Grammar: Connectors

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Parts of a sentence can be linked using various connecting techniques. The weight or importance of the pieces determines the type of connection. Two parts of equal value and equal usage are connected using coordinating conjunctions. These are usually the words "and," "but," and "or." The connector "for" may only join clauses. Correlative conjunctions pair coordinating conjunctions with another word. "Nor" (a derivation of "or") is used only in this instance. When two independent clauses are joined with a conjunction or a semicolon, the sentence is compound. When two subjects or verbs are joined, they are also identified as compound. When two clauses are combined with a conjunction, a comma is needed to separate them. When phrases or words are combined, no comma is needed.

While a semicolon is not a part of speech, its use as a connecting agent is important to note. Its use in joining two clauses indicates an equality as well as a relationship between the two clauses.


Conjunctive adverbs are a small list of words which join clauses. Their pattern is clause, semicolon, conjunctive adverb, comma, and clause. Because the semicolon can act alone as a linking agent, the conjunctive adverb is rather a weak means of joining the clauses.

Subordinating conjunctions combine two clauses where one is of lesser weight. The clause of lesser weight becomes dependent upon the other and acts as an adverb. When the dependent clause occurs at the beginning of the sentence, it is separated by a comma. That is not necessary if it is part of the natural progression of the sentence following the independent clause. When a dependent and an independent clause are joined, the sentence is complex. When a dependent clause is joined to an independent clause and is then joined to another independent clause, the sentence is compound complex.

Interjections serve no purpose other than to convey a feeling of emotion within a sentence.

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