Grammar-Quizzes › Connectors

Connectors (a.k.a. conjunction)

Recognize function and form

We walk and we talk.
We think that walking is good exercise.
We walk because we like the exercise.
The dog walks faster than we (do).
► What is a connector? ▼ Explanation of term

A connector:

  • is a general term for a word that joins a word, phrase or clause to another clause.  In traditional grammar, this is called a "conjunction". *Linguistic description reserves the term "conjunction" for the "coordinator" and.  (See Conjunction vs. Disjunction.)
  • takes form as a coordinator (and, but, or) or a subordinator  (that, whether, if, to, for ), or a preposition (e.g., because, though, before, after, since, when, if [conditional], unless, as, than)

A coordinator:

  • expresses a meaning of addition, contrast, or option.
  • 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).  Some traditional grammar descriptions include for ( reason), so (result), yet (concession) in the category of coordinators. Linguistic description places for, so, and yet  with linking adverbs

A subordinator:

  • expresses no particular meaning.
  • functions as a marker for informational content placed within a 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 (plain) form verb in an infinitival clause;  She wishes to [walk tomorrow.]  See Nonfinite Clauses.
    • for before a noun or accusative (obj) pronoun before an infinitival clause;  She wishes for [us to [walk tomorrow.]] Infinitive Cls w/Subj

An adjunct preposition:

is a preposition, which together with its complement, forms a prepositional phrase. The preposition connects the phrase to the main clause. The prepositional phrase is called adjunct because it adds information to the clause that is extra, not required to complete the meaning of the main clause. (We began walking because we needed exercise.)

(This connective is also called an adverbial preposition. The structure (connective + complement) is called an adjunct prepositional phrase (linguistic description) or an adverbial clause (traditional description). See Connector Overview for grammar source details.)

A prepositional head:

  • is the primary word of a prepositional phrase.  It is called a head because of (1) its primary position (beginning) in the phrase → We walk [because we like walking]; or (2) its primary role (meaning) in the phrase→ We walk [only because we like fresh air].  In the case of a double preposition, it is the first preposition that is the head.  We walk inside of the park.  We can't get out of the house early.
  • functions as the connector between the main clause and the phrase. It also relates the information in the phrase to the central idea of the main clause. 
  • relates a phrase of: manner (in a hurry), timing (in the morning), location (on the sidewalk), reason (because, since, as), concession (though, despite), purpose (in order, so that), time-related (after, before, when, while, until), condition (if , unless), an expression (in a flash), comparison (than, as, of, from or to) and more.  The phrase is called adjunct because it adds information that is not required to complete the the main clause; it is extra.
  • takes form as:
    • a preposition, such as in, on, at, over, before, after, while, because, though, until, as or than, which may take a complement of a noun phrase, a gerund, an infinitive, a full clause or another structure, depending on the meaning of the preposition: at home (N), in the house (NP), out of the house (PP), in stead of at home (NP+PP), after leaving home (Ger), rather than to leave home (Infin), because we left home (full clause). 
    • a comparative prepositionas, than, of, from or to—followed by a full or reduced clause. He walks as fast as I walk. He walks faster than I do. He walks the fastest of us all. He walks a different route from the one we walk. His route is similar to our route.) 
    • a conditional prepositionif or unless— followed by a clause expressing a condition. We walk [if we have time].
      (Yes, a prepositional phrase may include a clause.)

Also see clausal heads—who, when, where, why—(interrogative pronouns) that occur in embedded wh-questions. Similar to the phrasal head, the head of the clause is the connective and it carries meaning as part of the clause. She told me who is coming. She told me whom she invited__.  Subordinated Wh-Questions.




Summary of Practices



Connectors—Diagnostic Quiz

Connector Diagnostic: identify specific points that need review


Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced


Connector Overview: overview of connective words that relate phrases and clauses

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


The day was cold and windy.

They day was cloudy, windy and also cold.

The wind was strong as well as cold.

Besides being windy, it was also cold.

The day was windy  and cold. In addition, it was dry.

It was bright, clear and windy. Moreover, it was cold.

Cause-Effect Overview: express cause and effect relationship

Beginning–Advanced ESL, Native Speaker

Newton's Cradle

His computer froze, so he hit it.

He hit it so hard that he damaged the keyboard.

He took it to a repair center because it needed a new keyboard.

He paid a lot to have it fixed.  As a consequence, he never hit his computer again.

See Coordinator Summary.  (9 practice pages listed below)

See the above link for the complete listing of practices.

fruit mixture

I like tomatoes, but he doesn't

Oranges and tomatoes have vitamin C.

Oranges have tomatoes, and so do tomatoes.

Neither strawberries nor blueberries last very long.

I don't like rhubarb, and he doesn't either.

Oranges don't grow well here, but still we try .

I like all fruit except for grapefruit.

I like both grapefruit and oranges, but not lemons.

He wanted to go skiing but / though he hurt his leg.

See Subordinator Summary. (10 practice pages listed below)

See the above link for the complete listing of practices.


that she understood the problem was clear to us.

She said that she understood the problem.

She stated that she understood the problem.

She asked that he study the problem further.

She asked whether we understood the problem.

She asked if we understood the problem.

It was hard to understand the problem.

It was hard for us to understand the problem.

She wished for us to understand the problem clearly.

She was so enthusiastic that we learned a lot.

See Connective Prepositions. (14 practice pages are listed below)

See the above link for the complete listing of practices.

Girls School

They moved south despite / because of the weather.

They succeeded because of / *by our help.

They took a walk though / because it was foggy.

Sitting near an open window, he became cold.

She put on a sweater because she was cold.

He wanted to go skiing but / though he hurt his leg.

They left early in order to get there on time.

They called us as soon as they arrived.

They called us after they arrived.

(Upon) arriving, they called us.

He played video games while / when he was visiting.

Playing video games, he tried to stay awake.

By the time he graduates, he will have learned a lot.

Red bell peppers, for example, have a lot of vitamin C.

Adverbs for Linking: indicate a relationship between two situations  

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers


Buying organic fruit and vegetables is a better choice.  In the first place, they are less contaminated by chemical pesticides.  For another reason, they are not genetically modified. In addition, they are allowed to mature or ripen fully.  Finally, they have a shorter "shelf life" so they are sold when fresh or best.  

Connectors—Mixed Practices

Run-on Sentences: recognize poorly coordinated and excessively lengthy sentences

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


My friend and I blogged and read over his shoulder.

My friend blogged, and I read over his shoulder.


Connector Paragraph: relate ideas in a paragraph

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


She looks around to make sure other girls are noticing her.  When asked why she dresses the way she does, she says that she likes it.  ______  it seems that the reason for her behavior is more complex.

Connector Edit: find conjunction, adverb and transition word errors

Intermediate– Advanced ESL

mall parking

*We had to go home even we hadn't found what we were looking for.


Parallel Phrasing: coordinate like word forms with and and but

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker

matched cherries - slot machine

*My English is improving slow but surely.

My English is improving slowly but surely.

Parallel Wording: use similar word forms in a series

Beginning–Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

matched cherries on slot machine

He is very honest, kind and responsibility.

He is very honest, kind and responsible.

Sentence Editing: edit for errors (general)

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


*Because I needed to miss a board meeting, so I notified the speaker.