Some conjunctions and their uses – Part 2

As a conjunction than follows an adjective or adverb in the comparative degree.
  • Wisdom is better than riches.
  • He is wiser than I am.
  • I am smarter than you are.
Lest is used as a subordinating conjunction expressing a negative purpose. It has a similar meaning to ‘for fear that’.
  • He fled lest he should be killed.
Note that lest is rare in modern English. Also note that the only auxiliary that can follow lest is should.
While is used to mean:
a) during the time that; as long as; as
  • While there is life, there is hope.
  • While they were sleeping, the robbers broke in.
b) at the same time that
  • The boys sang while the girls danced.
  • While you were playing I was working.
c) whereas
  • While I have no money to spend, you have nothing to spend on.
As a conjunction only means ‘except that’ or ‘but’.
  • The book would be helpful to you, only it is expensive. (= The book would be helpful to you, but it is expensive.)
Because, for and since
All of these words can be used to refer to the reason for something. Sinceclauses often come at the beginning of sentences.
  • Since he had not paid his bill, his electricity was cut off.
A because-clause is less formal than a since-clause.
  • Because I was ill, I could not attend the meeting.
  • Since I was ill, I could not attend the meeting.

Conjunctions exercise

Fill in the blanks with appropriate conjunctions.
1. He is not ………………. clever as his brother.
2. He must be punished ………………. he is guilty.
3. A fool …………… his money are soon parted.
4. He was not punished …………….. he was guilty.
5. He worked hard ……………… he might pass the examination.
6. Give every man thy ear, ……………… few thy voice.
7. I waited for him ………………… the clock struck seven.
8. You will not get the prize ……………… you deserve it.
9. It has been a year ……………… I saw him.
10. Hardly had he reached the platform ……………….. the train arrived.
11. No sooner did he see the tiger ………………. he fainted.
12. ………………. you do not apologize, I shall punish you.
1. He is not so clever as his brother.
2. He must be punished because he is guilty.
3. A fool and his money are soon parted.
4. He was not punished though he was guilty.
5. He worked hard that he might pass the examination.
6. Give everyman thy ear, but few thy voice.
7. I waited for him until the clock struck seven.
8. You will not get the prize unless you deserve it.
9. It has been a year since I saw him.
10. Hardly had he reached the platform when the train arrived.
11. No sooner did he see the tiger than he fainted.
12. If you do not apologize, I shall punish you.

Position of adverbs of certainty and place

We use adverbs of certainty to say how sure we are of something. Examples are: certainly, definitely, clearly, obviously and probably.
Adverbs of certainty usually go in mid-position.
Study the following patterns.
Auxiliary verb + adverb
  • She will probably come.
  • The train has obviously been delayed.
Am / are / is / was / were + adverb
  • She is certainly right.
  • There is clearly something wrong.
Adverb + other verb
He probably thinks that he is the smartest. (NOT He thinks probably that …)
  • I certainly feel better today.
Grammar notes
Maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of a clause.
  • Maybe you are right.
  • Perhaps he will come.
Adverbs of place
Adverbs of place say where something happens. Examples are: upstairs, around, here, in London, out of the window
Adverbs of place usually go at the end of a clause.
  • The children are playing in the garden.
  • Don’t throw things out of the window.
  • The old man sat in the corner.
  • There was a very tall tree at the end of the garden.
Initial position is also possible. This usually happens in a literary style.
  • At the end of the garden there was a very tall tree.

Position of adverbs: difference between British and American English

Mid-position adverbs usually go after auxiliary verbs, after am / are / is / was / were and before other verbs.
  • She has never written to me.
  • The discussion was mainly about politics.
When there are two or more auxiliary verbs, the adverb usually goes after the first.
  • You have definitely been working hard.
In American English, mid-position adverbs are often put before auxiliary verbs and am / are / is / was / were, even when the verb is not emphasized.
  • You certainly have made him angry. (US)
  • You have certainly made him angry. (GB)
  • You are always late. (GB)
  • You always are late. (US)
  • America has long been known as a land of opportunities. (GB)
  • America long has been known as a land of opportunities. (US)
In British English, mid-position adverbs can go before auxiliary verbs andam / are / is / was / were when we want to emphasize the auxiliary verbs.
  • am really sorry. (No emphasis on am.)
  • really AM sorry. (Emphasis on AM)
In negative sentences, mid-position adverbs generally come before not if they emphasize the negative.
  • really don’t like her. (Strong dislike)
  • don’t really like her. (Mild dislike)

Attributive adjectives after nouns

Most adjectives can go in two main places in a sentence: in attributive position and predicative position.
In attributive position, an adjective comes before the noun it modifies.
  • She is a nice girl.
  • She married a rich businessman.
In predicative position, an adjective goes after the verb.
  • She is nice.
  • He looked upset.
While attributive adjectives usually go before the nouns, a few can be used after nouns. This, for example, happens in some fixed phrases.
  • Secretary General
  • Poet Laureate
  • Attorney General
  • Court martial
Some adjectives ending in -able/-ible can also be used after nouns.
  • It is the only solution possible.
  • Book all the tickets available.
After something, everything etc.
Adjectives come after words like something, everything, anything, nothing, somebody, anywhere etc.
  • I would like to go somewhere quiet. (NOT I would like to go quiet somewhere.)
  • I heard something interesting today. (NOT I heard interesting something today.)
In most expressions of measurement adjectives come after the measurement noun.
  • ten years older (NOT Older ten years) (NOT ten older years)
  • six feet deep
  • two miles long
Verb + object + adjective
Adjectives can be placed after the object.
  • You make me happy.
  • Can you get the children ready for school?

Correct use of some adjectives

The adjective can be correctly used with a verb when some quality of the subject, rather the action of the verb, is to be expressed.
  • These flowers smell sweet. (NOT These flowers smell sweetly.)
  • It tastes sour. (NOT It tastes sourly.)
The plural forms these and those are often used with the singular nounskind and sort.
Examples are: these kind of things
However, some grammarians insist that we should say: this kind of things
The words superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, and posterior take to instead of than.
  • He is senior to me.
  • James is inferior to Peter is intelligence.
In comparing two things or classes of things the comparative should be used.
  • Take the shorter of the two routes. (NOT Take the shortest of the two routes.)
  • Of the two suggestions, the former is better. (NOT Of the two suggestions, the former is the best.)
This rule, however, is not strictly observed. In informal English, the superlative is often used when we talk about one of only two items.
When a comparison is made by means of a comparative, the thing that is compared must be excluded from the things with which it is compared.
  • Hercules was stronger than any other man. (NOT Hercules was stronger than any man – this sentence would suggest that Hercules was stronger than Hercules himself, which, of course, is absurd.)