Conjunctions and other linking words

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término English
definición English

I've got a headache, and I feel sick.
We join two main clauses together with the conjunctions and, but and or.
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Two main clauses

We can go if you like. If you like, we can go. We'll go when this film's over. When this film's over, we'll go.
A sub clause can begin with a conjunction, e.g. if, when, because, so far.
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Sub clauses (with if, when etc.)
A sub clause with if, when etc., can come before or after the main clause.

It said in the paper (that) it finishes at ten. It finishes at ten, it said in the paper.
A reported clause begins with that or has no conjunction.
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Reported clauses
A reported clause usually comes after the main clause.

The film that came first was awful. "Love in the East", which came first, was awful.
A relative clause begins with a relative pronoun.
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relative clauses
A relative clause comes after the noun it tells us about.

When/While/As I was eating my lunch, the fire alarm rang suddenly. He wanted to have everything ready before the guests arrived.
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Clauses of time can come either before or after the main clause.

After/When she had wrapped up the parcel, she took it to the post office. I came as soon as I heard the news.
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Clauses of time: after, when, before, as soon as

We can wait here till/until the rain stops. We haven't seen Sue since she came back from her holiday.
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Clauses of time: till, until, since

Sub clauses with that and with questions words
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We can use these sub clauses as subject or object of a sentence, after be, or after an adjective.

The problem is (that) we haven't got a key. I forgot (that) he was coming today. I'm worried (that) you might hurt yourself.
It seems unlikely (that) the experiment will succeed. That the experiment will succeed seems unlikely.
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With that.
We can leave out that in informal English except at the beginning of a sentence.

I'm trying to find out when the concert is. No one can understand how the accident happened.
Sarah wasn't sure where she'd put the letter. What we're going to do about it is the important question.
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With questions words
The word order after a question word is the same as in a statement (not a question).

Stephen rides a motor-bike, and he can drive a car (too/as well). Stephen rides a motor-bike. He can drive a car too/as well.
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too and as well usually come at the end of a clause.

Jenny can't sing, and she can't dance either. Jenny can't sing. She can't dance either.
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We use either instead of too in a negative sentence.

The old man couldn't read or write.
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We normally use or instead of and to link two words or phrases after a negative.

Stephen rides a motor-bike. He can also drive a car.
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also usually has mid position.

David likes modern jazz as well as pop music. He likes both pop music and modern jazz. Jean is not only a good singer but also a first-class guitarist.
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as well as, both... and and not only... but also are more emphatic.

We can buy a colour television or a black and white one.
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We use or to talk about an alternative.

We can buy either a colour television or a black and white one. We can either buy a television or hire one. There isn't any sport today on BBC or on ITV/either on BBC or on ITV.
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We can use either and or in a positive or a negative sentence.

Neither BBC nor ITV is/are showing any sport.
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neither and nor have a negative meaning. We use either and neither to talk about two things.

America is a rich country, whereas/while India is a poor country. America is an industrial country. India, on the other hand, is an agricultural country.
on the other hand has mid position or comes after the subject. It can also have front or end position.
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Clauses of contrast: whereas, while and on the other hand

Clauses of contrast
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but, though, however etc.

Thousands of pupils are leaving school, but there are no jobs for them.
There are no jobs for them, though. There are, however, no jobs for them.
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As an adverb, though usually comes at the end of a sentence. Though is rather informal.
however often has mid position or comes after the subject. It can also have front or end position.

Although/Though/Even though Ann did well at school, she can't find a job. Ann can't find a job in spite of doing well at school.
We can also use in spite of + noun phrase, e.g. She can't find a job in spite of her exam results.
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Clauses with although, though and even though and with in spite of + -ing form can come either before or after the main clause.

Clauses of reason
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We can express reason with because, as or since

They didn't go because it was snowing. As/Since we were late, we didn't get any food.
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We can sometimes use because of + noun phrase instead of a clause, e.g. They didn't go because of the snow.

The government puts up taxes to get more money from us. We need more money in order to build more hospitals. They called a meeting so as to hear everyone's opinion.
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We can express purpose by using an infinitive after to, in order to or so as to. in order to and so as to are rather formal.

I wrote down the address so that I wouldn't forget it.
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We can express purpose by usin a clause with so that. We often use can, could, will, would or needn't.

Schools are for learning.
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We can express purpose by using for + -ing form

What's the meeting for? It's to discuss the new plan.
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We often answer the question What... for? in a sentence with to and the infinitive.

Clauses of result
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so, therefore etc.

The party wasn't very good, so I left early.
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(and) so always comes at the beginning of a clause, but it does not normally start a new sentence.

The management refused to increase wages, and the workers therefore went on strike.
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therefore often has mid position, but it can have front or end position.

The club bought two new players, and as a result they began to win more games.
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as a result and consequently often have front position but they can have mid or end position.

This year's harvest was very poor. Consequently the price of wheat has gone up dramatically.
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We can use therefore, as a result and consequently in a clause with and (e.g. and as a result...) or in a new sentence (e.g. Consequently...)

Clauses of result
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so/such ... (that)...

We laughed so much (that) it hurt. I was so tired (that) I fell asleep in the taxi.
It was such a lovely day (that) we simply had to go out somewhere. Tom talks such nonsense (that) no one listens to him any more.
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We can leave out that in informal speech.

Conditional clauses
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These clauses can come before or after the main clause.

We can stop if you want. Even if Marcia leaves now, she'll still be late. You can't go in unless you've got a ticket.
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unless = if ... not

We have to do the job whether we like it or not. You can borrow it as long as you give it back.
I don't mind working overtime provided (that) I'm paid for it. Take an umbrella in case it rains.
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Conditional clauses


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