English: How to Teach Conjunctions

Written by juan ramirez
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English: How to Teach Conjunctions
Teaching conjunctions can be made easier by using cloze sentences. (student image by Ivanna Buldakova from Fotolia.com)

Conjunctions are words which connect parts of a sentence, and there are three types: coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions are simple joiner words, and subordinating conjunctions establish a relationship between the dependent clause and the rest of the sentence. Correlative conjunctions are conjunction pairs that join two elements of a sentence.

Teaching students about conjunctions through the use of cloze sentences, in which students fill in the missing conjunctions, helps facilitate a better understanding by requiring students to use contextual information rather than rote memorisation.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Explain common conjunctions to your class as simple joiner words, and list the most common examples: "for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet" and "so."

  2. 2

    Give an example of a sentence containing a common conjunction.

    Example: "He seemed perfect for the job, but proved to be a disappointment."

  3. 3

    Explain to students that a comma should be placed before a coordinating conjunction if it joins two or more independent clauses. Point out that by doing this, they'll have joined two simple related sentences to create a compound sentence.

  4. 4

    Present a worksheet with multiple cloze sentences containing blanks where the coordinating conjunctions are supposed to be.

    Example: "You are not allowed to sit on the grass, ___ are you allowed to sit on the steps."

    Have students fill in these blanks, and then have the group discuss the answers.

  5. 5

    Complete this lesson by instructing students to identify and underline coordinating conjunctions on xeroxed handouts of previously published text.

  1. 1

    Explain subordinating conjunctions to your class as conjunctions that create a relationship between the dependent clause and the independent clause.

    List the numerous examples of subordinating conjunctions: "after," "although," "as," "as if," "as long as," "as much as," "as soon as," "as though," "because," "before," "despite," "even if," "even though," "how," "if," "in spite of," "in order that," "once," "since," "so that," "than," "that," "though," "unless," "until," "when," "whenever," "where," "wherever," "whether" and "while."

  2. 2

    Give an example of a sentence containing a subordinating conjunction.

    Example: "Unless you intend to clean the floor, you should place your dirty boots on the mat."

  3. 3

    Explain to students that subordinating conjunctions can be used to correct run-on sentences by adding one to a clause, and that commas should be placed after a dependent clause when it begins a sentence.

  4. 4

    Present a worksheet with multiple cloze sentences containing blanks where the subordinating conjunctions should be.

    Example: "__ all his worrying, the situation resolved itself nicely."

    Instruct the students to fill in these blanks, and then discuss the answers as a group.

  5. 5

    Finish this lesson on subordinating conjunctions by having students identify and underline subordinating conjunctions on xeroxed handouts of previously published text.

  1. 1

    Explain to students that correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that join to another conjunction within a sentence to make a conjunctive pair. Explain that this pairing connects two words, phrases or clauses within the sentence.

    List the common correlative conjunctions: "both-and," "from-to," "whether-or," "as-as," "such-that," "not-but," "neither-nor," "not only-but also," "as many-as," "just as-so," "either-or," "as-so" and "so-that."

  2. 2

    Give an example of a sentence containing a correlative conjunction.

    Example: "Either both sides agree about the rules, or we will have to call the game off."

  3. 3

    Explain to students that a comma should be placed before the second of the paired correlative conjunctions when the sentence ends with an independent clause. Explain further that the use of correlative conjunctions creates more complex and sophisticated sentences.

  4. 4

    Present a worksheet with multiple cloze sentences containing blanks where the correlative conjunctions should be.

    Example: " have you succeeded in meeting your goal, you have __ far surpassed it."

    Have students fill in these blanks, and then discuss the answers afterward as a group.

  5. 5

    Complete this lesson on correlative conjunctions by having students identify and underline correlative conjunctions on xeroxed handouts of previously published text.

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