Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “conjunction”


noun [C] (CONNECTING WORD)    /kənˈdʒʌŋk.ʃən/ (written abbreviation conj)
B2 a word such as 'and', 'but', 'while', or ' although ' that connects words, phrases , and clauses in a sentence Parts of speech Grammar:ConjunctionsConjunctions are linking words like and, or, but, then and because:Grammar:And, but, either … or, etc. (coordinating conjunctions)Coordinating conjunctions connect items which are the same grammatical type, e.g. words, phrases, clauses. The most common coordinating conjunctions are and, or, but.Grammar:After, although, as soon as, etc. (subordinating conjunctions)Common subordinating conjunctions are: after, (al)though, as, before, if, since, that, until, when, whereas, while, once, so, as soon as, provided that. When a clause follows these conjunctions, it becomes a subordinate clause, which needs a main clause to make a complete sentence.Grammar:Position of subordinating conjunctionsWords and phrases such as above all, anyway, as a result, as well, eventually, firstly, however, overall, rather, then, therefore, though, on the contrary (linking adjuncts) can create similar meanings to conjunctions (e.g. adding, cause and effect). These words are adverb phrases and can come in any position which an adverb can occupy:Grammar:Conjunctions: addingGrammar:Adding with andOne of the main uses of conjunctions is to add phrases and clauses together. The most common conjunction for adding is and:Grammar:Adding with and … tooGrammar:Adding with as well as and in addition toAs well as is more common than in addition to. In addition to is more formal and used more in writing than in speaking:Grammar:Conjunctions: causes, reasons, results and purposeConjunctions describing causes, reasons, results and purpose are subordinating conjunctions.Grammar:Conjunctions: causes, reasons and resultsThe following conjunctions are commonly used to connect causes/reasons and results. Because, as and since are very similar in meaning.Grammar:Conjunctions: purposeWe use the following conjunctions to talk about purposes or goals. So and so that are more common than so as and in order that. So as is rather informal. In order that is more formal than the others.Grammar:Conjunctions: contrastingThe conjunctions but and although/though connect ideas that contrast. Whereas is also used but it is not as common:Grammar:ButBut is a coordinating conjunction used to connect ideas that contrast. Coordinating conjunctions connect items which are the same grammatical type.Grammar:Although/thoughAlthough/though can be used to contrast ideas. Although/though are subordinating conjunctions used to connect a subordinate clause to a main clause, like after, as, before, if, since, that, even though, even if.Grammar:But or although?But cannot be used in the same way as although/though. We use but to connect items which are the same grammatical type (coordinating conjunction).Grammar:Even though, even ifEven though and even if are also used as subordinating conjunctions in the same way as although/though. Even though is similar to although but it makes a stronger contrast:Grammar:Conjunctions: typical errors[from a brochure advertising an English course in London]Grammar:Conjunctions: timeWhen, after, before, until, since, while, once, as and as soon as are subordinating conjunctions which can be used to connect an action or an event to a point in time.Grammar:When, once, as soon asWe can use when, once, as and as soon as to talk about a specific point in time when something happened or will happen:Grammar:Before, after and untilWe use before and after to talk about the order of events in the past or future. With before and after, either the main clause or the subordinate clause can come first:Grammar:WhileWe use while to show that actions or events happen at the same time in the past, present or future:
(Definition of conjunction noun (CONNECTING WORD) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of conjunction

More definitions for “conjunction”

Definitions of “conjunction” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


relating to behaviour between people that is pleasant and friendly, often despite a difficult situation

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More