Francisco this morning _____ sailing across the Pacific from New Zealand to the Hawaiian Islands and to mainland U.S.   _____ the 15,00 mile ocean journey, the canoes arrived safely.

They are participating in the voyage "Te Mana o Te Moana" which translates to "The Spirit of the Sea".  This voyage was made _____ they wanted to raise awareness about the state of the ocean and to share the wisdom of the Polynesian ancestors who loved and respected the sea. "We are all in one canoe," they said. 

The canoes, each about 70 feet long, carry a crew of 16 sailors from_____ Tonga _____ the Cook Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu.  More than 150 crew members are participating in the voyage, which began in April in Auckland, New Zealand.
_____ the canoes were built as the traditional vaka moana canoes used by the Pacific Islander ancestors, these have some modern changes. _____ the hulls (canoe bottoms) used to be made of wood, these are made of fiberglass. _____ , they have solar panels to power equipment on board.

_____ the ancient Polynesians navigated by the stars, these modern sailors have Internet, Facebook and Twitter as well.  They even have a website where you can track their progress.

The six-canoe flotilla came in through the Golden Gate a week ago and were surprised _____ the strong winds and fog in the bay.  Fortunately, the fog lifted and the winds calmed down _____ the sailors could hold an open house and give rides to visitors.

"The Pacific is our home, our breath, our future. We can only survive _____ we come together as cultures, as crew-mates, to preserve the health of our ocean planet – Our Blue Canoe."
The flotilla will continue to Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In January of 2012, the journey will continue to the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas _____ Tahiti _____ .

 

— SFGate news story   8 Aug 2011   pacificvoyagers.org  

ancestors (N) — family members who came before us (parents, grand-parents, etc.)

awareness (N) — know about the existence of something; know generally what it is

breath (N) — the air that we take into our lungs; life-giving, basic to life

crew (N) — the people who assist with sailing a boat or flying a plane

fiberglass (N) — a man-made, light weight material used in making boats and cars

flotilla (N) — a group of boats that sail together

Golden Gate Bridge (N) — a landmark bridge in San Francisco, California, USA

mainland (N) — land that is part of a continent (not an island)

navigate (V) — find which way you need to go while traveling

open house — a reception or party in which you can go in and look around

participate (V) — do an activity (with others)

sail (V) — move across the water

solar panels (N) — collectors which change the energy to the sun to battery power

track progress (expr.) — see or follow where someone is located on a travel route

Vaka Moana canoe — a traditional (old-style) Polynesian boat

voyage (N) — a long trip; a journey

 

 

 

 

Add a connector to the sentence.

  1. Edit the sentence in the text area.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 16-27" button.

 

26.
Six of the seven "vaka moana" canoes arrived in San Francisco this morning [time-related connector] sailing across the Pacific from New Zealand to the Hawaiian Islands and to the U.S. mainland.


27.
[contrary cause-effect connector] the 15,000 mile ocean journey, the six canoes arrived safely.


28.
They are participating in the voyage "Te Mana o Te Moana" which translates to "The Spirit of the Sea".

This voyage was made [reason connector] they wanted to raise awareness about the state of the ocean and to share the wisdom of the Polynesian ancestors who loved and respected the sea.


29.
The canoes, each about 70 feet long, carry a crew of 16 sailors from [paired addition connector] Tonga […] the Cook Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu.


30.
[contrary cause-effect connector] the canoes were built like the traditional "vaka moana" canoes used by the Pacific Islanders ancestors, these canoes have some modern changes. 


31.
[contrast connector] the hulls (canoe bottoms) used to be made of wood, these are made of fiberglass.


32.
[additional conclusive fact], they have solar panels to power equipment on board.


33.
[Contrast connector] the ancient Polynesians navigated by the stars, these modern sailors have Internet, Facebook [paired addition] Twitter […].


34.
The crews of the six-canoe flotilla came in through the Golden Gate a week ago and were surprised [reason phrase] the strong winds and fog in the bay.


35.
Fortunately, the fog lifted and the winds calmed down [purpose subordinator] the sailors could hold an open house and give rides to visitors.


36.
"The Pacific is our home, our breath, our future. We can only survive [conditional connector] we come together as cultures, as crew-mates, to preserve the health of our ocean planet – Our Blue Canoe."


37.
The flotilla will continue to Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In January of 3012, the journey will continue to the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas [paired addition] Tahiti […].