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Chris Lele

SAT Writing – Coordinating Conjunctions

When he have independent clauses (sentences that can stand on their own), and want to join them, we can use a comma and either a coordinating or a subordinating conjunction.

First let’s deal with coordinating conjunctions:

F: For

A: And

N: Nor

B: But

O: Or

Y: Yet

S: So

Known as FANBOYS, these seven conjunctions will help you remember the coordinating conjunctions. It is important that you know the difference between these conjunctions and that you use the conjunctions appropriately.


Ex. 1) Kelly wanted to get straight A’s, and she studied every night and weekend.

Ex. 2) Kelly wanted to get straight A’s, so she studied every night and weekend.


In the first instance, we have ‘and’ and in the second we have ‘so.’ Only one of these words is correct. The other is an example of faulty coordination.

Kelly wants to achieve something, SO she does such-and-such. Therefore, the correct version of the sentence is Ex. 1).


Now let’s take a look at the following sentence:

Ex.1) Kelly was able to score at the top of the class, and she was even considered for the position of valedictorian later on.

Ex. 2) She was able to score at the top of the class, but she was even considered for the position of valedictorian later on.


‘But’ and ‘yet’ are conjunctions that show contrast. ‘And’ is a conjunction that shows that two independent clauses are related. In the examples directly above, we want a conjunction to connect, not to contrast, the idea that Kelly did two important things. So the correct answer is Ex. 1).


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About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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