What Are Conjunctions?

Cozy Grammar Welcome

This month we wanted to share a video excerpt from Marie's Basic Cozy Grammar Course about conjunctions, as well as a companion video from Marie's Study Notes about clauses. Both videos are set on Marie's favorite Eagle Rock and give a sense for how the sea and the natural world around Marie's Cozy Beach Cottage form an important part of Marie's lessons.

We also wanted to remind you about our Free 7-Day Preview and share a special Back-to-School Discount for our subscribers. Read on to learn more!

In Lesson 22 of the course, Marie introduces co-ordinate conjunctions. Co-ordinate conjunctions, also called coordinating conjunctions, join words or groups of words used in the same way:

After this introduction, Marie goes on to give examples of conjunctions joining other kinds of words and groups of words: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, phrases, and clauses.

Of these, I think one of the most interesting are clauses. In my companion video in Marie's Study Notes, I give a simple and straightforward way for understanding what a clause is. Take a peek!

We Were Very Tired, We Were Very Merry

While we're on the topic of clauses and conjunctions, I thought I'd give one more example of clauses in action.

Since Marie lived on an island, and since I live on an island, we're both very familiar with ferries. So here's a favorite poem of mine about ferries by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

As you read, see if you can count how many clauses she uses.

Recuerdo

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

(You can also read the poem on the Poetry Foundation website and learn more about Edna St. Vincent Millay herself.)

Depending on how you count them, the poet uses a total of 23-25 clauses, many of them joined with conjunctions.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A COMPLETE LIST AND EXPLANATIONS
Clause:
Subject:
Predicate:

1: We were very tired
We
were very tired
2: we were very merry
we
were very merry
3: We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
We
had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
4: It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable*
It
was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable

Here, although we have more than one verb, we have only one subject, so it’s a single, more complicated clause.

5: we looked into a fire
we
looked into a fire
6: we leaned across a table
we
leaned across a table
7: We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon
We
lay on a hill-top underneath the moon
8: the whistles kept blowing
the whistles
kept blowing
9: the dawn came soon
the dawn
came soon
10: We were very tired
We
were very tired
11: we were very merry
we
were very merry
12: We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
We
had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
13: you ate an apple
you
ate an apple
14: I ate a pear, / From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere*
I
ate a pear, / From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere

Technically speaking, “we had bought somewhere” is also a clause (although a different kind than we’ve been talking about), so if you counted that one too, you’ve done extra well!

15: the sky went wan
the sky
went wan
16: the wind came cold
the wind
came cold
17: the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold
the sun
rose dripping, a bucketful of gold
18: We were very tired
We
were very tired
19: we were very merry
we
were very merry
20: We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
We
had gone back and forth all night on the ferry
21: We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head, / And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read*
We
hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head, / And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read

* Here, although we have more than one verb, we have only one subject, so it’s a single, more complicated clause. Also, technically speaking, “neither of us read” is also a clause (although a different kind than we’ve been talking about), so if you counted that one too, you’ve done extra, extra well!

22: she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears
she
wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears

23: we gave her all our money but our subway fares
we
gave her all our money but our subway fares

A Fun Writing Activity

One of the best ways to understand grammar is to take it out of the realm of rules and regulations and explore it playfully in our own writing. For this month's creative writing activity, here's a fun way to explore clauses and conjunctions:

1) Write a series of simple sentences, each on its own card or slip of paper. These will become your clauses. The more imaginative the better! Remember, a simple sentence has both a subject and a predicate. (You can read more about subjects and predicates in our February newsletter.)

2) Shuffle your pieces of paper and pick two at random.

3) Now try to connect those two clauses using a conjunction. Here are some common conjunctions to get you started: and, but, or, and yet.

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you've connected all of your clauses.

5) Now combine your sentences into a story, adding a few sentences in between if necessary. You may be surprised at what you end up saying!

Our Free 7-Day Trial

As I hope you've seen, conjunctions give us a marvelous way to connect different thoughts and ideas. That's why, at Cozy Grammar, instead of a Public Relations department, we have a Conjunctions Department—a department that makes connections. We're always interested in ways of connecting interesting people, schools, and organizations with Marie's inspiring courses.

And so, in the spirit of making connections, we wanted to remind you of our Free 7-Day Preview. This is our way of giving you a chance to see if Marie's videos would be a good match for you and your family, as well as to explore Marie's Study NotesExercises, and Review Tests for yourself.

Simply visit our courses page and select the Free 7-Day Preview.

An August Back-to-School Special

Whether you or your family are homeschoolers, traditional schoolers, alternative schoolers, or simply interested in improving your own writing, August often turns our minds to the beginning of the school year. To celebrate all the possibilities of new beginnings, we wanted to offer our subscribers a special discount.

The following coupon code is good for 20% off The Basic Cozy Grammar CourseThe Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, and our Basic Grammar and Punctuation Combo during the entire month of August:

We encourage you to try a Free 7-Day Preview and use your special subscriber coupon code to sign up for whichever course or courses would best serve you and your family.

Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again next month!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Warmly,

Thomas

Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses