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Three Types of Conjunctions

Three Conjunction Types

Three Types of Conjunctions

Every teacher knows the wisdom of not telling the whole story, especially with respect to holiday celebrations. But for the purpose of this article, let’s add on conjunctions to the list of teach some of it now and save some for later instruction. Elementary teachers should teach the common conjunctions and secondary teachers should build upon that foundation with less frequently used conjunctions.

Following are brief overviews of the three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinate (subordinating), and correlative. The relevant Common Core State Standards are provided and memorable acronyms to help your students identify and apply these grammatical forms. Plus, classroom posters are provided as FREE downloads.

Elementary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

Primary and intermediate teachers face the sometimes daunting task of introducing students to coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1.G
    Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1.F
    Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.1.H
    Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.1.F
    Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.2.C
    Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.1.A
    Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.

To help students avoid writing in sentence fragments, elementary teachers often counsel their students, “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, or so (the common coordinating conjunctions),” and many teachers would throw in because or like (two subordinating conjunctions) for good measure.

Additionally, most elementary teachers teach the proper use and identification of but, or, and, or so, but not the less frequently used for, nor, and yet. This certainly makes sense.

Elementary teachers may find the BOAS acronym helpful to teach the four common but, or, and, so (boas) coordinating conjunctions:

BOAS (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Coordinating Conjunctions for Elementary School

Coordinating Conjunctions

but, or, and, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited to see the boas eat or climb the tree, but they did neither, so I left.

If teaching only the four BOAS seems a bit constricting :), elementary teachers can add in the three additional coordinating conjunctions, usually reserved for middle school.

Secondary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

By middle school, teachers amend the “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, so, because, or like“elementary rule with the addition of “unless you finish the sentence.” Even though the middle school, high school, and college permit and even encourage their developing writers to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions, when appropriate, all would caution their students to use these sentence constructions sparingly.

Plus, secondary teachers will add the three less common and more sophisticated coordinating conjunctions (for, nor, yet) and may use the helpful FANBOYS acronym to teach all seven coordinating conjunctions:

FANBOYS Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

FANBOYS (Creator Unknown)

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited for the boas to eat or climb the tree, but they did neither. They were not hungry nor active, so I left. Yet I would like to see them sometime.

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of coordinating conjunctions:

The “co” in coordinating means with in Latin. Coordinating conjunctions join with other words, phrase, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. Example: Both Juan and Stella are good writers.

Elementary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Elementary teachers may wish to teach their students the 10 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings and endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down. Leslie sat down after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Elementary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

AAAWWUBBIS (Jeff Anderson’s Acronym)

Subordinating Conjunctions AAAWWUBBIS

Subordinate Conjunctions

after, although, as, when, while, until, because, before, if, since

Secondary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Secondary teachers may wish to teach their students the 29 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings, in the middle, and the endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down, after she gave her speech in front of the class, and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Secondary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinate Conjunctions

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Bud is wise, before, unless, despite (in spite of), in order that, so, while, if, since, even though (if)

but hot! because, until, that, how, once, than

AAA after, although (though), as (as if, as long as, as though)

WWW whether, when (whenever), where (wherever)

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of subordinating conjunctions:

The “sub” in subordinating means under or below in Latin. Subordinating conjunctions begin adverbial clauses, which are under or below the connecting main (independent clause) in terms of importance or emphasis. Example: Because you listened well this morning, we will work in our groups this afternoon.

Upper Elementary and Secondary Instruction: Correlative Conjunctions (Correlative is pronounced as cor/rél/lƏ/tive.)

Teach the common correlative conjunctions:

both−and; such−that; whether−or; as−as; not−but; neither−nor; no sooner−than; either−or; as many−as; rather−than

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of correlative conjunctions:

The “cor” in correlative means to run (correr in Spanish) and “rel” indicates a relationship (in Latin). Coordinating conjunctions are word pairs which run in relationship with each other. The word pairs join parallel words, phrases, or clauses. In grammar, parallel means similar in meaning, structure, and length. Examples: Either chocolate or vanilla is fine. Both girls like chocolate, and they also like vanilla.

