What are the Grammar FANBOYS and how can they help you?

Last updated Mar 27, 2024
By Gwenydd Jones

Heard about the grammar FANBOYS and wondering what on earth this odd expression means? For grammar nerds, learning about the fanboys is even more entertaining than imagining the Village People dancing on bleachers at a baseball game.

And of course you are a grammar nerd, because why else would you be about to do a quiz on coordinating conjunctions? No, don’t click away! Knowing how to identify a coordinating conjunctions makes you a better writer.

Read on to learn about the FANBOYS by doing our quick quiz!

Coral circle on a light blue background with the words “What are the Grammar FANBOYS and how can they help you?”

DISCLOSURE: We sometimes review or link to products and services we think you might find helpful. Wherever possible we use referral links. This means if you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission or other compensation.

What is FANBOYS?

FANBOYS is an acronym that will help you to remember the coordinating conjunctions.

For

And

Nor

But

Or

Yet

So

Best Punctuation Course
Punctuation Pro – Certificate in Punctuation

Get a certificate in punctuation!

  • Learn punctuation fast
  • Get confident
  • Build up your CV to impress clients


What’s a coordinating conjunction?

A conjunction is a joining word. To quote the famous poem: “Conjunctions join words together, as men and women, wind or weather,” (John Neale).

Conjunctions can be classified into two types: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions. Let’s leave the second one alone for now because we only care about the FANBOYS today.

Coordinating conjunctions join words and phrases that are of equal grammatical rank. They help create compound sentences by connecting independent clauses.

Give me an example of an independent clause

An independent clause is a grammatical sentence that can stand alone. A simple example is the poem talks about men and women. Another example of an independent clause is the poem talks about wind or weather.

Give me an example of a compound sentence with some FANBOYS

Coordinating conjunctions come into play when you want to join two independent clauses together.

The poem talks about men and women, and the poem talks about wind or weather.

Want more examples of FANBOYS? Do our quick quiz to learn a bit more about coordinating conjunctions and how to punctuate them.

Quick quiz on the grammar FANBOYS

Answer true or false to the questions below about the coordinating conjunctions known as the FANBOYS.

1. When you use a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses together, you must put a comma before the conjunction?

2. The following sentence contains an example of a coordinating conjunction being used correctly.

The poem talks about men and women, and about wind or weather.

3. The following sentence contains an example of a coordinating conjunction being used correctly.

The poem talks about men and women, yet I’m more interested in the part about wind or weather.

4. When you use a comma before a coordinating conjunction, it’s called a joining comma.

5. The FANBOYS are as follows: for, and, not, but, or, yet, so.

Scroll down for the answers

Top pick for US English
Top pick for UK English
$14.00$12.33
$9.70

A comprehensive guide for every writer, editor, student, and businessperson

What we think: If you need help with confusing punctuation marks, this book has you covered. Our top pick for US English.

The zero tolerance approach to punctuation

What we think: A punctuation classic that'll help you understand the difference between good and bad punctuation while keeping you entertained along the way. Our top pick for UK English.

Top pick for US English
$14.00$12.33

A comprehensive guide for every writer, editor, student, and businessperson

What we think: If you need help with confusing punctuation marks, this book has you covered. Our top pick for US English.

Top pick for UK English
$9.70

The zero tolerance approach to punctuation

What we think: A punctuation classic that'll help you understand the difference between good and bad punctuation while keeping you entertained along the way. Our top pick for UK English.

07/21/2024 06:04 am GMT

Answers to the FANBOYS quiz

1. False. It’s optional unless there’s ambiguity, but it tends to be preferred in US English. Microsoft Word corrects for it, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

2. False. The clause after the comma isn’t an independent clause. It’s wrong to put a comma before the conjunction in this case.

3. True.

4. True. Learn more in our joining comma quiz.

5. False. Not isn’t a FANBOY. The correct answer is nor.

Become a punctuation expert with Punctuation Pro!

Learn the ins and outs of English punctuation and get a certificate to impress potential clients.

Best Punctuation Course
Punctuation Pro – Certificate in Punctuation

Get a certificate in punctuation!

  • Learn punctuation fast
  • Get confident
  • Build up your CV to impress clients


Written by Gwenydd Jones

Gwenydd Jones is a Spanish- and French-to-English translator, an SEO blogger and a course creator. She is the founder of The Translator's Studio and the lead teacher on its courses. Connect with Gwenydd on LinkedIn or contact her through this website.

You may also like …

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *