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Coordinators connect equal units of grammar.

 
 Coordinators connect nouns to nouns, finite verbs to finite verbs, adjectival phrases to adjectival phrases, one independent clause to another independent clause, etc.
 Coordinators never connect two different or unequal units of grammar. This rule is known as parallel structure.
 Coordinators differ in their meaning. Some suggest similarity, while other suggest dissimilarity. 

 

 

 

and

 

The cat and the dog were constantly fighting. 
The cat slept and ate.
Mary went to the movies, and so did Sam.

 

 

but

 

Mary went to the movies, but Sam went to the concert.
I have listened to your story, but I don't believe it.

 

 

so

 

The heat on the stove was too high, so the food burned.
The sun was warm, so the snow melted.

 

 

or

 

Go to sleep now, or you will be tired in the morning.
 Nan usually eats salad or soup for lunch.    

 

 

for

 

The students all passed the test, for they had studied hard
San trusted the counselor, for she had never deceived him

 

 

yet

 

The sun is shining, yet the air is very cold.
I slept eight hours last night, yet I am still tired

 

 

either...or

 

Either Maria or Jana will clean the room.
Either you complete your homework, or you will fail the test.

 

 

neither...nor

 

Neither my mother nor my grandmother had a job.
The team neither won the game nor lost it. They tied.