Academic Writing: Conjunctions and Conjunctive Adverbs Worksheet

ESL Level: Intermediate+

Language Focus: Transition words (conjunctive adverbs), coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS), subordinating conjunctions, academic writing

Class Time: 20 minutes

Worksheet Downloadwriting-transitions-conjunctions.docx

Activity Description

This is a handy worksheet for reviewing coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS), subordinating conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs (transition words).

Your students should already be familiar with these concepts before doing this worksheet.

First, go through the first page with them.
Secondly, let them do the exercises on the back. In exercise 1 on the back, you (the teacher) should read aloud some conjunctions or transition signals, and then your students listen and try to classify them.

Note that this page does not contain any help with punctuation.

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1) Coordinating Conjunctions/FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) can join two independent clauses.

  • I hate exercising.         I do it every day. (two independent clauses with subjects + verbs)
  •  I hate exercising, _____ I do it every day.

2) Subordinating Conjunctions are dependent words that begin a dependent/subordinate clause. For example:

  • If I go, ..
  • Because I was hungry…
  • Although I’m new here, …

These are not complete sentences. They are subordinate clauses; they need a main (independent) clause to make a complete sentence.

Wrong: Because I was hungry.

Correct: I went to the store because I was hungry.

Common subordinating conjunctions
althoughbeforeso thatwhateverwhether
aseven ifthatwhenwhich
as ifeven thoughthoughwheneverwhichever
as long asifunlesswherewhile
as thoughprovided thatuntilwhereaswho


3) Conjunctive Adverbs/Transition Words are usually used to start a sentence. They cannot join sentences. They help the reader understand how sentences relate to each other.

  • John said the dog had bit him before. However, the dog didn’t bite me.
  • Firstly, you should register. Next, you need to make an appointment.
  • There are several factors that are causing the population to decrease. For instance, some people do not want to have children.
Transitional words (Conjunctive adverbs)
AdditionAlternativeContrastTimeExample or EmphasisResult or Consequence
additionallyin facthoweverafterwardsfor exampleaccordingly
alsoinsteadin contrasteventuallyfor instanceas a result
besideslikewiseneverthelessfinallyin factconsequently
first, secondon the contrarynonethelessin the meantimein other wordshence
furthermoreon the other handstilllaterin particulartherefore
in additionotherwisemeanwhilenamelythus
moreoversimilarlynowof course
nextsubsequentlythat is

Exercise 1. Listen to your teacher read out some words. Classify them into the below table.

Coordinating Conjunction (FANBOYS)Subordinating Conjunction (dependent word)Conjunctive Adverb (transition word)




Exercise 2. Make the sentences more coherent by adding the below word.

“People prefer to life the high-class life.   It is expensive.”




Exercise 3. Correct the mistake.

Life is not as easy and comfortable in an apartment. Because apartments are smaller than houses.


Although, most employees work regular hours from 9 to 5. Some companies are letting their workers do their work from home. (1x)


Exercise 4. Make the paragraph more coherent by adding transition words or subordinating conjunctions.

Smoking in restaurants should be banned. _________, when people smoke in restaurants, the smoke from their cigarettes affects other people. This smoke, called second-hand smoke, is unhealthy for others to breathe. _________, a 2011 report from the Johnson Institute stated that second-hand smoke is even more dangerous than the smoke inhaled by the smokers themselves. _________, smoking negatively affects how food tastes. It has been proven that the sense of smell contributes to how people enjoy their food. _________, if the restaurant smells like an ashtray, eating food in it will not be as enjoyable.

_________, the government should take measures to ensure people are not allowed to smoke in restaurants. This will create a better dining experience for smokers and non-smokers.

The document is formatted better in the downloadable file (see link above).

I hope this is helpful for your ESL/EAP classes.

– Matthew Barton / Creator of

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