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Dirty Grammar–Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

Independent clauses are the backbone of writing. They’re sentences. In their simplest form, they have a subject and verb, and they tell you something that makes sense. Independent clauses can be linked with other independent or dependent clauses to make compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences. Conjunctions are used to link them together. Coordinating conjunctions are the most recognizable—and, or, but, yet, for, nor, so. In her book Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, Grammar Girl calls them FANBOYS. If you rearrange the order of my list, you’ll see why.

Elena 500Here are examples from Elena and Those Holland Boys by Nicoline Tiernan:

 Elena’s small tits bounced, and she had to lean forward to brace herself. Her wrists were still bound, and the tie draped over his chest.

Note that these sentences example have the same pattern. While this is okay to do, especially if you want to draw attention to similarities or create a hypnotizing effect. However don’t overdo it. The sentences surrounding it can’t have the same structure. It will bore the reader. You don’t want to hypnotize them too much during a sex scene. After all, that’s likely the main reason they bought the book.

Here’s another example from Elena and Those Holland Boys:

 Without warning, he flipped her so that she was on her back, and then he pushed her knees to her chest.

 Sometimes writers are tempted to use “then” as a conjunction. Don’t. It’s usually an adverb (see above example), though it can also be used as a noun or adjective.

Here’s another example, just for fun. It’s from Tristan’s Lover by Nicoline Tiernan:

Tristan pulled his mouth off with a pop as the suction was lost. “You stop and I stop.” He didn’t want to stop, but he knew that torturing Eric like that would make the orgasm so much more enjoyable.Tristan's Lover 500

Okay, “as” is a subordinating conjunction, meaning it connects a subordinate (dependent) clause to an independent clause. The action coming afterward (the suction being lost) is dependent upon the first action (Tristan pulling his  mouth off). Don’t worry—Tristan continues the blowjob, but not without making Eric do exactly what he wants!

Source Citations:

I learned grammar from a variety of sources, mostly textbooks and editors. I don’t know the exact editions of the books, but in my teaching, I’ve used grammar textbooks and workbooks from Glencoe, Prentice Hall, and Houghton Mifflin. I’m also partial to those Sentence Composing for Elementary and Middle School workbooks from Don and Jenny Killgallon, which I use regularly in my classroom. I also love Grammar Garden, which is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, as they have great explanations and examples. Oh—and any credits wouldn’t be complete without giving a shout-out to Grammar Girl! I love her podcasts, and I’m working my way through her book during SSR when I’m not reading something else. Note that all of these sources contain G-rated examples. Dirty Grammar sticks to X-rated examples.


I’m Michele Zurlo, author of over 20 romance novels. During the day, I teach English, and in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips.

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