Chapter 9
The Conjunction

Definition

A conjunction is a word that is used for joining two words or groups of words.

Examples

  1. Jaya and Radha are sisters.
  2. He warned me but I did not heed.

Explanation

The word and in the first sentence joins two nouns Jaya and Radha. It is a joining word. But, in the second sentence joins two groups of words: He warned me, I did not heed. It is also a joining word. They are conjunctions.

Note:

  1. Conjunctions must be distinguished from relative pronouns, relative adverbs and prepositions that are also connecting words.

Examples

  1. This is the house that Jack built. (relative pronoun)
  2. This is the place where he was murdered. (relative adverb)
  3. He sat besides Rama. (preposition)
  4. He stood behind me. (preposition)
  5. Take this and give that. (conjunction)

Explanation

In the above sentences, the relative pronoun refers to the noun house and also joins the two parts of the sentence. The relative adverb modifies the verb was murdered and also joins the two parts of the sentence. The preposition governs the noun or the pronoun while also joining the two words. Whereas, the conjunction merely joins and does no other work.

  1. Some conjunctions are used in pairs.

Examples

  1. Either take it or leave it.
  2. It is neither useful nor ornamental.
  3. We both love and honour him.

Explanation

Either-or, neither-nor, both-and etc are conjunctions that can be used in pairs and are called correlativeconjunctions or correlatives.

  1. When conjunctions are used as correlatives, each of the correlated words should be placed immediately before the words to be connected.

Wrong way : He not only visited Agra, but also Delhi.

Correct way : He visited not only Agra, but also Delhi.

  1. Sometimes compound expressions are used as conjunctions. These are called compound conjunctions.

Examples

  1. The notice was published in order that all might know the facts.
  2. I will forgive you on condition that you do not repeat the offence.
  3. Such an act would not be kind even if it were just.

Kinds of conjunctions

Conjunctions are of two kinds:

  1. Co-ordinating conjunctions
  2. Subordinating conjunction

Co-ordinating conjunctions

Definition

A co-ordinating conjunction joins together words or groups of words of equal rank.

Examples

  1. He came to me and asked for alms.
  2. Birds fly and fish swim.

Explanation

The above sentences contain two independent statements of equal rank or importance. Hence the conjunction joining together these two statements of clauses of equal rank is called a co-ordinating conjunction. And, but, for, or, nor, also, either/or, neither/nor are all examples of co-ordinating conjunctions.
Co-ordinating conjunctions are four kinds.

  1. Cumulative or copulative conjunction
  2. Adversative conjunction
  3. Disjunctive or alternative conjunction
  4. Illative conjunction.

Cumulative or copulative conjunction

Definition

A cumulative conjunction joins two statements of facts.

Examples

  1. He came to me and asked for alms.
  2. They were both shocked and grieved to hear the news.
  3. He is misled as well as you.

Explanation

In the first sentence the conjunction and joins two statements. He came to me, (he) asked for alms. It is called cumulative conjunction. Similarly both and and in the second sentence, and as well as in the third sentence are cumulative conjunctions.

Adversative conjunction

Definition

Adversative conjunction expresses opposition or contrast between two statements.

Examples

  1. He was rich but not contented.
  2. He was all right; only he was fatigued.

Explanation

In the first sentence the conjunction but shows contrast. It is an adversative conjunction. Similarly in the second sentence only is an adversative conjunction.

Disjunctive or alternative conjunction

Definition

Disjunctive or alternative conjunction expresses a choice between two alternatives.

Examples

  1. He must participate or he will be fined.
  2. Either you should pay or work for it.
  3. Neither is he hard working nor is he resourceful.

Explanation

Or, either…or, neither….nor are alternative conjunctions because they indicate alternative or choice between two things.

Illative conjunction

Definition

Illative conjunction expresses an inference.

Examples

  1. He will be rewarded, for he is trustworthy.
  2. They are liked, for they are good.
  3. He was guilty; so he was punished.

Explanation

For and so indicate inference or conclusion; so they are illative conjunctions.

Note:

Any of the co-ordinating conjunctions, with the exception of or, nor, may be omitted and its place taken by a comma, semi-colon, or colon.

Example

Rama went out to play: Hari stayed in to work.

Subordinating conjunctions

Definition

A subordinating conjunction joins a clause to another on which it depends for its full meaning.

Examples

  1. I shall help you if you need my help.
  2. I read the paper because it interests me.

Explanation

In the first sentence the conjunction if joins the principal clause and the subordinate clause. It joins two groups of words of unequal rank where one group of words depends on another group of words for its complete meaning. So it is called a subordinating conjunction. Similarly in the second sentence because is a subordinating conjunction. After, because, if, that, though, although, till, before, unless, as, when, where, while etc are all subordinating conjunctions.

Kinds of subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are of eight types depending on their meaning.

  1. Subordinating conjunction of time
  2. Subordinating conjunction of place
  3. Subordinating conjunction of reason
  4. Subordinating conjunction of purpose
  5. Subordinating conjunction of result or consequence
  6. Subordinating conjunction of condition
  7. Subordinating conjunction of comparison
  8. Subordinating conjunction of concession

Subordinating conjunction of time

Examples

  1. We went after you left.
  2. It was done before we wanted it.

Explanation

In the examples above after and before illustrate time.

Subordinating conjunction of place

Examples

  1. You may go wherever you like.
  2. I searched where I was asked to.

Explanation

In the examples above wherever and where illustrate place.

Subordinating conjunction of reason

Examples

  1. I shall do it because I like it.
  2. We did not go out as it was raining.

Explanation

In the examples above because and as illustrate reason.

Subordinating conjunction of purpose

Examples

  1. We eat that we may live.
  2. The farmer manured well so that he might get a rich crop.

Explanation

In the examples above that and so that illustrate purpose.

Subordinating conjunction of result or consequence

Examples

  1. It was so clear that all could understand it.
  2. It rained so heavily that all tanks breached.

Explanation

In the examples above that illustrates result or consequence.

Subordinating conjunction of condition

Examples

  1. You should do it whether you like it or not.
  2. If you agree I shall accompany you.

Explanation

In the examples above whether and if illustrate condition.

Subordinating conjunction of comparison

Examples

  1. She is intelligent as we were told.
  2. You are latter than I.

Explanation

In the examples above as and than illustrate comparison.

Subordinating conjunction of concession

Examples

  1. Thought he is ill he has come.
  2. He is strong although he is old.

Explanation

In the examples above though and although illustrate concession.

Parsing of conjunctions

Parsing model

The boy and his friend are here.
And: Co-ordinating conjunction, joining the two nouns boy and his friend.