What is a coordinating conjunction?
A conjunction is a part of speech, or word, used to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
There are two kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions. This FAQ will explain coordinating conjunctions.
There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. A quick way to remember these seven coordinating conjunctions is to think of FANBOYS: (f)or, (a)nd, (n)or, (b)ut, (o)r, (y)et, (s)o.
Coordinating conjunctions can join words together. Example: I saw both him and Kris at the park.
Coordinating conjunctions can join phrases together: You can go swimming, sit in the shade, or relax inside. (In a list, always use commas after each item in the list before the conjunction.)
Coordinating conjunctions can join clauses together: I sat my phone down on the desk, but I can't find it now. (Always use a comma before the conjunction when joining clauses together. Joining two clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction creates a compound sentence.)
Coordinating conjunctions can also join two separate sentences together to create smoother, more naturally flowing language.
For example, here are two sentences separated by a period:
He said he'd be on time. He is five minutes late.
These can be combined with a conjunction.
Example: He said he'd be on time, yet he is five minutes late.
Keep in mind that each coordinating conjunction has a specific purpose, as well.
for (explanation; cause/effect) -- I have to go to the store, for I am out of chips.
and (showing similarity) -- I own two dogs and three rabbits.
nor (the negative form of "or") -- I have neither the money nor the time for such an extravagant weekend.
but (to contrast or qualify) -- She went to the party but only because her friend had asked her to join.
or (to show a choice or option) -- I can't decide if I want pizza or chicken tenders for lunch.
yet (similar to "but"; acknowledges the unexpected/ironic) -- You saved money to get a new car, yet you spent it on clothes.
so (similar to "for"; cause/effect) -- I am out of chips, so I have to go to the store.
If you need further help with understanding coordinating conjunctions, please watch the video in the link provided.