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English Language > English Grammar > Conjunctions and Prepositions
English Grammar

Conjunctions and Prepositions

In English grammar, we often form long and complex sentences. There are a few connecting words that help us build the bridges between two simple sentences and allow us to form fuller sentences. Let us learn about two such connecting categories of words Conjunctions and Prepositions.

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Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link other words to form complex sentences. A conjunction does not abide by any particular rules, they can connect any two words together (does not have to be nouns, pronouns, adjectives). Because conjunctions can connect two verbs, we use them to connect simple sentences.

Some common examples of conjunctions are: and, because, but, yet etc.

  • She will pick up the eggs and the vegetables from the market
  • He wanted to study but he could not find the time
  • She was late because her car broke down.

Conjunctions and Prepositions

(Source: thelifeshaper.com)

Types of Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

These are connecting words that can join words, sentences, phrases etc that are of the same grammatical rank (similar syntax). The most common coordinating conjunctions are and, for, but, so, or, yet, nor etc. Let us look at some example

  • She went to get food and some medicines from the grocery store
  • Mr. Jones neede a vacation but he could not afford to leave work.
  • There were no buses that day so I took the car

Correlative Conjunctions

These conjunctions are in pairs. They are to be written together in the same sentence. Some examples are neither and nor, either and or, not only and but also. Some examples are

  • Either we catch the next train or we will have to walk home
  • Neither Adam nor his sister was at home
  • Not only did he break the window, but he also refused to pay the damages

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Subordinating Conjunctions

These are the conjunctions that come before and introduce the subordinating or dependent part/clause of a sentence. They join the dependent and the independent clauses. It will usually indicate a contrast or an effect or some such relation. Some common subordinating conjunctions are, after, before, until, though, etc.

  • I don’t want to go to class because I did not finish my assignment.
  • After we get home we will start cooking dinner
  • Until Alex comes home, we cannot leave the house.

Prepositions

Prepositions too are connecting words that help make sense of a sentence. They generally connect a noun or a pronoun with the rest of the sentence. They precede nouns/pronouns in a sentence and help to form the relation of the noun with the sentence. For example, Alex left his books at school.

Some other examples of preposition are too, with, of, between, on, until, behind etc. These prepositions at a time, or a location or direction or some type of relation. Let us see a few examples of all.

  • Time: We have not been to church since Christmas
  • Direction: Once you see the post office turn to the right
  • Location: Alex saw his teacher at the supermarket
  • Space: The book was under his bag the whole time

Conjunctions vs Prepositions

There are some words that can be both conjunctions and prepositions. There are certain subordinating conjunctions which are also prepositions. Some such examples are: before, after, until, since etc.

If the word is followed by a dependent or subordinating clause then it is a conjunction. If the following words are objects, nouns or pronouns then it will be a preposition. Let us look at some examples

Alex decided to wait until sunrise to go home Here until is followed by the noun ‘sunrise’ and so is a preposition
Alex will wait here until we finish talking about his behavior Here until connects the subject of the sentence to its dependent clause, so it is a conjunction
I have been having these dreams since December Here since is followed by a noun, so it is a preposition in this case
I have been having these dreams since the accident Here since connects the independent and the dependent clauses of the sentence. so it is a conjunction

Solved Examples

Q: Such was his handwriting (1) as I could not (2) read anything (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The correct option is B. The correct conjunction here will be “that”. so the correct sentence will be, “Such was his handwriting that I could not read anything”

Q: Not only (1) was the bus driver very late (2) but he was rude (3) to the passengers. Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The answer is B. Not only/but also are correlative conjunctions and must always be used together in a sentence. In the above sentence ‘also’ is missing. The correct sentence will be “Not only was the bus driver very late but he was also very rude to the passengers.”

Q: Hardly Alex had (1) reached his class when the teacher (2) started handing out the exam papers (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The correct option is A. Hardly is a conjunction that should be immediately followed by the verb. So the correct sentence will be, “Hardly had Alex reached his class when the teacher started handing out the exam papers.”

Q: My uncle asked (1) me to inquire if all the trains (2) were upon time (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The correct answer is C. Upon is a proposition of space. Here the correct preposition will be ‘on’ which relates to time. So the correct sentence will be, “My uncle asked me to inquire if all the trains were on time.”

Practice Questions

Q: The prisoner was (1) found guilty about (2) the robbery (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: B (for, not about)

Q: We must cultivate (1) a habit to (2) being on time since a young age (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: B (of not to)

Q: He was neither tall or skinny (1) as per the (2) given description (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: A (either is followed by ‘nor’ not ‘or’)

Q: Mr Jones had decided (1) to leave both his job or his home (2) and move to Chicago (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: B (and is the correct conjunction, not or)

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