*****

Syntax Programs

Pennington Publishing Grammar Programs

Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics (Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and High School) are full-year, traditional, grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics programs with plenty of remedial practice to help students catch up while they keep up with grade-level standards. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep lessons in print or interactive Google slides with a fun secret agent theme. Simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts, video lessons, sentence dictations. Plenty of practice in the writing context. Includes biweekly tests and a final exam.

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Interactive Notebook (Grades 4‒8) is a full-year, no prep interactive notebook without all the mess. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons, formatted in Cornell Notes with cartoon response, writing application, 3D graphic organizers (easy cut and paste foldables), and great resource links. No need to create a teacher INB for student make-up work—it’s done for you! Plus, get remedial worksheets, biweekly tests, and a final exam.

Syntax in Reading and Writing is a function-based, sentence level syntax program, designed to build reading comprehension and increase writing sophistication. The 18 parts of speech, phrases, and clauses lessons are each leveled from basic (elementary) to advanced (middle and high school) and feature 5 lesson components (10–15 minutes each): 1. Learn It!  2. Identify It!  3. Explain It! (analysis of challenging sentences) 4. Revise It! (kernel sentences, sentence expansion, syntactic manipulation) 5. Create It! (Short writing application with the syntactic focus in different genre).

Get the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments, Matrix, and Final Exam FREE Resource:

Want the poster size 11 x 17 Conjunction Posters you see in this article for your classroom? I’ll send the PDFs right away to your email.

Get the Conjunction Posters FREE Resource:

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How to Teach Complex Sentences

Simply put: Learning to write complex sentences will improve your students’ writing. Perhaps no other revision tool produces a greater “bang for the buck.” However, even the best tools can be overused. A contractor may love her “go-to” nail gun, but sometimes a simple hammer may better fit the task.

Our job as writing teachers is to show developing writers how complex sentences help authors communicate efficiently, precisely, and coherently (three academic language words every student should learn). So often, with our justifiable focus on getting students to write in complete sentences during the primary grades, developing writers get caught in a pit trap of writing simple sentences only in the SUBJECT-PREDICATE-OBJECT pattern. Students need a sturdy ladder to climb out of this trap.

The complex sentence is aptly named. Understanding, recognizing, and producing complex sentences require a substantial amount of prior knowledge and experience in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. We can (and should) use a few short-cuts to get to the end goal of getting students to use complex sentences in their own writing, but we do no service to them by ignoring, simplifying, or generalizing the requisite scaffolds of academic language and syntax. Kids gotta learn how their language works. Yes, that involves plenty of grammar instruction and practice.

To scaffold how to teach complex sentences, teach each rung of the ladder well. Tighten up each of the wobbly rungs and don’t skip any. Your learners are diverse. Who knows what they know and don’t know? (Although you could give my diagnostic grammar and usage assessment to find out).

How to Teach Complex Sentences Ladder

How to Teach Complex Sentences

Connect to and Build Prior Knowledge

RUNG 1

“First, let’s review the characteristics of a simple sentence.”

Write or display these definitions and examples, read them out loud, and tell students to copy them.

“A simple sentence has three characteristics: 1. It tells a complete thought. 2. It has both a subject and a predicate. The subject is a noun or pronoun and serves as the “do-er” of the sentence. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. A pronoun takes the place of a noun. The predicate is a verb or verbs and acts upon the subject or links the subject to something else in the sentence. 3. When read out loud, a simple sentence makes the voice drop down at the end of a statement or go up at the end of a question. Examples: Karen enjoys chocolate. Do you like chocolate?

Identify the Problem: Connect to Oral Language and Reading

RUNG 2 

Convince students that too many simple sentences strung together can be a problem, especially in essays. Reading out loud helps students identify the machine gun quality of repetitive simple sentences. Write or display this paragraph and read it out loud.

“Now listen to me as I read this paragraph of simple sentences. Afterwards, let’s read the paragraph out loud together as a class.”

