Coordinating conjunctions are words that are used to join two sentences together.
Example: I’m reading, and I’m writing.
Commas are used when two independent clauses are connected by coordinating conjunctions:
Ex: She was tired, so she went home.
She was tired is an independent clause (a complete sentence). She went home is also an independent clause. You need a comma before the coordinating conjunction so.
Subordinating conjunctions and coordinating conjunctions are micro signposts: they tell the reader how ideas relate to one another. While subordinating conjunctions grammatically subordinate one idea to another, coordinating conjunctions suggest a more equal relationship. Writers, speakers, knowledge makers . . . use coordinating conjunctions in Standard Written English when the subsequent sentence is conceptually related.
Inexperienced writers sometimes believe it is a smart strategy to have long sentences. Sometimes they believe linking two sentences with a comma somehow makes the overall passage more impressive, more academic. In fact, clarity remains the #1 goal. With that in mind, remember you’re asking your readers to hold that first sentence in their short-term memory while reading the second sentence. That’s a cognitive load. Thus, you want to use this construction sparsely in formal academic and workplace writing.
Sample Subordinating Conjunctions
FANBOYS is mnemonic device you can use to remember the seven coordinating conjunctions:
- F = For (cause/ reason)
- A = And (addition)
- N = Nor (negative choice)
- B = But (contrast)
- O = Or (choice)
- Y = Yet (contrast)
- S = So (as a result/effect)