You Need Conjunctions to Connect the Dots in Your Copywriting

Conjunctions in Copywriting

Lead Your Reader from Disbelief to Gotta-Have-it.

One school day, I doodled at my desk. Doodling kept my mind alert and my mouth quiet. It was a day like any other, and on that day, my teacher introduced conjunctions. I didn’t care about conjunctions, and she didn’t care I was doodling. After all, I was quiet, and that was good. 

The next Saturday morning, I realized conjunctions were fun because a train conductor sang, “Conjunction, junction, what’s your function?”  

Later, I started writing, and conjunctions transformed my writing — all because they combined ideas and made my writing flow. Now, as a copy/content writer, I can’t do without them, and you can’t either. Conjunctions connect the dots.  

What Are Conjunctions?

Conjunctions are words that connect words, phrases, and clauses and help your writing flow from one idea to the next. If you want your copy to sound less robotic, then all you need to add are conjunctions so that they connect the dots for your reader. So how do you do that? First, you’ll need to know the kinds of conjunctions. 

What Are the Kinds of Conjunctions?

Conjunctions come in three varieties: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. As a teacher, I taught my students the roots of these words to help them understand the difference. Coordinating words coordinate, subordinating words subordinate, and correlative words correlate. Each helps vary your writing and keeps it flowing from one idea to the next. 

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect equal ideas. If you use a coordinating conjunction, what’s on the left side of the conjunction has to equal what’s on the right side. 

So what does that mean? If you have a sentence on one side, then you must have a sentence on the other. If you have a noun on one side, then you need one on the right. In this way, your sentence structure will be parallel. 

Word + Conjunction + Word
Phrase + Conjunction + Phrase
Clause + Conjunction + Clause

A note about Oxford (serial) commas and coordinating conjunctions 

Using an Oxford comma is a stylistic preference. If you follow AP style, then you won’t use the last comma in a list before the conjunction. I prefer to use it, but the choice is yours. 

When you think of Coordinating Conjunctions in Copywriting, Think FANBOYS.

FANBOYS is the acronym I used to teach my students the list of coordinating conjunctions. 

fanboys - conjunctions in copywriting

FANBOYS is the acronym I used to teach my students the list of coordinating conjunctions. 

  • F – for,
  • A – and,
  • N – nor,
  • B – but,
  • O – or,
  • Y – yet, and
  • S – so.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions combine two clauses, one independent (think simple sentence) and one dependent (sometimes called a subordinate clause). The dependent clause cannot stand alone and needs an independent clause to form a complex sentence. So, the sentence structure looks like this

Subject + verb + subordinating conjunction + subject + verb.

OR

Subordinating conjunction + subject + verb, subject + verb 

You’ll see I’ve included the commas in these formats. You need one with the dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence but not at the end. Also, if a dependent clause  is not connected to an independent clause, it is a sentence fragment. It’s dependent; It cannot stand alone. 

If you write a dependent clause fragment, make sure you know you’re breaking the rule. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain that to my students and adult writers alike. 

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are an off-shoot of subordinating conjunctions. Basically, they’re adverbs in a conjunction’s clothing. As with all conjunctions, they connect two thoughts. But, conjunctive adverbs create an adverbial clause. By structuring your sentence this way, you bring these ideas together to create a stronger argument. Common conjunctive adverbs are

  • However,
  • Therefore,
  • Moreover,
  • Thus,
  • Nonetheless,
  • Nevertheless,
  • Thereby,
  • Hence, and
  • Also.

When you use them, be sure to punctuate them correctly. In complex sentences, follow this construction.

Subject + verb ; conjunctive adverb , subject + verb

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions work together, like peas and carrots. Each is a combination of  an adjective/adverb and a coordinating conjunction. To use them correctly, you cannot separate the peas from the carrots.  Separate, their meaning changes. 

  • Both … and,
  • Either … or,
  • Neither … nor,
  • Whether … or,
  • Not only … but also,
  • As … as,
  • Rather … than,
  • No sooner … later,
  • Just as … so,
  • Such … that, and 
  • Scarcely … when.

The lists above are not exhaustive, but here is a comprehensive one. 

Conjunctions come in three different forms, so writers have many ways to connect the dots for their readers. So, now you know what conjunctions are; here’s why you need them. 

Why You Need Conjunctions in Your Copywriting

Why You Need Conjunctions in Your Copywriting

  1. Connect Your Ideas — In connecting ideas, a conjunction takes something simple and makes it complex. Conjunctions can either draw ideas together or contrast them and in doing so, help to persuade your reader to buy the product/service you’re selling. 

2. Build Up Your Copy — The right conjunction can build up your copy, and the wrong one can tear it down. Look at the examples below:

Bad Copy: The Waldorf fountain pen is a traditional, fillable ink pen. But, I mean, it’s easy to fill. 

Great Copy: Keeper Software will save you hours of slogging through your books. And, saving time means saving money.

Using the word “and” in the great copy at the beginning of the second sentence, disrupts the reader’s thoughts and makes him/her think of a new reason to like Keeper. 

Psychologically, the word “but” negates anything after it. So, it negates the first sentence in the bad copy. In this case, using it here has the opposite effect that I intended. I almost sound like I’m whining. Whining does not sell fountain pens. 

3. Say More with Less — Using conjunctions combines words, phrases, and clauses. By combining ideas, you say more with fewer words. And, in today’s world, we need to capture the reader’s attention as soon as possible. Otherwise, they’ll bounce and not convert. And, converting is what copy is all about.

4. Make Copy Easy to Scan — Again, people don’t have a lot of time to consume the copy we write. With so much content showing up in their inboxes, they skim and scan for important facts. By using conjunctions, you create a dotted path through your copy that engages the reader and helps him/her scan for important connected ideas.  

How do Conjunctions Connect Ideas in Your Copywriting?

Conjunctions show a connection, or a disconnection in some cases, of ideas. Conjunctions can add, compare, contrast, emphasize, order, and correlate idea. When inserted into your copy, conjunctions guide the reader from one idea to the next, connecting the dots from huh-uh, now way, to yep, that’s right. And, when you can persuade a reader, you’re on your way to a conversion.

So there you have it. Conjunctions are important to your copy/content because they connect ideas. In a disconnected, and disjointed world full of distractions, giving your readers dots to follow through your copy will keep them interested in what you’re trying to sell. I’d love to hear what you’re thoughts are about conjunctions. Hit me up with your thoughts, comments, questions below.

Sign Up for Our Mailing List

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *