Coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas) connect elements of a sentence that carry equal weight or importance. These conjunctions are used to connect two items or two sentence parts (clauses) that are related, but could also work independently from each other.
You already learned about 3 essential conjunctions back in a previous lesson, (e and, mas but, ou or).
Coordinating conjunctions are divided into the following main categories:
- Copulative (copulativas)
- Disjunctive (disjuntivas)
- Adversative (adversativas)
- Conclusive (conclusivas)
- Explicative (explicativas)
You can continue reading for a breakdown of each of these. Don’t worry, we’ll also show them to you as needed in each individual lesson!
Copulative coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas copulativas) link similar parts of the sentence together with a simple additive effect. Here are a few common examples:
e and nem nor
não só... como também not only...but also tanto...como just as much as
Let’s see some examples of how to use these in a sentence:
Gosto de amarelo e de azul I like yellow and blue
Não tenho sede nem fome I am not thirsty nor hungry
Eu não só canto, como também danço Not only do I sing, but I also dance.
Ela tanto cozinha, como come She cooks as well as eats
mas butcan also be considered part of this group when it is used to mean e and
Example: Ela é bonita, mas também inteligente She is beautiful but also intelligent
Disjunctive coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas disjuntivas) express an idea of choice or alternative, that only one of the parts of the sentence can be true.
The most obvious example is ou or
Eu fico em casa, ou vou à rua I'll stay at home or I'll go to the street
Here are some examples of disjunctive conjunction phrases:
ora...ora sometimes...and sometimes
A avó ora educa, ora mima The grandmother sometimes disciplines and sometimes spoils.
Ou compro uma mota, ou compro um carro Either I buy a motorcycle or I buy a car
Adversative coordinative conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas adversativas) indicate a contrast between parts of the sentence.
The most common ones are mas but and no entanto however.
O cão é calmo; no entanto pode morder The dog is calm; however, it may bite
Tu tens sono, mas não podes dormir You are tired but you can't sleep
Some less common adversative conjunctions are porém however, contudo however, todavia however, ainda assim even so and apesar disso despite this.
Ela não tem fome, porém tem de comer She is not hungry; however, she has to eat
Estou doente, contudo vou trabalhar I am sick; however, I go to work
Eu trabalho muito, todavia ganho pouco I work a lot; however, I earn little
Eu não nado. Ainda assim, entro na água I do not swim. Even so, I enter the water
Não gosto de álcool. Apesar disso, vou experimentar I do not like alcohol. Despite this, I will try
The conjunctions e, agora, and quando can also be considered adversative when they are used to mean mas but:
Tu falas, e não dizes nada You speak and you don't say anything
Sou bom, agora, parvo não sou I am nice but I'm not an idiot
Tu erraste, quando poderias ter acertado You messed up when you could have been right
They can appear in the middle of a sentence or at the beginning:
Está a chover. Mas vou sair à mesma It is raining. But I'll go anyway
Gosto de doces. No entanto, sou magro I like sweets. However, I'm skinny
Conclusive coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas conclusivas), as the name implies, express a consequence or conclusion. These are similar to explicative coordinating conjunctions, but they more specifically indicate a cause and effect relationship between parts of the sentence.
The most common simple conjunction is portanto therefore.
Não quero ir, portanto não vou I don't want to go, therefore I won't go
In the right context, pois and logo can also be included in this group (although as standalone words they don’t really have clear English translations).
Está frio. Não vou, pois, sair It's cold so I won't go
Não estuda, logo não tem boas notas She doesn't study, so she doesn't have good grades
Here are some common conjunction phrases included in this group:
por isso for that reason
por conseguinte consequently
Ela não toma banho, por conseguinte cheira mal She doesn't take baths; consequently, she smells bad
Explicative coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas explicativas), link parts of the sentence to indicate a reason or explanation.
The most common are:
Acho que estou doente, porque tenho frio I think I am sick because I feel cold
Como tenho frio, devo estar doente As I feel cold, I must be sick
Explicative conjunctions are often used in combination with the “imperativo” verb form (which is used to express a command).
Fecha a porta, pois está frio Close the door since it is cold