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Set 2 - Lesson 21 ( Answer Key )

Lesson 21, Connecting with Conjunctions: AND, BUT, OR, SO

Conjunctions hold parts of a sentence together,  kind of like glue.  As with glue, however, there are several types of conjunctions, each one with its own specific use.

AND: And is used to add things or ideas together - one thing plus another thing.  For longer lists, and is used between the last two items.  And is a joining conjunction.

  • "Michael and Sarah went to the movies."  Michael went ... Sarah went ... they both went to the movies,
  • "Thomas slipped and fell on the ice."  Thomas did two things - he slipped, then he fell.  And joins the actions.
  • "I pulled out the weeds and Jane watered the flowers."  Two people each did different things while working in the garden.  The two parts could stand alone as sentences - "I pulled out the weeds."  "Jane watered the flowers."  Since the ideas in the sentences are related to each other, they can be joined by and to form one compound sentence.
  • "We went to the store to buy milk, bread, oranges, dog food and coffee."  When you write a series in a sentence, use commas between all the items except the last two - there you need to use a conjunction.  A comma in front of the and is optional.

OR:  Or is used between  things or ideas about which there is a choice or when we don't know the answer.   Or is a selective conjunction.

  • "Michael or Sarah went to the movies."  One of them went, but not both. We don't know which one.
  • "Thomas slipped or fell on the ice."  Thomas had a problem on the ice.  Did he slip?  Did he fall?  We don't know, but he did one of them.
  • "I will pull out the weeds or Jane will water the flowers."  For some reason, these two people cannot both work in the garden.  One of them can.  Will it be I?  Will it be Jane?  I don't know.  Or tells us that only one of the things will take place.
  • "We need to buy milk, juice, iced tea or soda at the store."  We evidently need something to drink, but it doesn't matter what it is.  We need to choose one of the items in the list.  That is what or is telling us. 

BUT: But is used to let us know that something happened in a sentence that we did not expect or to prepare us for an excuse.  But is a conjunction of differences.

  • "Michael went to the movies, but Sarah stayed home."  It would have been normal for Sarah to go to the movies with Michael.  This time she did something different - she stayed home.  But introduces such a difference.
  • "Thomas slipped on the ice, but he did not fall."  We would expect Thomas to fall when he slipped on the ice.  He did something different - he did not fall.  But introduces that difference.
  • "We were going to pull out the weeds, but Jane decided to water the flowers instead."  Jane and I had planned to pull weeds.  For whatever reason, Jane began to water the flowers instead.  She did something different from what I had expected.  But introduces that difference.
  • "We found everything we needed for the camping trip but the first aid kit."  The first aid kit was different - it could not be found.  But introduces that difference.
  • "I did my homework last night, but the dog ate it."  But is used quite often to introduce a reason why we did not do something we were supposed to do, like turn in our homework. 

SO: So is used to introduce something that follows or is a result of something else.  So is a conjunction of consequences.

  • "Michael went to the movies, so Sarah went to visit her friend."    As a result of Michael's going out by himself, leaving Sarah alone, she decided to go out as well. If Michael had stayed home, Sarah would have stayed home, also.  SO introduces the consequence of Michael's action.
  • "Thomas slipped and fell on the ice, so he was limping when he arrived home."  As a result of slipping and falling, Thomas hurt himself and had to walk with a limp.  So introduces the results of the fall.
  • "Jane watered the flowers so it would be easier for me to pull out the weeds."  Watering softened the soil, with the result that it was easier to pull the weeds out by their roots.  SO introduces the result of the watering.
  • "We  found the first aid kit, so we could finally leave for the camping trip."  For reasons of safety, we did not want to go camping without a first aid kit.  We finally found it, with the result that we could leave at last.  SO introduces that result.

YET: Yet is also used to introduce a result that is different or opposite from what we expected or what would be normal.  The different result can be positive or negative. Yet is a conjunction of unexpected difference. 

 (Yet can also be used as an adverb referring to a time or an event that has not occurred, so be careful.  "Jack has not yet finished his chores.")

  • "Michael and Sarah went to the movies, yet she was worried about leaving the baby with a sitter." Sarah should have been having a good time, but the truth was different from what we would expect because of her worry.
  • "Thomas slipped and fell on the ice, yet he did not get hurt."  You would expect a person to be hurt after falling on the ice, but Thomas wasn't.  That different result is introduced by yet.
  • "Jane and I pull the weeds in the garden every week, yet there are always more to pull the next week."  One would expect, or at least hope, that if all the weeds were pulled from the garden this week, there would not be any left to pull next week.  Alas, nature is not like that.  In this case, yet introduces a result that is different from what Jane and I hoped for.
  • "We had finally loaded everything we would need for the camping trip, including the first aid kit, yet we could not leave because the car's battery was dead."  Not being able to leave was an unexpected result after all the stuff was loaded back into the car.  This unexpected result is introduced by yet.