     Thomas Alva Edison was born into a well-educated family. He had a lot of challenges to overcome. Tom was the youngest of seven children. Tom did not receive undivided attention from his parents. His parent had so many children. Thomas did not learn to talk as a young boy. His parents did not interact much with him. His siblings did not interact much with him. He finally learned to talk. He began talking at age four. Then he would not stop. He asked why and how questions about everything.

Debrief with your students: “What did you think about how this paragraph is written? How did it sound? Each sentence in the paragraph is a simple sentence. We can combine simple sentences with a conjunction to form another type of sentence: the compound sentences. A conjunction is a joining word. When we combine simple sentences, we change the name of a simple sentence to an independent clause. Let’s copy these definitions and example: A simple sentence is an independent clause. Two or more joined independent clauses form a compound sentence. Example: Then he would not stop, and he asked why and how questions about everything.

Another type of sentence is the complex sentence. Let’s listen to me as I read the same paragraph, revised with some revised complex sentences. Afterwards, we will read the paragraph out loud together as a class.”

Identify the Solution: Connect to Oral Language and Reading

RUNG 3

Convince students that adding sentence variety by including complex sentences makes writing more efficient, precise, and coherent. “Now listen to me as I read this paragraph of simple sentences. Afterwards, let’s read the paragraph out loud together as a class.”

     Although Thomas Alva Edison was born into a well-educated family, he had a lot of challenges to overcome. Tom was the youngest of seven children. Because his parents had so many children, Tom did not receive their undivided attention. Thomas did not learn to talk as a young boy since his parents and siblings rarely interacted with him. When he finally learned to talk at age four, he would not stop. He asked why and how questions about everything.

Debrief with your students: “Does this revised paragraph  provide the same information as the first? What did you think about how this revised paragraph is written? How did it sound? Many of the sentences in this revised paragraph are complex sentences. Let’s copy this down: A complex sentence has one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. A dependent clause has three characteristics: 1. It begins with a subordinate conjunction.  Subordinate means less important than or under the control of someone or something else. 2. It has at least one noun or a pronoun and at least one connected verb. 3. When read out loud, a dependent clause does not makes the voice drop down at the end of a statement. Example: Although (subordinate conjunction) Mike (noun) and I (pronoun) listen (verb), (When read out loud the voice does not drop down.)

Now let’s figure out how the author formed complex sentences to make the our own writing efficient, precise, and coherent. Efficient means to be well-organized and not wasteful. Precise means to be specific and exact. Coherent means to be logical, orderly, and consistent.”

Common Subordinating Conjunctions

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW Subordinating Conjunctions

Teach How to Write Dependent Clauses

RUNG 4 

“Write down this formula for writing dependent clauses: dependent clause = subordinate conjunction (Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW) + at least noun or pronoun + at least one connected verb + any other words. 

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW is a memory trick to help you remember the common subordinate conjunctions. Copy down this list, underlining the first letter of each subordinate conjunction:”

before, unless, despite (in spite of), in order that, so, while, if, since, even though (if), because, until, that, how, once, than, after, although (though), as (as if, as long as, as though), whether, when (whenever), where (wherever)

Have students write and share five dependent clauses in their notebooks and pair share as you monitor this guided practice.

Teach How to Connect Dependent Clauses to Independent Clauses

RUNG 5 

“A dependent clause added onto an independent clause (a simple sentence) forms a complex sentence. The dependent clause may be placed at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence. Copy these sentences with their examples.

Place a comma after a dependent clause that begins a sentence. Example: After I sneeze, I always blow my nose.

Place commas before and after a dependent clause in the middle of the sentence. Example: I use a handkerchief, when I sneeze, to be polite.

Don’t place a comma before a dependent clause that ends a sentence. Example: I stop sneezing when it’s not allergy season.”

Assign a Formative Assessment to Determine Mastery

RUNG 6 

Write a short paragraph in which you use three complex sentences: one at the beginning of a sentence; one in the middle of a sentence; and one at the end of a sentence.

Extend the Learning: Writing Style

RUNG 7 

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Teach students to avoid using more than two complex sentences in a row in any given paragraph. Overuse of simple sentences is problematic, but the same is true with complex sentences. Review the revised paragraph above and analyze the different types of sentences, their placements within the paragraph, and the placement of the dependent clause within the complex sentences themselves. Analyze the types of sentences in both narrative and expository text.

