Coordination and Subordination
Coordinating conjunctions join two independent clauses to create a compound sentence. A compound sentence is composed of two independent clauses. When joining two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction, it is necessary to use a comma before the conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions are helpful because they connect related ideas, and make writing less choppy.
The coordinating conjunctions are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. They can be remembered by the acronym FANBOYS.
Independent clauses: I like to write about grammar. Dr. Haefner likes to teach about writing.
Joined together: I like to write about grammar, and Dr. Haefner likes to teach about writing.
Independent clauses: Many Illinois Wesleyan students visit the writing center. Most Illinois Wesleyan students get good grades.
Joined together: Many Illinois Wesleyan students visit the writing center, so most Illinois Wesleyan students get good grades.
The function of a subordinating conjunction is twofold. First it functions to subordinate one independent clause to another--making it dependent. Secondly the subordinating conjunction links the independent and dependent clauses together. Since a complex sentence is composed of an independent clause and a dependent clause, subordinating conjunctions are a crucial ingredient in complex sentences.
The subordinating conjunctions are: : after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while.
Independent Clauses: I like to write about grammar. Dr. Haefner likes to teach about writing.
Independent and dependent clauses: I like to write about grammar because Dr. Haefner likes to teach about writing.
Independent and dependent clauses: Because Dr. Haefner likes to teach about writing, I like to write about grammar.
Note that the underlined segment above can no longer stand alone. The addition of the subordinating conjunction “because” has turned it into a dependent clause and it only makes sense within the context of the independent clause. The dependent clause can be placed either before or after the independent clause, but when placed first a comma must be added after the dependent clause as shown in the third example.
Sources: Purdue Owl, Khan AcademyAll images and content