Explanation

A conjunction links two words or phrases together.

There are two main types of conjunctions:

  • coordinating conjunctions (e.g. and) link two words or phrases together as an equal pair.
  • subordinating conjunctions (e.g. when) introduce a subordinate clause.
  • James bought a bat and ball. [links the words bat and ball as an equal pair]
  • Kylie is young but she can kick the ball hard. [links two clauses as an equal pair]
  • Everyone watches when Kyle does back-flips. [introduces a subordinate clause]
  • Joe can't practise kicking because he's injured. [introduces a subordinate clause]

The principal coordinating conjunctions are and, or and but) and some typical subordinating conjunctions are because, when, that, if, whether, for).

The 2016 GPaS test sample papers also refer to conjunctions as joining words.

No 'AND's

In this lesson, students build a story without the word and.

Goals

  • Recognise the uses and meaning of the word and.
  • Become more conscious of our own use of the word and.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will tell a story. There's only one rule: no one is allowed to use the word and.

Sentences with 'because'

In this activity, students practise composing sentences with the word because.

Goals

  • Identify the causal relationship that underlies use of because.
  • Compose some reasonable sentences using because.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise using the word because.

Sentences with 'because': Activity

I'm wearing wellies.
Why?
Because it's raining.

I'm wearing wellies
because
it's raining.

You're it.
Why?
Because I tagged you.

Sentences with 'if'

In this activity, students practise composing sentences with the word if.

Goals

  • Rehearse an implicit understanding of the conditional meaning of if.
  • Practise composing sentences using if.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise writing sentences with the word if.

Sentences with 'if': Activity

If you're wearing red, raise your hand.

If you're wearing blue, stomp your feet.

If you're wearing velcro, scratch your head.

If you have a zipper on your clothes, scratch your ear.

If you're the tallest one, wiggle your nose.

Coordinating or subordinating conjunction?

In each of the following sentences a conjunction is highlighted. Is it a coordinating conjunction or a subordinating conjunction?

Scope of the conjunction

Which of the two structures do you think the speaker intended?

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the conjunctions

Find the conjunctions in a range of examples

Identify the conjunctions in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the subordinating conjunction

Find the subordinating conjunction in a range of examples

Identify the subordinate conjunctions in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link linguistic units such as words, phrases or clauses.

We distinguish coordinating conjunctions such as andor and but from subordinating conjunctions such as because, since, when, while, etc.

Examples of coordinating conjunctions conjunctions are:

Conjunctions: Conjunctions and ambiguity

Look at this sentence:

  • Can I have cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch?

Do you think the speaker wants sandwiches filled with cheese and tomato or some cheese, and sandwiches with a tomato filling?

Native speakers probably know what cheese and tomato sandwiches are, but they don't realise that the phrase is actually ambiguous (has more than one meaning).

Sentence types: simple, compound, complex

This unit further explains simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences, which were introduced in the unit 'Clauses: main and subordinate'. Simple sentences contain one clause, while compound and complex sentences contain more than one clause.

National Curriculum note: The National Curriculum now refers to sentences that contain one clause as single-clause sentences, and those that contain more than one clause as multi-clause sentences.

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