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Choosing the Right Coordinating Conjunction

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Choosing the Right Coordinating Conjunction

Traffic Light

Coordinating conjunctions connect two or more words, phrases, or clauses and show how they relate to each other. You can remember these words using the mnemonic FANBOYSFor, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

These conjunctions act like traffic signals, helping readers navigate your ideas.

  • For signals that the next idea caused the first idea.

  • And signals that two ideas are connected or have equal value.

  • Nor signals that neither idea is applicable.

  • But signals a shift in thinking or an unexpected twist.

  • Or signals a choice between options.

  • Yet signals an even stronger surprise than but.

  • So signals that the next idea is the result of the first idea.

Your Turn Choose the best coordinating conjunction from the options in parentheses.

  1. Wilma Mankiller's life was marked by hardships, ( so   or   but ) she achieved many great things.

  2. During her childhood, the government took over her family's ancestral land in Oklahoma, ( so   or   for ) she moved to San Francisco.

  3. She called the move her personal “Trail of Tears,” ( for   or   but ) it reminded her of the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century.

  4. At this point, she could have given into despair, ( so   or   but ) she could seek a productive outlet for her grief.

  5. She chose a life of service, ( and   nor   for ) she believed it was her duty to help the Cherokee people.

  6. Mankiller’s activism led to cleaner drinking water ( so   but   and ) better job opportunities for Cherokee people.

  7. Mankiller neither allowed social obstacles ( or   nor   so ) serious health problems keep her from her life’s work.

  8. Up until 1987 no woman had served as chief of the Cherokee Nation, ( and   nor   yet ) Mankiller ran for election and won easily.

  9. She understood the Cherokee Nation needed greater resources and support, ( so   for   or ) she opened a dialogue between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government.

  10. Upon her death in 2010, President Barack Obama memorialized Mankiller for serving “as an inspiration to women in Indian Country ( and   but   or ) across America.”

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