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Coordinating Conjunctions

Adjectives are words that modify nouns and pronouns. There are 13 different categories of adjectives that describe the many different ways adjectives can be used in the English language. We have grammar guides to help you understand the difference between these, including 13 Types Of Adjectives And How To Use Them. Here we’ll focus on lists of these adjectives and briefly discuss how to use each of them. Descriptive adjectives One of the broadest categories of adjectives is descriptive adjectives Descriptive adjectives are adjectives that describe the characteristics, traits, or qualities of a noun or pronoun. In English, descriptive adjectives often are placed directly before the noun they are describing. For example:
  • Excited children ate delicious treats in the colorful cafeteria.
Examples of descriptive adjectives:
  • beautiful
  • witty
  • wicked
  • confusing
  • rich
  • new
  • strange
  • rocky
  • circular
  • angry
  • helpful
  • competent 
  • smelly
  • stable
  • grumpy
  • devoted
  • smart
  • muscular
  • scary
  • safe
  • wooden
  • sleepy
  • tardy
  • hungry
  • strange
  • hopeful
Let's review lists of other types of adjectives. Compound adjectives Compound adjectives are adjectives that are formed from multiple words, which are usually connected by hyphens. For example: 
  • We all enjoyed some ice-cold sodas.
Other examples of compound adjectives:
  • old-fashioned
  • run-of-the-mill
  • middle-of-the-road
  • full-time
  • fat-free
  • heavy-handed
  • next-door
Comparative adjectives Comparative adjectives are used to compare two different people or things to each other. Most comparative adjectives in English end in -er. In other instances, they are denoted with more. For example:
  • My brother is stronger than yours.
  • We found the book more captivating than anything else we had ever read.
Other examples of comparative adjectives are:
  • better
  • bigger
  • older
  • angrier
  • prettier
  • smarter
  • kinder
  • more determined
  • more interesting
Superlative adjectives Superlative adjectives are used to compare more than two people or things by indicating which one is the most supreme or extreme. Most superlative adjectives in English end in -est. In other instances, they are denoted with most or least. For example:
  • It was the strangest thing we had ever heard.
  • I thought she was the most creative artist on the planet.
Other examples of superlative adjectives are:
  • best
  • biggest
  • oldest
  • prettiest
  • happiest
  • most striking
  • least supportive
Proper adjectives Proper adjectives are adjectives formed from proper nouns. There are some proper adjectives that are based on people and places that may not be capitalized if they are used as more general words, such as herculean. For example:
  • At the grocery store, we bought Mexican tortillas, German sausage, and French cheese.
Other examples of proper adjectives are:
  • Viennese
  • Russian
  • Orwellian
  • Shakespearean
  • spartan
  • draconian
  • titanic
Distributive adjectives Distributive adjectives are used to refer to members of a group individually. For example:
  • Both of the team captains took the time to congratulate every member of the team.
Other examples of distributive adjectives are:
  • each
  • either
  • neither
  • any
Limiting adjectives Limiting adjectives are adjectives that restrict a noun or pronoun rather than describe any of its characteristics or qualities. For example:
  • The building had twelve floors, hundreds of windows, and several unique features.
Other examples of limiting adjectives are:
  • a/an
  • some
  • few
  • dozen
  • eight
  • thousands
Possessive adjectives Possessive adjectives are used to express possession or ownership. For example:
  • Everyone brought their own dish and my mom made her famous punch for our potluck.
Other examples of possessive adjectives are:
  • your
  • our
  • its
  • his
  • whose
Interrogative adjectives Some categories of adjectives are more limited. There are only three interrogative adjectives in English. They are used to ask questions. For example: 
  • What is the fastest way to get this done?
The three interrogative adjectives are:
  • what
  • which 
  • whose
Demonstrative adjectives Demonstrative adjectives are used to express relative positions in space and time. For example:
  • I think that color looks great on you, but this one matches those shoes better.
The four most commonly used demonstrative adjectives in English are:
  • this
  • that
  • these
  • those
How well do you know adjectives? Can you tell your limiting adjectives from your possessive adjectives? Do you know what the difference is between a predicate adjective and a participial one? You can test your adjectival knowledge with our quick, fun, challenging adjective quiz here.

What are coordinating conjunctions, and how are they used? Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases, or clauses that have the same grammatical function. You can remember the seven coordinating conjunctions by using the mnemonic device FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. The coordinating conjunctions and, or, and but are most commonly used. They’re often essential for forming complete sentences because they balance related elements.

Uses

Each coordinating conjunction has its own common functions. For instance, yet and but often compare, contrast, or modify ideas. For example: “I want to go to the party, but I have a lot of work to finish tonight.”For links a statement with an explanation, as in “He left early for he was dreadfully tired.”

The word or usually presents many options or possibilities. Consider this example: “Do you want an apple or an orange?”

The coordinating conjunction and has a few diverse functions. It can show a sequence of events or a cause-and-effect relationship. In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck uses and to compare two ideas that reflect upon one another: “There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue.” The two clauses have the same structure, and the conjunction creates balance.

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Creating a Balanced Structure

Coordinating conjunctions can link equal grammatical elements, such as two words or two phrases. They shouldn’t be used to connect unbalanced elements. For example, a word and a phrase would have different weights within a sentence. When conjunctions act as coordinators, they usually appear between the two linked elements. However, conjunctions can begin sentences when they appear in clauses that are connected by a semicolon. Clauses are phrases that contain a subject and verb.

You can use coordinating conjunctions to join two main types of clauses: dependent and independent. Dependent (subordinate) clauses are incomplete thoughts that don’t work as standalone sentences. Independent clauses are complete thoughts that could plausibly stand on their own. Coordinating conjunctions give them equal weight. Here’s an example from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.” The two independent clauses have equal weight, so it’s appropriate to join them with a coordinating conjunction. Because these are longer clauses, it’s also best to use a comma along with the conjunction.

Series and Clauses

Coordinating conjunctions can link three or more elements to form a series, e.g. “pencils, paper, erasers, and notebooks.” You should use commas to separate individual items in a series. This is especially helpful when the conjunction connects series of longer phrases or clauses.

When you repeat the conjunction within a simple series, commas aren’t usually necessary. For example: “Bring sandwiches and drinks and cups to the picnic.”

Commas are useful when the sentence is more complex. In The Two Towers, J. R. R. Tolkien uses nor to connect a series of clauses using commas: “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.”

When two independent clauses are easy to differentiate, it’s okay to use conjunctions without commas. For example: “John studied all night but he didn’t pass the test.” Both clauses could stand alone as short and complete sentences.

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