For non-native speakers of English—and even for native ones—the idea of learning different parts of speech can be intimidating. Terms with names like “coordinating conjunction” do little to quell that anxiety. Just what is a coordinating conjunction?
Don’t panic. A Google of “what is coordinating conjunction” will show you it’s much less complicated than you might imagine. A coordinating conjunction is usually simply known as a conjunction. And chances are you already use them.
The function of coordinating conjunction. Building blocks
Conjunction connects one part of a sentence to another; it is “coordinating” in that it coordinates two independent or dependent clauses (phrases) to join into a single sentence.
If you were to make a coordinating conjunction list, the three most basic and oft-used are and, but, and or. We use these all the time to create lists, compound-complex sentences, and long thoughts.
Frequently, in writing, sentences joined by too many conjunctions can look long and cluttered, and writers are encouraged to separate them into distinct sentences.
I want to call my friend and bake a cake for her, and I also want to throw her a party.
This would be broken up into
I want to call my friend and bake a cake for her. I also want to throw her a party.
The single sentence is not unclear, but it does contain two conjunctions—“and” appears twice—while shorter sentences can sometimes be easier to read and understand.
Here are some common coordinating conjunction examples:
The sun was shining, but it was very cold because of the wind.
We could go to the movies or the park.
It’s okay to want both to stand out and to fit in.