Russian Language Grammar

    Classification and Functions of Conjunctions

Conjunctions are auxiliary parts of speech which express a connection between words, groups of words, or sentences:

перо и карандаш

a pen and a pencil

пачка папирос и коробка спичек

a pack of cigarettes and a box of matches

Я не знал, что он уехал.

I did not know that he left.

Conjunctions are divided into two groups, one expressing coordination, and the other subordination.


A.  Coordinate conjunctions join words or sentences which are equally important in the speaker's mind:

брат и сестра

the brother and the sister

Он там, а она здесь.

Не is there, and she is here.

Coordinate conjunctions have various functions:

(a)  They join words or sentences.

(b)  They express contrast or opposition.

(c) They express choice or alternation.

(d) They have an explanatory meaning.


 B.  Subordinate conjunctions join two clauses. One of these (the main clause) prevails in importance:

Я не иду на работу, потому что я себя плохо чувствую. I am not going to work because I don't feel well.
Можно ему позвонить, хотя боюсь, что его нет дома.  We could phone him, although I am afraid he is not at home.

Subordinate conjunctions may express or help to express:

(a)  Reason or cause.

(b) Purpose.

(c) Consequence.

(d) Condition.

(e) Concession.

(f) Comparison.

(g) Time or Temporal Relations.

(h) Ideas or Feelings.


Conjunctions are divided into simple, such as и (and); но (but); или (or), and compound, such as потому что (because); как только (as soon as); для того чтобы (in order to).