A Reference for Connecting Words Part 1

In this lesson and the ones that follow, we’re going to provide a series of charts for connecting words that you can print out for easy reference. Connecting words join ideas and express the relationship between those ideas. English connecting words are divided into two broad categories based on the type of relation they express. Coordinating words express equal relationships. Subordinating words express unequal relationships.


This lesson will cover the first two types of coordinating words: coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions. Because this lesson is intended as a reference sheet, the examples are not exhaustive. If you are having difficulty using a particular type of coordinating word, we recommend that you check out our in-depth lesson on that type of word.


Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect grammatically equal elements and express equal relationships.


Relationship Conjunction Example
Addition in a positive sentence and Emily likes to dance and write.
Addition in a negative sentence or Rahul doesn’t like baseball or hockey.


but I like to watch soccer but not to play it.


so I worked late last night, so I’m a little tired this morning.


or Do you prefer beef or chicken tacos?


yet The room is spacious yet feels small.


for I’m a bit behind schedule, for I was out sick yesterday.
Addition of a negative clause nor Ryan doesn’t eat red meat, nor does he drink alcohol.


Correlative (Paired) Conjunctions

Like coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions connect and express grammatically equal ideas. Unlike coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions must always be used in pairs.


Relationship Conjunctions Example
Addition both…and


Both Miguel and Shauna have taken the SAT before.


not only… but also She is not only an experienced ESL teacher but also a skilled SAT and ACT teacher.
Positive choices


either… or Remember to bring either a pen or pencil to class.
Negative choices


neither…nor I have neither the time nor the patience to shop for a new car right now.
One of two choices


whether…or I can’t decide whether to go out or stay in tonight.