Crafting with conjunctions: polysyndeton and asyndeton

What is a conjunction?

A conjunction is a word which links other words together in a sentence. Conjunctions can also link two sentences together to form compound sentences. There are two main types of conjunction.

Coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or

These join ideas of equal importance together.

For example:

I would like you to use paper, pens and rulers.

  (Here, each item n the list in needed equally; therefore the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ is used.)

You need to write your name, and I would like you to underline it.

  (Here, both clauses could function as simple sentences: they are both of equal importance. For   this reason,   the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ is used to link these and make a compound sentence.)

Subordinating conjunctions include: because, if, when, until, with

These connect the main idea of a sentence (the main clause) to an idea which effects it but wont make sense on its own (subordinating clause).

For example:

We can’t decide until we know the truth.

Because we must speak to everyone, it is taking some time.

As you can see from the example above, conjunctions (even ‘and’ and ‘but’) can be used at the start of sentences – particularly if you want to make an idea stand out.

And that wont change. 

The best writers craft their work. This means that they think through their choices and do things on purpose to create deliberate effects. A really easy but effective way to do this is through using conjunctions.

Conventional conjunction:

 

A conventional list: this is the format the reader expects. It make sense, and the reader understands that David is the last in the list because the word ‘and’ is used before his name.

However, by using conjunctions to craft and mould convention to suit us, we can create effects.

 

Asyndeton

Asyndeton: taking out a conjunction. 

This is unconventional; therefore, it stands out and creates meanings.

 

  • Perhaps it suggests that David is not the last friend on the list; there are more people who are not named; the list is incomplete.
  • Maybe it implies that the writer has not had time to use a conjunction; they are too busy, or they have too little time to do this.
  • Possibly it creates the idea that this group is one cohesive unit with very little separating them.

 

Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton: using additional conjunctions.

This is unconventional; therefore, it stands out and creates meanings.

 

  • Perhaps it suggests that there are lots of friends; every time you think the list is finished, another person is named.
  • Maybe it implies that the writer is taking time and thinking carefully; they are not in a rush so have time to use additional conjunctions.
  • Possibly it can create the idea that the writer is feeling overwhelmed; they have a list which seems never ending and far longer than we would conventionally expect.
  • Perhaps it demonstrates that there are clear and strong connections between every part of this list; they are individuals closely linked and tied together.