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How Does FANBOYS Help Remember The Coordinating Conjunctions Of English?

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

Mnemonics or sequential phrases are developed to make learning easier. For example the mnemonic colour code of VIBGYOR is widely used to remember the colour sequence of the rainbow. The mnemonic would help one remember forever that Indigo comes after Violet and that Green comes after blue. In the same way, FANBOYS is a mnemonic device that is used for remembering the coordinating conjunctions of English, which include, For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet and So. The mnemonic further teaches us that two independent clauses must be connected with comma and one of the connectors from the FANBOYS.

However, the problem with using mnemonic devices is that it gives a brief overview about the topic but does not explain in detail how the connector should be used with independent phrases. In other words, it does not state the rules of using conjunctions. Brett Reynolds who happens to be a reputed English Professor at the Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning stated that ‘FANBOYS’ is nothing but a myth of using conjunctions and results in poor conceptual knowledge of connectors in English language. Professor Brett Reynolds further stated that the mnemonic FANBOYS is misleading and confuses student about using coordinating conjunctions. Firstly, Coordinating conjunctions cannot occur next to one another for example Peter and nor Sam is not grammatically correct. Also, connectors cannot be modified or used as a substitute for other words. Also, coordinating connectors join two equal constituents, phrases or clauses. Further, two equal constituents can be put in the reverse order and are commutative, for example, Peter and Sam, Sam and peter.

It is important to consider here that So and Yet are similar to conjunction adverbs such as however. In this regard, for can be considered equivalent to a subordinating conjunction because. In other words when linguistic experts are unsure about what fits the situations, connectors such as for, so and yet are invariable used in place of one another. To simplify the explanation it can be mentioned that for, yet and so can join independent clauses in the same manner in which nor, but as well as and link two independent phrases. Also, a simple trick to join two independent clauses is to use one of the FANBOYS and a comma. In case the sentence is short, the comma can be skipped and the sentence can be read without an error. However, if the sentence is a lengthy one, it is integral to use the comma so that the sentence is not misread. For example, I read a story and I like it is a short and simple sentence where there is no need to use a comma. However, considering a lengthy sentence such as ‘By the time we reached the station, the train already sped off.’ In this case, it is important to use the comma so that the sentence is read correctly.

Another important grammar rule states that additional words can be used to connect two independent clauses. In such cases, a semicolon can be used after the adverb or a transitional phrase. For example, Peter studied for the exam, only he studied the excluded chapter. More examples would include, He locked the door before he left the house; however, the thief had stolen his belongings.

In case two independent phrases are to be linked any of the words from the FANBOYS and a comma can be used to form a meaningful sentence. For example, she likes to read a book, and dance. Another example could be, He loves to eat North Indian cuisine, and continental cuisine.

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