05 Sep


It goes without saying that knowledge of English grammar is essential to crack Banking PO/Clerk and SSC exams. Without systematic understanding of grammar, candidates taking these exams rely on guesswork and good luck while attempting sentence error questions. But such an approach is unscientific and often proves to be counterproductive.

Within English grammar, conjunctions have a special place. Conjunctions are parts of speech that connect words, clauses, phrases & sentences. Quite often, they get neglected by candidates who are engaged in Bank PO and IBPS Clerk Exam Preparation. However, it would be a folly to underestimate the importance of conjunctions and it is a must to learn them in detail.

Types of Conjunctions

Conjunctions can be divided into 3 types. These types are: Coordinating, Correlative & Subordinating.

(I) Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join two or more items of equal importance or similar value.

coordinating conjunctions

There are mainly 7 coordinating conjunctions. They are also termed ‘FANBOYS’. They are: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet & So. The other coordinating conjunctions are only, still, neither (used alone), & else.

A coordinating conjunction can be further categorized under 4 heads (depending upon the context in which it is used):

  • Cumulative or Copulative: It merely adds one statement to another. Ex: and.
  • Adversative: It expresses opposition or contrast between two statements. Ex: but, only, still.
  • Alternative or Disjunctive: It expresses a choice between two alternatives. Ex: or, nor, neither, else.
  • Illative: It expresses an inference (that can be concluded). Ex: for.

(II) Correlative Conjunctions

correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. The words, elements and phrases connected by correlative conjunctions are usually parallel i.e. similar in length and grammatical form.

  • Either…or – Either do your work sincerely or prepare yourself for the outcome.
  • Not only…but also – The driver is not only negligent but also incompetent.
  • Neither...nor – Neither the soccer team nor the tennis team is doing well.
  • Both..and – Both the wrestling team and the hockey team are doing well.
  • Whether…or – Whether to stay or go is your decision.
  • Just as…so – Just as James wanted to buy that T-shirt so too did Tony.
  • As…as – She ate the meal as quickly as possible.
  • As much as – You can have the dessert as much as you like.
  • No sooner…than – No sooner had he entered the gate than the bell rang.
  • Rather…than – I would rather spend some time with my friend than go to the zoo with my younger brother.
  • The more….the more – The more you practice the more capable you become.
  • The more…the less – The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war.

(III) Subordinating Conjunctions

subordinating conjunctions

They connect two parts of a sentence that are not equal. Some examples along with their respective contexts are mentioned below:

  • Cause: as, because, in order that, since, so that, etc.

Ex: They started the journey early morning in order that they reach the destination on time.

  • Concession & Comparison: although, whereas, as, as though, though, even though, while, just as etc.

Ex: (I) She wore a white dress whereas her sister wore a black one. (II) Even though we were living on the first floor the rain water entered our house.

  • Condition: even if, if, in case, provided that, unless, etc.

Ex: The books will be issued to any student provided that his / her fee is paid.

  • Place: where, wherever, etc.

Ex: The lady was followed by the media wherever she went.

  • Time: after, as soon as, as long as, once, till, whenever, while, before, until, when, etc.

Ex: (I) After the rain was over the sun shone out again. (II) You don’t have to be afraid as long as you are with me.

Common Errors Made while Dealing with Conjunctions

  • The word ‘between’ is followed by ‘and’. People often have a habit of using the word ‘to’ while using between. This is grammatically incorrect.

Ex: The football match was played between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

  • In case of the correlative conjunctions ‘Neither….nor’ & ‘Either….or’ the subject-verb agreement should be taken into consideration.

Ex.1 – Neither the students nor their teacher was aware about the new notice.

Ex.2 – Neither the teacher nor the students were aware about the new notice.

Ex.3 – Either the policeman or the burglars have the gun.

Ex.4 – Either the burglars or the policeman has the gun.

Explanation: In all the examples quoted above notice that the verbs (was, were, have & has) are either singular or plural depending upon the subjects present just before them (teacher-singular, students-plural, burglars-plural & policeman-singular). Hence, if the subject is singular the corresponding verb will be in singular form and if the subject is plural the corresponding verb will be in plural form.

  • ‘No sooner’ is followed by comparative adjective form ‘than’ and not ‘then’.

Ex: No sooner had he arrived at the station than the train left.

  • ‘Scarcely’ is followed by ‘when’.

Ex: Scarcely had she solved the question when the other one popped up.

  • ‘Unless’ means ‘if not’. So using a ‘not’ with unless in a sentence is wrong.

Ex: You will fail unless (if not) you work hard. Unless you work hard you will fail.

  • ‘Lest’ means ‘that not’. So adding another ‘not’ in a sentence makes it grammatically wrong.

Ex: I will proofread the article twice lest (so that not) I make errors. Lest I make errors I will proofread the article twice.

  • The conjunction ‘such as’ should be used carefully. It is used to express examples. The words ‘such’ and ‘as’ when used separately imply an altogether different meaning.

Ex: The tray consisted of fruits such as peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries.

He watches only such films as have hit songs (over here the meaning of such…as is different).

In addition to what you have learnt just now, you should focus on attempting sectional tests based on English language. Online test series offered by a Top Bank Coaching Institute in Delhi is ideal for it. It will provide you with not only practice material but also detailed explanations for further improvement.


This article has been written for students preparing for Bank, SSC & other Govt. Job aptitude exams. The contents are designed to give students the complete clarity and deep understanding of conjunctions. Special focus has been there on common errors that should be avoided while using conjunctions. In case of any further queries or doubts, do write to us at vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com. Your queries will be answered by experts from the centre for Best IBPS Coaching in Delhi.

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