Coordinating Conjunctions Explained

So What is a coordinating conjunction?

Subordinating conjunctions sorted? Coordinating conjunctions are thankfully much simpler to wrap your head around.

Coordinating conjunctions FANBOYS
Coordinating conjunctions FANBOYS

Firstly, there are only seven:

for    and    nor    but    or    yet    so

FANBOYS is the ever-popular acronym that you can use to remember them.

They’re first introduced in Key Stage One: ‘and’ in Year One then in Year Two ‘but’ and ‘or’. These three provide children with simple ways to extend their sentences and begin to understand how conjunctions can be used to provide additional information (and) or contrast (but, or). The challenge comes in Key Stage Two when ‘nor’ and ‘for’ are introduced. Both of which are words we don’t use every day.

Starting with ‘nor’

Nor – a simple way to start is a ‘neither, nor’ sentence. It provides a clear structure for children to follow in their writing. 


The shop had neither strawberries nor blueberries.

Neither Dani nor Tia was allowed to the party.

It’s also important to make sure children don’t just try to use it to replace ‘or’ and learn that both parts of a sentence containing nor are negative.


I don’t like tuna nor do I like fish fingers.

My brother and sister weren’t allowed to go bowling nor were they allowed to go swimming.

Progressing to ‘for’

For – the tricky thing with for is distinguishing when it is used as a conjunction and when it is used as a preposition.

Remember this:

for followed by a noun = preposition

for in between two clauses = conjunction

It is more formal than other conjunctions so think carefully about the text type you are writing and when you want to introduce it. 

1.  Persuasive texts

You must listen to my advice for the country is in trouble.

2.  Balanced arguments

Some say banning plastic altogether is essential for the planet is in dire trouble. 

3.  Explanation texts

Tadpoles start their lives in eggs which consist of a jelly-like substance for they need a range of nutrients to survive which the egg provides.

4.  Newspaper reports

The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy for many lost their lives.

How Resourcefully can help:

Our coordinating conjunction resources provide you with a ready made tool to help children practice using coordinating conjunctions. They take the theory we’ve outlined here and put it in to practice for your class without you needing to plan from scratch.