1. What are conjunctions?

Conjunctions are words that link clauses together (clauses = different parts of a sentence).

Some common conjunctions:


2. How to use conjunctions

Long sentences are built by putting pieces together. These individual pieces are clauses.
Conjunctions work like the glue to stick the clauses together.

Clause 1: I like ice cream.
Clause 2: It is delicious.
Together with conjunction: I like ice cream because it is delicious.

Clause 1: Mary went to the restaurant.
Clause 2: She ordered a hamburger.
Clause 3: She did not like it.
Together with conjunctions: Mary went to the restaurant and ordered a hamburger but she did not like it.

*Note: If the subject is the same across two clauses, there is no need to repeat it.
Example: ‘Mary went to the restaurant and ordered a hamburger’
not ‘Mary went to the restaurant and Mary ordered a hamburger’.

3. Examples of sentences using conjunctions

Every Saturday I go to the park and play football.I can’t meet you tomorrow as I am very busy.
Sheena’s friends are angry because she stole their money.The company has sold more toys this year yet its profits are down.
Greg and Thomas will go to the cinema or take their boat on the river.Please shut up while I try to think.
Dogs are friendly but they smell terrible.Maxine and Jill will fly to France this summer, although neither has any money.

4. How many conjunctions should you use?

Sentences with too many conjunctions look ugly and become confusing.

Generally, one conjunction (two clauses) or two conjunctions (three clauses) is fine, three conjunctions (four clauses) is long, and four conjunctions (five clauses) is too many.

Number of conjunctionsGood?Example
1 conjunction
(2 clauses)
fineLewis bought a cake and gave it to Lucy.
2 conjunctions
(3 clauses)
fineYou should call your mother because she is at home alone and you have not spoken to her for 2 months.
3 conjunctions
(4 clauses)
long sentenceCats are interesting pets because they keep you company and do not need much care, but they can be annoying.
4 conjunctions
(5 clauses)
becoming too long / confusingPeter went to the office and spoke to his boss because he wanted a holiday, but his boss said Peter could not have a holiday because the office was very busy so Peter should wait.
5 conjunctions
(6 clauses)
usually messy / confusingThe game sounded interesting because both teams wanted to win and both have very good players, but the weather was terrible and made the quality poor, so we left at half-time and went to the cinema instead.

*Note: Using punctuation, such as a comma, can help make long sentences easier to read.

5. Test yourself

Click here to test your knowledge of this grammar point.