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Section 11.7.1

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions link words, phrases, or clauses. Theunits being joined by a coordinating conjunction must be parallel in grammatical structure and importance. Somecommon coordinating conjunctions are and, but, or, for, nor, so, andyet.


Half the world's population of nearly six billion people prepare their foodand heat their homes with coal and thetraditional biomass fuels of dung, crop residues, wood andcharcoal.

--Daniel Kammen, "Cookstoves for the Developing World," ScientificAmerican

In rural areas of many developing countries, women andchildren may spend several hours a day collecting wood for cookingor making charcoal, tasks that contribute to deforestationand soil erosion.

--Daniel Kammen, "Cookstoves for the Developing World," ScientificAmerican


If you use a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses, precede the coordinatingconjunction with a comma. A comma is usually usedbefore the coordinating conjunction that precedes the last item in a series ofthree or more items. For uses of the comma with coordinating conjunctions, seeCoordinating Conjunctions Joining IndependentClauses and Elements in a Series.

In the past, many writers and readers considered that starting a sentence witha coordinating conjunction was poor style; however, this structure is now widelyaccepted.


Organic chemists have gained substantial command over the synthesis ofsmall complex molecules. But the goal of constructing largewell-defined molecules has been more elusive.

--Donald A. Tomalia, "Dendrimer Molecules," ScientificAmerican


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