Coordinating Conjunctions

What are Coordinating Conjunctions?

Coordinating conjunctions combine equal elements with each other: main clauses with main clauses, subordinate clauses with subordinate clauses, words with words, phrases with phrases, and sentence elements with sentence elements.

The coordinating conjunctions are:

„denn“, „und“, „oder“, „aber“, „doch“ and „sondern“

Examples:

  • Tanja und Boris sehen fern.“
  • Fahren wir zu Oma oder bleiben wir zu Hause?“

Connecting Main Clauses

When used to combine two main clauses, the conjunction is always in position 0. It doesn't belong to either sentence. The structures of the clauses stay the same:

If the verbs and/or subjects in both main clauses are the same, then you can leave them out. Exception: "denn" → the verbs can’t be the same (it wouldn’t make sense!)

  • „Ich mache eine Suppe oder (ich) (mache) ein Schnitzel.“
  • „Max möchte keinen Kuchen, sondern (Max) (möchte) ein Eis.“
  • „Ich habe Stress, denn morgen habe ich eine Prüfung.“

Connecting Subordinate Clauses

"Und" and "oder" can also combine subordinate clauses. All the rules of subordinate clauses apply for the connected clause as well.

  • „Ich bin böse, weil du zu spät gekommen bist und (du) dich nicht entschuldigt hast.
  • „Er ist glücklich, weil er im Lotto gewonnen hat und (er) seine Prüfung bestanden hat.

Also, if the verbs and/or subjects in both main clauses are the same, then you can leave it out.

Connecting Words and Phrases

Coordinating conjunctions can also combine single words, phrases, and sentence elements with each other.

Exception: "denn" (it can only combine two main clauses - nothing else).

  • Hans und Udo gehen am Wochenende zum Fussball.“
  • „Ich bin kein Fan vom FC Bayern, sondern von Borussia Dortmund.“
  • „Trinkst du Kaffee lieber mit oder ohne Milch?“
  • Mit Zucker, aber ohne Milch.“

List of Coordinating Conjunctions

Each coordinating conjunction has a specific function:

Recommendation: Risk of Confusion

You should not confuse conjunctions with Conjunctive Adverbs, and also the Multi-Part Conjunctions belong to the Subordinating Conjunctions.

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