FANBOYS (also known as Coordinating Conjunctions)

fan BOYS

You’ve no doubt used coordinating conjunctions, even if you aren’t totally sure what these words are. The words and, but, or – these are some examples of the seven coordinating conjunctions that exist in the English language.

Here is the complete list:


Notice that these seven words form an acronym: FANBOYS. This can help you remember the whole list more easily. Understanding all of these words can help you take your writing to the next level. Coordinating conjunctions tell your reader very important information about the relationships between your independent clauses, letting you clarify meaning with relatively short words. 

For example, it wouldn’t make complete sense to say this:

I love chocolate ice cream, AND I hate vanilla.

This doesn’t flow because the word AND signifies that you will add more examples of ice cream flavors that you enjoy. A better usage would be this:

I love chocolate ice cream, BUT I hate vanilla.

Here are the basic meanings of the seven FANBOYS:


As seen in the above chart, you would use BUT to indicate that the next clause will be in opposition or contrast to the previous one (this is why you need BUT in the ice cream example above).

So the next time you are revising and polishing an essay, consider using these words to express precisely what you want to convey to your reader.

If you want a higher dosage of this Grammar Rx, check out this Grammar Bytes lesson!



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