Connecting Words


There are three different kinds of connecting words:

1.      Coordinating Conjunctions

2.      Subordinating Conjunctions

3.      Conjunctive adverbs (Transition words)



Coordinating Conjunctions


Coordinating conjunctions join two independent clauses.




1.      ADDITION:            and

2.      DIFFERENCE:      but, yet

3.      RESULT:               so


Punctuation Pattern:


{S+V (+O), conjunction +S+V(+O)}


Example: It was raining, so the game was cancelled.


Subordinating Conjunctions


There are five different categories of subordinating conjunctions:


1.      TIME:  after, before, when, while, as, by the time (that), since, until, as soon as, once, as/so long as, whenever, every time (that), the first time (that), the last time (that), the next time (that)

2.      CAUSE & EFFECT: because, since, now that, as, as/so long as, inasmuch as, so (that), in order that

3.      OPPOSITION: even though, although, though, whereas, while

4.      LOCATION: where, wherever

5.      CONDITION: if, unless, only if, whether or not, even if, providing (that), provided (that), in case (that), in the event (that)


Punctuation Patterns:


Clauses with subordinating conjunctions can appear at the beginning or the end of the sentence.  However, the punctuation patterns are different.


1.   If the adverb clause appears first, use the following punctuation pattern:

                  {Subordinating Conjunction + S+V (+O), S+V+(+O).


                        Example:  After we finished dinner, we went for a walk.

                                                Adverb clause             main clause


2.      If the adverb clause appears at the end of the sentence, don’t use a comma between clauses:


{S+V (+O)+Subordinating Conjunction +S+V (+O)}

Example:  We went for a walk after we finished dinner.

                  Main clause                 adverb clause


3.      Exception: Clauses of opposition with whereas and while always take commas, no matter where they appear in the sentence.


Example:  Florida is hot, whereas Alaska is cold.

                  Main clause                 adverb clause            


                  Whereas Alaska is cold, Florida is hot.

                  Adverb clause             main clause


Conjunctive Adverbs (Transitions)



Conjunctive Adverbs (which are more commonly known as transitions) provide a connection between ideas.  Unlike subordinating conjunctions, they do not make clauses dependent.


1.      ADDITION: also, besides, equally, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, next, too.

2.      SIMILARITY:  also, likewise, moreover

3.      DIFFERENCE: however, on the contrary, on the other hand, in contrast, nevertheless

4.      EXAMPLES:  for example, for instance, in fact

5.      RESTATEMENTS/SUMMARIES: finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in short, in summary, therefore

6.      RESULT: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, therefore

7.      CHRONOLOGY (TIME ORDER): afterward, in the meantime, later, meanwhile, next, second, earlier, finally, first, soon, still, then, third


Punctuation Patterns:


There are three possible punctuation patterns.


1.      Most common pattern: {Transition, S+V (+O).}


Example: Many of New Jersey’s highways are very crowded.  For example, Route 80 has bumper-to-bumper traffic every day.


2.  Another possible pattern:


{S+V (+O);  transition, S+V (+O).)


Example: Many of New Jersey’s highways are very crowded; for example, Route 80 has bumper-to-bumper traffic every day.


3.  Less common pattern: {S, transition, V (+O) }


Example:  Many of New Jersey’s highways are very crowded.  Route 80, for example, has bumper-to-bumper traffic every day.



Written by the tutors and staff of the English Language Resource Center at Bergen Community College, NJ


Some Grammatical Information taken from:


Azar, Betty Schrampfer. Fundamentals of English Grammar.  2nd ed.  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1992.


Elbaum, Sandra N. Grammar in Context: Book One. Harper, 1986.


Hayes, Christopher G. English at Hand.  Marlton: Townsend, 1996.