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Transition Words | Page 2

Coordinating Conjunctions as Transition Words

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On the previous page, you saw a brief introduction to transition words and the many ways you can combine ideas while showing the relationships between them.

In this part of the lesson, let’s focus on one of the devices: coordinating conjunctions.

What Coordinating Conjunctions Are

Also known as coordinators, coordinating conjunctions are short words that combine two related complete ideas. They usually connect similar ideas and show a relationship between them.

There are seven coordinating conjunctions in English: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. A mnemonic device people use to remember them is FANBOYS:

F - for

A - and

N - nor

B - but

O - or

Y - yet

S - so

When to Use Commas with Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions typically join two complete sentences. As a writing convention, a comma is used between them, showing that each sentence is a complete sentence.

Notice the punctuation between the two complete sentences in the following examples:

(The coordinating conjunctions are highlighted in bold in the examples.)

  • Manuel stayed home all weekend, and he talked to his friends on the phone.
  • Mary was ill, so her husband took a day off from work to care for her.
  • You should not give your children everything they ask for, nor should you allow them to do everything they want.
  • I wanted to eat something sweet after dinner, so I baked a pie.
  • In the past, children did everything their grandparents asked them to, for people were taught to respect their elders.
  • The distraught child took care of the baby bird, but it did not make it.

When to Omit the Comma with Coordinating Conjunctions

When using the coordinating conjunction “and” and “or,” it is possible to omit the subject in the second sentence when it is the same as in the first. When omitting the subject, you should also omit the comma (because then only the first sentence is a complete sentence).

Compare the following pairs of sentences, where the subject is omitted in the second sentence.

Example 1 (and)

  • Manuel stayed home all weekend, and he talked to his friends on the phone.
  • Manuel stayed home all weekend and talked to his friends on the phone.

Example 2 (and)

  • My students worked hard all semester long, and they passed the course with high grades.
  • My students worked hard all semester long and passed the course with high grades.

Example 3 (or)

  • You can come with us , or you can stay and rest.
  • You can come with us or stay and rest.


Practice 1: Complete this exercise to practice using coordinating conjunctions.

Creating Other Relationships in More Complex Sentences

Besides coordinating conjunctions, you can use subordinating conjunctions as transitions. They express additional relationships between ideas and generate slightly more complex sentences.

Continue the lesson by using the “Navigate This Lesson” button below.

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