A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, sentences, phrases or clauses together.
A coordinating conjunction joins together two or more items of equal weight or similarity, such as words, main clauses or sentences. It shows that the elements it joins are similar in importance and structure and they are independent.
We can use the mnemonic acronym FANBOYS to remember important coordinating conjunctions, for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.
Coordinating conjunctions may be subdivided into four kinds
Cumulative, Alternative, Adversative, Illative
Cumulative conjunctions unite expressions in the same line of thought. And, also, etc. are examples for cumulative conjunctions.
Alternative conjunctions express a choice between two statements. E.g. Or, either, else, nor, neither, whether, etc.
Adversative conjunctions are used to connect words and expressions that are opposite in thought showing contrast between two statements. Examples: But, yet, still, however, while, only, etc.
Illative conjunctions introduce a reason by which one statement is inferred from another. E.g. For, so, hence, then, etc.
Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join words and group of words of equal weight in a sentence. There are six different pairs of correlative conjunctions.
Common Correlative Conjunctions
Both…and, either…or, neither…nor, though (although)…yet, whether…or, not only…but also, no sooner…than, rather…than, scarcely (hardly)…when (before), such…as, such…that, the same…as, the same…that, as…as, so…as, so…that, etc.
Both…and is used before two words or phrases which are connected to show that each one is included.
Example: Both the father and the mother loved playing with their small kids.
Either…or is a correlating conjunction that is used to indicate choices and possibilities.
Example: Either Mary or Diana must have bagged the first rank.
Neither…nor is used to indicate two or more people, things, actions, etc. about which something is negated.
Example: I am a pure vegetarian; I eat neither meat nor fish.
Not only…but also is used to express the fact that both of the two associated statements are true.
Example: He is not only an intellectual but also a highly compassionate man.
Rather…than emphasizes disagreement between two ideas.
Example: I would rather resign than to take part in such a dishonest deal.