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5 Tips for Coordinating Conjunctions

#1

 

Teach the Seven Coordinating Conjunctions (cc)

With a Mnemonic    

The beginning of using any writing strategy or technique is to memorize words that fall in that category. (Of course, don’t stop with memorizing them! The best programs teach the parts of speech then practice them then apply them in students’ writing–Teach, Practice, Apply!). 

I use a simple mnemonic created by a wise grammar teacher to help students memorize cc’s: FANBOYS. For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

#2

 

Coordinating Conjunctions Can Be Used to Combine

Two Sentences Into One

One of the first conciseness techniques that students can learn easily to expand their sentence writing is that of the compound sentence joined together with ,For/,And/,Nor/,But/,Or/,Yet/,So. The first step in this skill is for the writer to have a thorough understanding of what a sentence contains. That is, they must be able to discern easily that the group of words in question is a complete sentence (CAVES–Capital, All Makes Sense, Verb, End Mark, Subject). (When I edit papers to show complete sentences joined with coordinating conjunctions, I use CS for complete sentence and cc for coordinating conjunctions: CS, cc CS.)

To test for this, cover up each “half” of the sentence and ask yourself if each half could stand alone as a sentence. If they both can, then you can create a compound sentence with a comma-coordinating conjunction:

         I like writing with coordinating conjunctions, for they make my writing more interesting. (YES–,FANBOYS because each half is a complete sentence)

       I like writing with coordinating conjunctions and creating compound sentences. (NO– no comma needed because each half is not a complete sentence)

#3

 

Coordinating Conjunctions Can Also Be Used

for a List of Two or More

The most common coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS) used in lists of two or more are the cc’s OR and AND:

                  We are writing sentences or paragraphs today. 

                We are writing essays, stories, and reports this semester. 

Two important comma rules emerge from the “cc’s for lists” practices: (1) The Oxford Comma Rule–Place a comma between each item in the list with the final comma right before the cc. This is an “optional” or stylistic rule that many grammarians follow for clarity.  (2) Do not place a comma AFTER the cc. Young students seem to do this a lot. Emphasize to them that you’re not dividing the AND or OR, so no comma is needed after the coordinating conjunction. 

#4

 

Other “Coordinating” or “Conjunctive” Types of Words Are Not True Coordinating Conjunctions 

While other words do have conjunctive properties, they are not true coordinating conjunctions that work with a comma before them to combine two sentences into one. This is important to note for correct sentence combining–as they usually join PARTS of sentences but not complete sentences. (This is another reason to learn the true seven FANBOYS!)

For example, WELL is an interjection. THOUGH is a subordinator. THEREFORE is a conjunctive adverb. These all have places in creating interesting sentences but cannot be used with a comma before them to combine two sentences into one.

#5

 

Unfortunately, Some Coordinating Conjunctions

Act As Other Parts of Speech

Seven simple cc’s. A little trick to learn them. Combine two sentences into one sentence with a comma before a FANBOYS. Easy, huh? Well, true to English form, three cc’s CAN be other parts of speech. (So sorry, students!)

First of all, FOR is a cc AND a preposition (for Mom, for the trip, for my brother). AND….. SO and YET are sometimes adverbs (She is SO kind; Have we arrived YET). Exceptions like these make it even more important that we teach students how to TEST the word and rule they are using. When I am teaching compound sentences with cc’s, I have students cover up each half of the sentence and read it aloud. When they practice these for homework, I have them highlight each half of the sentence in a different color highlighter to check for each side’s “completeness.” 

Resources for This Slideshow

1) Teach the Seven Coordinating Conjunctions (cc) With a Mnemonic: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/character.ink-rdreish/Blog_Post_Downloads/TrickyTrick_Compound_Sentences_Coordinating_Conjunctions.pdf

2) Coordinating Conjunctions Can Be Used to Combine Two Sentences Into One: http://characterinkblog.com/comma-clues-1-creating-a-compound-sentence-with-a-comma-coordinating-conjunction-cc/

3) Coordinating Conjunctions Can Also Be Used for a List of Two or More: http://characterinkblog.com/the-oxford-comma-cute/

4) Other “Coordinating” or “Conjunctive” Types of Words Are Not True Coordinating Conjunctions: http://characterinkblog.com/punctuation-puzzle-led-lead-pique-peek-peak-compound-sentences/

5) Unfortunately, Some Coordinating Conjunctions Act As Other Parts of Speech: http://characterinkstore.com/product/think-fast-grammar-quizzes/

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