The new primary curriculum includes the understanding and use of conjunctions across several years. In Year 1 children will be expected to use and to join clauses. In Year 2 co-ordinating conjunctions such as or and but are introduced, as well as subordinate conjunctions, including when, if, that and because. In year 3 conjunctions which express time, place and cause are introduced, and correlative conjunctions are taught in the upper primary years.
Following these guidelines we have written a great selection of conjunctions worksheets, ranging from the very simplest joining words to tricky correlative conjunctions.
We begin with the most well known conjunctions, and and but, which are used to join short sentences to make one longer sentence. This is an excellent introduction to understanding the term.
We quickly move on to two new terms: co-ordinating conjunctions and subordinate conjunctions. We explain what they are, how they can be used and provide plenty of practice with using them.
Some conjunctions are known as co-ordinating conjunctions. Our worksheets explain that co-ordinating conjunctions join two parts (or clauses) which are independent of each other and are used when you want to give equal emphasis to both; they both have similar importance.
The main co-ordinating conjunctions are:
and but or nor yet so for
These words are easy to remember as they are all less than four letters in length.
(FANBOYS is a mnemonic acronym to help remember these:
for and nor but or yet so)
Here is an example: Sam wanted to play cricket but it was raining very hard.
We also have some terrific pages on subordinate conjunctions. These join two parts of the sentence (two clauses) where one part is dependent on the other, main, clause.
Subordinate conjunctions are words such as: if, while and when.
They tend to add more detail to the main clause. Here are some of the main subordinate conjunctions:
If suggests a condition (If it rains tonight…………)
When/whenever refers to a time (When the rain stops……….)
Because suggests a reason (Because it was raining ……………….)
Since also refers to a reason or time (Since you have been back…………)
Although /even though suggests a contrast or surprise (Although you have been badly behaved…)
With careful explanations and several pages of exercises, our worksheets are ideal at getting across the meaning of co-ordinating and subordinate conjunctions, mainly for Year 2 and Year 3 children.
Conjunctions of time and cause
Two other ways to understand conjunctions are to see them as showing time or cause. Conjunctions to show time do just that; they show when something happened and the four most popular are, whenever, before, after and while.
For example: Harry cleaned his teeth before going to bed.
Words such as because, so and so that introduce the reason for an event and because of this they are known as conjunctions of cause or reason.
When you use so to connect a cause or reason it should not come at the start.
For example: I am on a diet so I have stopped eating chips.
Finally, this week we have published a further set of pages on correlative conjunctions.
Correlative conjunctions come in pairs. They get their name because they work together to relate one part of the sentence with another.
Sounds complicated, but it is quite easy and we have plenty of examples and exercises to help children understand these terms and use them in their writing.
Here are four popular correlative conjunctions:
Either/or We use either/or to join two positive options. e.g.
Tom wanted either vanilla ice cream or custard with his banana.
Both/and We use both/and to join two equal things or people together.
Mum went to both the play and the carol concert afterwards.
Whether/or We use whether/or to join two clauses with different options. e.g.
Whether it’s snowing or raining we are still going to walk along the riverside.
Not only/but also Similar to both/and by emphasising that two things go together.
The thief not only smashed the window but also broke the door lock.
Take a look now at our worksheets on correlative conjunctions as well as all our other grammar resources on conjunctions.