ALTHOUGH: Although (which can also be an adverb)  introduces a condition or situation that was contrary to the first part of the sentence.  It is  a conjunction of contrariness.

  • "Michael and Sarah went to the movies, although the heavy snow made it dangerous to drive."  It was probably not  wise or  safe to drive in the heavy snow just to see a movie.  Michael and Sarah did it anyway, which was an action different from what we might expect.  Although introduces that difference.
  • "Thomas slipped and fell on the ice although he was wearing rubber boots."  We would expect the rubber boots to keep Thomas from slipping, but they didn't.  Although introduces a result different from our expectations.
  • "I pulled out many weeds from the garden, although Jane had done the same a few days before."   Either Jane had not done a very good job pulling weeds or the weeds grew very fast.  Whatever the reason, the fact that there were many weeds for me to pull a few days after Jane pulled them was not expected.
  • "We spent $30 at the grocery store although we only went to buy a gallon of milk."  Our expectation had been to spend less than $3.00 at the grocery store, but instead we spent $30.  The difference between what we expected and what actually happened is connected by the conjunction although

SINCE: Since can be an adverb, a preposition or a conjunction.  As a conjunction, it means "during a period following a time when", "continuously from some time in the past", or "because".

  • "Sarah went to see "Titanic" by herself since Michael did not like love stories."  You could substitute because for since in this sentence.  It introduces or connects the reason why Sarah went to the movies alone.
  • "Thomas had not fallen on the ice since he was a little boy."   Since refers to the continuous time from his childhood during which Thomas didn't fall on the ice, until now.
  • "The weeds had grown wildly since I pulled them out last week."  I pulled out the weeds last week, but from then until now they grew rapidly.  Since refers to the time period following the last time I pulled out the weeds.
  • "We went to the store to buy extra food since we were expecting company for the weekend."  The conjunction since means because in this sentence.  It introduces the reason why we were buying extra food.

BECAUSE: Because is used to introduce a reason for another action or event.  It is a conjunction answering the question 'why?'.

  • "Michael and Sarah went to the movies because there was nothing good on television."  Because connects the reason for Michael and Sarah's action with the action itself.
  • "Thomas slipped and fell because the sidewalk was covered with ice."  Because connects the reason why Thomas fell with the act of slipping and falling.
  • "I pulled out the weeds because Jane was allergic to them."  Because introduces the reason why Jane did not help me pull out the weeds.
  • "We went to the new supermarket for groceries because it was having a sale on fresh fruit."  Because introduces the reason why we went to the new store instead of the one we usually went to.

ADDITIONAL CONJUNCTIONS:  nor, thus, therefore, while

Exercise A: Change the conjunctions in the following sentences to  different ones.  Notice how the meanings of the sentences change.  Write your answers on the lines.

1. Mr. Johnson and his wife went to Atlantic City once a month.



2. Although Scott was eighteen when he signed up for karate classes, he had to bring a note from a parent or a guardian.


3. Sandra ran to the bus stop, but the bus had already gone.


4. I had checked all of my answers with a calculator,  so I was surprised when I failed the test.


5. The Roberts family was ready to go on a picnic, yet the rain continued to fall.


6. Because the salesman was very good at his job, he was able to convince the minister to buy the old purple car.


7. Tony had worked at the same job since his family bought the company eighteen years ago.


8. John was not able to get a good job because he refused to take a shower.




Exercise B:  Circle all the conjunctions in the following sentences.  Be careful, because many of the conjunctions can also be adverbs or prepositions.

1. Hamburgers, pizzas and fried chicken are the most popular, although least healthy,  fast foods.

2. Since last August, the stock market has been falling, but our economy is still very strong.

3. Everybody but Brenda passed the math test, although she was usually the best student.

4. Henry's car stalled a lot and made funny noises, so he took it to the garage.

5. George offered Alice a ride since he was going in that direction anyway.

6. We did not have any vinegar or lettuce, yet I was told to make a salad.

7. The policeman was tired and sick, yet he still had to direct traffic around the accident scene.


Examination:  Join the following pairs of sentences with suitable conjunctions.  Be sure to use the correct punctuation.  Write the joined sentences on the lines.

1. Louis liked reggae music.  Carla preferred classical music.


2. The horse galloped toward the barn.   A rabbit suddenly ran out of the tall grass.


3. Many women watch television soap operas.  The love scenes are often too realistic.


4. There is now a new president in the United States.  There was much confusion in counting the votes.


5. We eat a lot of ice cream in this country.  There are many overweight people.


6. Walter had bad breath.  He ate garlic every day.


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