The ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of Conjunction

Content marketing is the buzzword today. You need content for your social media activities, sales collaterals and your traditional marketing vehicles. Business communication is all about using the right words to capture the attention and grab eyeballs. It is also about using correct language with accurate grammar and spellings.

English grammar is simple but one needs to have a deep understanding of its finer nuances to avoid common errors. One part of speech that imparts more fluidity and efficiency to writing is conjunction.

It is technically defined as the word that connects two words, phrases, clauses or sentences. Basically, a conjunction helps in stringing sentences in a comprehensible manner. This is particularly relevant when writing is simple and short sentences are recommended, as the text could get choppy and onerous.

The different types of conjunctions are:

  • Correlative conjunction: They are used in pair to show comparisons or similarities.
    Examples: either – or, neither – nor, whether – or, not only – but also, if – then
  • Coordinating conjunction: They help link clauses and phrases in a sentence. A comma might be needed when two coordinating conjunctions are used. The easiest way to remember coordinating conjunctions is to memorize the acronym FANBOYS: For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So.
    Examples: and, so, for, nor, but, yet
  • Subordinating conjunction: They are used to showcase a cause and effect relationship, a contrast or any other kind of connect between two clauses. Examples: because, since, while, before, after, unless, whereas, once, that, wherever, whenever, although
  • Conjugative adverb: Although adverbs, these are also a part of the conjunction list and used to join independent clauses.
    Examples: after all, also, furthermore, hence, however

A common understanding is that a sentence should not start with a conjunction. Most authors circumvent the norm as starting a sentence with one can make it more effective. However, one should avoid starting most sentences with conjunctions as this can take the message away. Also, using too many conjunctions could lead to long flowing sentences and the essence may be lost. Excessive use of coordinating conjunctions could result in rambling sentences with multiple subjects and events, making the language incoherent.

Understanding grammatical tools such as conjunctions is crucial to ensure quality written communication. They can enrich your content and make your writing style artistic. However, using them incorrectly without proper punctuation can lead to confusion. Therefore, it is important to judiciously use conjunctions to enhance your content.