*****

Syntax Programs

Pennington Publishing Grammar Programs

Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics (Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and High School) are full-year, traditional, grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics programs with plenty of remedial practice to help students catch up while they keep up with grade-level standards. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep lessons in print or interactive Google slides with a fun secret agent theme. Simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts, video lessons, sentence dictations. Plenty of practice in the writing context. Includes biweekly tests and a final exam.

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Interactive Notebook (Grades 4‒8) is a full-year, no prep interactive notebook without all the mess. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons, formatted in Cornell Notes with cartoon response, writing application, 3D graphic organizers (easy cut and paste foldables), and great resource links. No need to create a teacher INB for student make-up work—it’s done for you! Plus, get remedial worksheets, biweekly tests, and a final exam.

Syntax in Reading and Writing is a function-based, sentence level syntax program, designed to build reading comprehension and increase writing sophistication. The 18 parts of speech, phrases, and clauses lessons are each leveled from basic (elementary) to advanced (middle and high school) and feature 5 lesson components (10–15 minutes each): 1. Learn It!  2. Identify It!  3. Explain It! (analysis of challenging sentences) 4. Revise It! (kernel sentences, sentence expansion, syntactic manipulation) 5. Create It! (Short writing application with the syntactic focus in different genre).

Get the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments, Matrix, and Final Exam FREE Resource:

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How to Teach Conjunctions

Remember the elementary school Schoolhouse Rock song, Conjunction Junction? Here’s the first verse to refresh your memory.

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, how’s that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
Conjunction Junction, what’s their function?
I got “and”, “but”, and “or”,
They’ll get you pretty far.

“And”:
That’s an additive, like “this and that”.
“But”:
That’s sort of the opposite,
“Not this but that”.
And then there’s “or”:
O-R, when you have a choice like
“This or that”.
“And”, “but”, and “or”,
Get you pretty far.            by Bob Dorough ©1973 Schoolhouse Rock

Countless students have learned that a conjunction “hooks up words and phrases and clauses” from this elementary song. Although only a few examples are given, the tune and lyric are memorable and many students can identify this part of speech, more so than others, because of this song. Now, of course, the above verse only refers to one of three types of conjunctions—the coordinating conjunction.

Upper elementary, middle school, and high school students will need more examples of all three types of conjunctions to assist in accurate identification, and more importantly, to prompt their use of more sophisticated sentence constructions beyond those at the simple sentence levels. However, teaching the function of the three types of conjunctions with the most common examples in memorable ways certainly makes sense for older students. So, here are the three types of conjunctions, each with 1. Definition 2. Common Conjunctions 3. Example 4. Writing Connection 5. Writing Practice and 6. Memory Trick.

Coordinating Conjunctions for Elementary School

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

1. Definition: A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, or clauses of equal weight or similar grammatical construction.

2. Common Coordinating Conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

3. Example: Two desserts are fine, but three are better.

4. Writing Connection: Avoid overuse of the conjunction so. Also, do not use the words then and now as coordinating conjunctions. A comma is placed before the conjunction if it joins two or more independent clauses. Teach students that joining two simple related sentences with a comma conjunction forms a more sophisticated compound sentence.

FANBOYS Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

5. Writing Practice: Write cloze sentences with blanks for the coordinating conjunctions, e.g., The food looked good, ______ she was not hungry. Have students compose original sentences for each of the seven common coordinating conjunctions. Have students “book search” for the seven common coordinating conjunctions. Require students to include a certain number of compound sentences in a writing process paper and underline each of the coordinating conjunctions.

6. Memory Trick: Teach the seven common coordinating conjunctions as F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). For younger children, the most common should be taught as B.O.A.S. (but, or, and, so)

The Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative Conjunctions

1. Definition: A correlative conjunction joins another correlative conjunction as a pair. The paired correlative conjunctions serve as conjunctions to connect two balanced words, phrases, or clauses.

