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It can be a challenge to choose the best conjunction or dependent word for combining two thoughts. The word you choose will define the relationship between the clauses.

Notice the different meanings of the following sentences:

  • You're my friend and you smoke cigars
  • You're my friend but you smoke cigars.
  • You're my friend so you smoke cigars.
  • You're my friend because you smoke cigars.
  • You're my friend when you smoke cigars.
  • You're my friend unless you smoke cigars.
Learning the meanings and uses of each connecting word may take time and practice. Print out a copy of Chart 13, CLAUSE CONNECTORS. This chart organizes conjunctions and dependent words according to categories of purpose. It also includes a third group of connectors, the transitional expressions, which are examined in more detail in Chapter 9. Consult this chart for guidance as you combine sentences, and ask native English-speakers to check your connectors and explain any problems in your use of them.

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