FANBOYS: Example Sentences by Native English Teacher

FANBOYS is a mnemonic tool in English to help us remember the coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

What is a coordinating conjunction?

A coordinating conjunction is a function word used to join together two words or phrases. Its job is to show the relationship between the terms it connects.

It can connect two adjectives, two verbs, two nouns, two phrases, or two independent clauses.

When we use a coordinating conjunction to connect two independent clauses, it must be followed by a comma.

Why is the use of coordinating conjunctions important? 

These little words have a huge impact on how clear your meaning is to readers.

If you’re not sure about the proper use of coordinating conjunctions, it may be helpful to read your writing out loud. If it doesn’t sound right, you probably need to make some adjustments!

Grammarly is a tool that can help you improve your writing and show you how to add these coordinating conjunctions with the correct punctuation. Check out Grammarly here.

In this article, we’ll take a look at examples of how conjunctions work within a sentence.

What does the acronym FANBOYS mean?

FANBOYS is a mnemonic device in English to help students remember the coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember because they all start with the letters of FANBOYS.

What are the 7 FANBOYS?

F- For

A- And

N- Nor

B- But

O- Or

Y- Yet

S- So

FANBOYS Example Sentences

Let’s take a look at the FANBOYS conjunctions with some examples of when we can use them.

FANBOYS Examples

FOR

Used to express cause, purpose, or intention.

Example sentences with “FOR”:

  • I went to the religious service, for I love to pray.
  • I prefer living in the countryside, for it is peaceful and quiet.

Using ‘for’ as a coordinating conjunction sounds a little formal, and we usually prefer to use ‘because’ nowadays).

‘FOR’ can be confusing as it is also used as a preposition.

For example,

  • I bought flowers for Lucy.
  • I arranged a taxi for Luke.

When it explains why (like ‘because’) it is being used as a coordinating conjunction.

AND

Used to express addition or agreement.

Example sentences with “AND”: 

  • I like to eat apples and oranges every day. (connecting nouns)
  • The dog ran and jumped into the water. (connecting verbs)
  • She is smart and pretty. (connecting adjectives)
  • She’s both smart and pretty. (emphatic coordination: both….and. Used to add emphasis)
  • He completed his driving test slowly and carefully. (connecting adverbs)
  • I love working with animals, and I want to own a farm someday. (connecting independent clauses)

NOR

Used to express a negative idea in a sentence. We can say it instead of “or” to emphasize the second verb, adjective, etc.

Example sentences with “NOR” 

  • It’s not hot, nor cold. (connecting adjectives)
  • She didn’t visit that month, nor the next month. (connecting nouns)
  • I don’t want to brush my teeth, nor see the dentist. (connecting verbs)
  • The boy neither smiled nor laughed when he got older. (connecting verbs: this structure is the opposite of both…and. It is usually rather formal).
  • Neither the medicine nor the surgery made the dog feel better. (connecting nouns)
  • He drove neither slowly nor carefully for his driving test. (connecting adverbs)

BUT 

Used to show contrast or opposition. “Not this, but that.”

Example sentences with “BUT”:

  • They were poor but happy.
  • I like vanilla ice cream but not chocolate.
  • The learner driver drove the bus slowly but surely.
  • The noise was not coming from the engine but rather the wheel.
  • He cannot sing, but he can dance very well.

OR 

Used to express an alternative option or choice.

Example sentences with “OR”:

  • Do you want tea or coffee?
  • You can either have tea or coffee. (We sometimes add either…or when talking about choice.)
  • He doesn’t like tea or coffee. (after a negative verb, we use ‘or’ not ‘and’)
  • The staff members were not friendly or helpful.
  • Laura could go to her gym class, or she could take a nap.
  • He’s either in Nevada or Hawaii.

YET 

Used to introduce an exception or something surprising in a sentence.

Example sentences with “YET”:

  • She’s not tall, yet she can play volleyball well.
  • I’m tired today, yet I will attend the party anyway!
  • The fish was salty yet delicious.
  • She wanted to go to the party, yet she had work to do.

SO

Shows the cause and effect. It shows the results of something.

Example sentences with “SO”:

  • Mary was tired, so she went to bed early.
  • It is raining heavily, so I will bring an umbrella.
  • I am allergic to nuts, so I can’t eat that.

You may also be interested in: 15 Best Online English Courses Free & Paid (2022)

Punctuation with FANBOYS

Independent clauses are sentences that can stand on their own, like “the cat is fat.”

When FANBOYS connects two independent clauses or ideas in one sentence, we add the comma in front of the FANBOYS.

When we don’t connect two complete ideas, we don’t need to put a comma in the sentence.

For example:

  • I am a great tennis player, and people enjoy watching my tennis games. (Two clauses as its own sentence: comma required)
  • I like apples and oranges. (Connecting nouns: no comma required)

Commas with ‘AND’ and ‘OR’

We can separate ‘and’ and ‘or’ with commas in a list. This will depend on the style guide you use.

Correct: I love oranges, apples, bananas, lemons, and mangos.

Also correct: I love oranges, apples, bananas, lemons and mangos.

Correct: I’m not too fond of peas, olives or cucumbers.

Also correct: I’m not too fond of peas, olives, or cucumbers.

This is known as the serial (or Oxford) comma, and it can be used for the last item in a series. Some style guides require it, whereas other style guides are against it. Consult your style guide if you are unsure!

Grammarly is a tool that can help you improve your writing and show you how to add these coordinating conjunctions with the correct punctuation. Check out Grammarly here.

Coordinating Conjunctions VS Subordinating Conjunctions

Aside from coordinating conjunctions, we also have subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions are formed with two independent clauses, whereas subordinating conjunctions are created with one independent and one dependent clause.

For more advanced reading about independent and dependent clauses, sentence structure and types read:

Complex Sentence Examples: How to Form For Better Writing.

SO is used as coordinating conjunction and subordinating conjunction.

For example:

  • I love running, so I run every day.

In the above example, the word ‘so’ is a coordinating conjunction because it connects two independent clauses. ‘So’ means ‘therefore.’

  • I hid the biscuit tin so no one would find it.

In the above example, the word ‘so’ is a subordinating conjunction that causes a dependent clause to modify. ‘So’ means ‘so that.’

In Conclusion:

Coordinating conjunctions don’t have to be tricky! We use them naturally in our everyday sentences.

FANBOYS helps writers and speakers connect ideas. It can help us organize our thoughts and express them clearly.

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain and online. I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others! I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. I also like a good Guinness! Please share this post if you find it helpful; I really appreciate it. Thank you!

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