2. Common Correlative Conjunctions: both−and; such−that; whether−or; as−as; not−but; neither−nor; no sooner−than; either−or; as many−as; rather−than

3. Example: Either we work together, or we will fail together.

4. Writing Connection: A comma is placed before the second of the paired conjunctions, if the sentence ends in an independent clause. Teach students that using the correlative conjunctions forms a complex sentence, which is one mark of mature writing.

5. Writing Practice: Write cloze sentences with blanks for the correlative conjunctions, e.g., ______ ______ did the food look good, ______ it ______ tasted great. Have students compose original sentences for each of the common correlative conjunctions. Have students “book search” for the common correlative conjunctions. Require students to include a certain number of correlative conjunctions in a writing process paper.

6. Memory Trick: Teach students to memorize the common correlative conjunctions to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Correlative Conjunctions 

Correlative Conjunctions Song Pennington Publishing

Correlative Conjunctions Pennington Publishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subordinating Conjunctions AAAWWUBBIS

Subordinate Conjunctions

Subordinating Conjunctions

1. Definition: A subordinating conjunction always introduces a dependent clause (a noun and a verb not expressing a complete thought). The subordinating conjunction signals the relationship between the dependent clause and the independent clause (a subject and verb standing alone as a complete thought). A dependent clause is less important than the independent clause and is sometimes called a subordinate clause. It is helpful to remember that sub means under, so that the subordinate clause is subordinate to the independent clause.

2. Common Subordinating Conjunctions: after, although, as, as if, as long as, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, despite, even if, even though, how, if, in spite of, in order that, once, since, so that, than, that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, wherever, whether, while

3. Example: Although my friends had already seen it, they saw the show a second time.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinate Conjunctions

4. Writing Connection: Adding a subordinating conjunction to one of the clauses can revise a run-on sentence. A comma is placed after the dependent clause, if it begins a sentence. Teach students that using the subordinate conjunction to signal a dependent clause forms a complex sentence, which is important to sentence variety.

5. Writing Practice: Write cloze sentences with blanks to help students practice subordinating  conjunctions, e.g., ______ the food looked good, I ordered it for dinner. Have students compose original sentences for each of the common correlative conjunctions. Have students “book search” for the subordinating conjunctions. Require students to include a certain number of subordinating conjunctions in a writing process paper. Avoid stringing together two or more sentences with dependent clauses.

6. Memory Trick: Use the following memory trick to prompt your use of these subordinating clauses: Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW

The Subordinating Conjunctions Pennington Publishing

Subordinating Conjunctions Pennington Publishing

*****Check out the FREE downloads of all these posters after the adverts for the author’s teaching resources.

*****

Syntax Programs

Pennington Publishing Grammar Programs

Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics (Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and High School) are full-year, traditional, grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics programs with plenty of remedial practice to help students catch up while they keep up with grade-level standards. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep lessons in print or interactive Google slides with a fun secret agent theme. Simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts, video lessons, sentence dictations. Plenty of practice in the writing context. Includes biweekly tests and a final exam.

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Interactive Notebook (Grades 4‒8) is a full-year, no prep interactive notebook without all the mess. Twice-per-week, 30-minute, no prep grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons, formatted in Cornell Notes with cartoon response, writing application, 3D graphic organizers (easy cut and paste foldables), and great resource links. No need to create a teacher INB for student make-up work—it’s done for you! Plus, get remedial worksheets, biweekly tests, and a final exam.

Syntax in Reading and Writing is a function-based, sentence-level syntax program, designed to build reading comprehension and increase writing sophistication. The 18 parts of speech, phrases, and clauses lessons are each leveled from basic (elementary) to advanced (middle and high school) and feature 5 lesson components (10–15 minutes each): 1. Learn It!  2. Identify It!  3. Explain It! (analysis of challenging sentences) 4. Revise It! (kernel sentences, sentence expansion, syntactic manipulation) 5. Create It! (Short writing application with the syntactic focus in different genre).

Get the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments, Matrix, and Final Exam FREE Resource:

Want the poster size 11 x 17 Conjunction Posters you see in this article for your classroom? I’ll send the PDFs right away to your email.

Get the Conjunction Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,