8-1 Connecting Ideas with And
Connecting Items within a Sentence
(a) NO COMMA: I saw a cat and a mouse.
(b) COMMAS: I saw a cat, a mouse, and a dog.
When and connects only TWO WORDS (or phrases) within a sentence, NO COMMA is used, as in (a).
When and connects THREE OR MORE items within a sentence, COMMAS are used, as in (b).*
Connecting Two Sentences
(c) COMMA: I saw a cat, and you saw a mouse.
When and connects TWO COMPLETE SENTENCES (also called "independent" clauses), a COMMA is usually used, as in (c).
(d) PERIOD: I saw a cat. You saw a mouse.
(e) INCORRECT: I saw a cat, you saw a mouse.
Without and, two complete sentences are separated by a period, as in (d), not a comma.**
A complete sentence begins with a capital letter; note that You is capitalized in (d).
* In a series of three or more items, the momma before and is optional.
ALSO CORRECT: I saw a cat, a mouse and a dog.
** A "period" (the dot used at the end of a sentence) is called a "full stop" in British English.
8-2 Connecting Ideas with But and Or
(a) I went to bed but couldn't sleep.
(b) Is a lemon sweet or sour?
(c) Did you order coffee, tea, or milk?
And, but, and or are called "coordinating conjunctions."
Like and, but and or can connect items within a sentence.
Commas are used with a series of three or more items, as in (c).
I dropped the vase. = a sentence
It didn't break. = a sentence
(d) I dropped the vase, but it didn't break.
(e) Do we have class on Monday, or is Monday a holiday?
A comma is usually used when but or or combines two complete (independent) sentences into one sentence, as in (d) and (e).
A conjunction can also come at the beginning of a sentence, except in formal writing.
ALSO CORRECT: I dropped the vase. But it didn't break. / I saw a cat. And you saw a mouse.
8-3 Connecting Ideas with So
(a) The room was dark, so I turned on a light.
So can be used as a conjunction, as in (a). It is preceded by a comma. It connects the ideas in two independent clauses.
So expresses results:
cause: The room was dark.
result: I turned on a light.
COMPARE: The room was dark, but I didn't turn on a light.
But often expresses an unexpected result, as in (b).
8-4 Using Auxiliary Verbs after But
(a) I don't like coffee, but my husband does.
(b) I like tea, but my husband doesn't.
(c) I won't be here tomorrow, but Sue will.
(d) I've seen that movie, but Joe hasn't.
(e) He isn't here, but she is.*
After but, often only an auxiliary verb is used. It has the same tense or modal as the main verb.
In (a): does = likes coffee
Notice in the examples:
negative + but + affirmative
affirmative + but + negative
8-5 Using And + Too, So, Either, Neither
(a) Sue works, and Tom does too. (S + AUX + TOO)
(b) Sue works, and so does Tom. (SO + AUX + S)
In affirmative statements, an auxiliary verb + too or so can be used after and.
Examples (a) and (b) have the same meaning.
subject + auxiliary + too
So + auxiliary + subject
(c) Ann doesn't work, and Joe doesn't either. (S + AUX + EITHER)
(d) Ann doesn't work, and neither does Joe. (NEITHER + AUX + S)
An auxiliary verb + either or neither are used with negative statements.
Examples (c) and (d) have the same meaning.
subject + auxiliary + either
neither + auxiliary + subject
NOTE: An affirmative auxiliary is used with neither.
(e) I'm hungry.
I am too. / So am I.
(f) I don't eat meat.
I don't either. / Neither do I.
And is not usually used when there are two speakers.
(g) I'm hungry.
Me too. (informal)
(h) I don't eat meat.
Me (n)either. (informal)
Me too, me either, and me neither are often used in informal spoken English.
8-6 Connecting Ideas with Because
(a) He drank water because he was thirsty.
Because expresses a cause; it gives a reason. Why did he drink water? Reason: He was thirsty.
(b) MAIN CLAUSE: He drank water.
A main clause is a complete sentence:
He drank water = a complete sentence
(c) ADVERB CLAUSE: because he was thirsty
An adverb clause is NOT a complete sentence:
because he was thirsty = NOT a complete sentence
Because introduces an adverb clause:
because + subject + verb = an adverb clause
(d) He drank water because he was thirsty.
(e) Because he was thirsty, he drank water.
An adverb clause is connected to a main clause, as in (d) and (e).
In (d): main clause + no comma + adverb clause
In (e): adverb clause + comma + main clause
Examples (d) and (e) have exactly the same meaning.
(f) INCORRECT IN WRITING:
He drank water. Because he was thirsty.
Example (f) is incorrect in written English: Because he was thirsty cannot stand alone as a sentence that starts with a capital letter and ends with a period. It has to be connected to a main clause, as in (d) and (e).
(g) CORRECT IN SPEAKING:
Why did he drink some water?
Because he was thirsty.
In spoken English, an adverb clause can be used as the short answer to a question, as in (g).
8-7 Connecting Ideas with Even Though/Although
(a) Even though I was hungry, I did not eat.
I did not eat even though I was hungry.
(b) Although I was hungry, I did not eat.
I didn't eat although I was hungry.
Even though and although introduce an adverb clause.
Examples (a) and (b) have the same meaning:
I was hungry, but I did not eat.
(c) Because I was hungry, I ate.
(d) Even though I was hungry, I did not eat.
Because expresses an expected result, as in (c).
Even though/although expresses an unexpected or opposite result, as in (d).