Coordinating Conjunctions in English: And, But and Yet
The English language boasts seven coordinating conjunctions that are immensely useful to scholars who write to disseminate their research. In alphabetical order they are AND, BUT, FOR, OR, NOR, SO, and YET, with the capitalisation used here for clarity only. As their name implies, coordinating conjunctions join two or more clauses, phrases or words in a way that gives equal emphasis and equal syntactic importance to all of the joined elements. This does not mean, however, that coordinating conjunctions cannot express contradiction, progression or effect; indeed, some of them do those very things. It also does not mean that they are always easy to use, particularly for those who are new to writing in English. In the following notes I provide some tips on using AND, BUT and YET, and I offer some examples of correct usage as well.
AND is probably the most commonly used of all coordinating conjunctions. It adds things together, so it is often used to join independent clauses into compound sentences, as in ‘The professor wrote the paper, and his assistant proofread it carefully.’ A comma is often used before the conjunction, but may not be necessary in short sentences, especially when the subject remains the same: ‘The professor wrote the paper last week and this week she submitted it for publication.’ AND can also be used in a list or series such as ‘The professor wrote the paper, edited it carefully and submitted it for publication.’ A comma might be used before the conjunction here if preferred by the author, indicated by guidelines or required for clarity.
BUT joins independent clauses as well, but it expresses a contrast or contradiction between the first and the second clause, as in ‘The professor wrote the paper, but he did not edit it’ or ‘She followed most of the guidelines, but she neglected some of them.’ As a general rule a comma should be used before this conjunction in such constructions, but some authors do so only when the comma is necessary for clarity. Other constructions that use the conjunction BUT do not require a comma, so when it bears the meaning ‘except,’ no comma is needed: ‘The child was so upset when the doll broke that she could do nothing but weep.’ The proverbial ‘It never rains but it pours,’ conveying metaphorically the concept that whenever troubles come they come in droves, is similar in not requiring a comma. If one is added, the meaning changes. ‘It never rains, but it pours’ will be read literally with the meaning that it does not simply rain in whatever place is specified, but pours instead.
YET in its role as a conjunction is very similar to BUT. It joins clauses to express a contradictory or contrasting concept that follows the preceding idea in a logical fashion. ‘He always seems to proofread his papers carefully, yet he never catches all the errors’ is a good example of the effective use of YET. Shorter phrases and words can be similarly joined by this conjunction, as in ‘She had a desire for perfection, yet no patience at all’ and ‘He was wise, yet careless.’
Remember when you are using conjunctions that they most correctly appear in the midst of sentences to join other parts of speech. Spoken and informal written English frequently place them at the beginning of sentences, but this is still considered poor style by some readers, such as acquisitions editors and university instructors, and a more formal style is usually required for scholarly writing. It is therefore wise to avoid the use of conjunctions at the beginning of sentences except in rare circumstances for effect, and the rarer such constructions are in your prose, the more effective they will be.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At proofreading services we pride ourselves on the exceptionally dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals who provide our English editing and proofreading services. Our editors and proofreaders are highly educated native speakers of English who have undergone rigorous training in expert editing practices, and their fields of study and specialisation range so widely that we are able to help our clients improve and polish research manuscripts of all kinds for successful publication. Many members of our research paper editing and proofreading team focus on journal editing, manuscript editing, scientific manuscript editing, academic proofreading, academic editing, dissertation proofreading services, professional proofreading, thesis editing services and scientific proofreading, assisting authors with articles that will be submitted to scientific and academic journals by ensuring that the formatting and references in their manuscripts conform to the relevant guidelines with precision and by correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and typing errors to enable the clear and accurate communication of original research that acquisitions editors expect in publishable papers.
Our scientific editing, medical editing, bioscience editing, life science editing, environmental science editing, pharmaceutical science editing, physical science editing, agricultural science editing, LaTeX paper editing, social science editing, political science editing, engineering paper editing, psychology editing, research paper editing, manuscript editing, humanities editing, journal article editing, biomedical science editing, planetary science editing, plant science editing, material science editing, veterinary science editing, behavioural science editing and neurosurgery editing services for authors of scientific papers and reports are especially popular, but we also excel at book editing and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit books and papers of all kinds across every scholarly discipline. Some of our carefully trained editors and proofreaders work exclusively on PhD thesis editing, master’s dissertation proofreading, bachelor’s dissertation proofreading, thesis editing, dissertation editing, thesis proofreading and dissertation proofreading, applying their education and instructional skills in providing thesis editing and dissertation proofreading services that help advanced students to improve the formatting and language of their theses and dissertations and thereby increase their chances of degree success. Whether you are preparing a conference or class presentation, putting the final touches to a professional report for colleagues or tackling the challenging task of editing any kind of academic or scientific document for publication, a qualified member of our outstanding proofreading and editing team will be delighted to provide proofreading and editing services and boost your confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.
We also offer the following services:
Journal Article Editing
Research Paper Editing
Grant Application Editing
Conference Paper Editing
Agricultural Science Editing
Chemistry Paper Editing
Environmental Science Editing
LaTeX Paper Editing Services
Life Science Editing
Material Science Editing
Medical Editing Services
Pharmaceutical Science Editing
Physical Sciences Editing
Planetary Science Editing
Plant Science Editing
Sports Science Editing
Veterinary Science Editing
Social Sciences Editing Services
Behavioural Science Editing
History Paper Editing
Management Studies Editing
Political Science Editing
Engineering Paper Editing
Law Paper Editing
PhD Thesis Editing
Master’s Dissertation Editing
Bachelor’s Dissertation Editing
Thesis Editing Services
Dissertation Editing Services
Thesis Proofreading Services
Dissertation Proofreading Services