Coordinating Conjunctions: “Yet,” FANBOYS Part 6/7

by on October 29th, 2009

This is the sixth of a short series of articles on the short list of what are known as coordinating conjunctions, short words themselves that show up very frequently in the GMAT Sentence Correction questions.  Learning them can save you time, allowing you to eliminate wrong answer choices quickly and confidently; understanding them will of course also help add style and clarity to your AWA and admissions applications.  These coordinating conjunctions are often remembered by the acronym FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So); their job in a sentence is joining two or more parallel  . . . well, things in a sentence.

  1. These words can join single words (Would you like a hug or kiss?);
  2. whole phrases (He plans to dig a hole today and fill it with sand and gravel until the end of the week);
  3. or entire independent clauses — things that would stand alone as complete sentences without the conjunction (I would love to try the peaches, but the fuzz gives me the chills).

The things these conjunctions connect must be the same type of thing — an adverb and another adverb, a noun and a noun, an independent clause with another independent clause.  Just as you can only add fractions when they have the same denominator, you can only use parallel parts with coordinating conjunctions.  All of these coordinating conjunctions also have at least one other job in English.

The sixth of the FANBOYS, yet, is another one of our “double agents”; yet is both a conjunction (the subject of this series!) and an adverb.  When yet appears as a conjunction, it has an intent similar to the conjunction but or the adverb nevertheless — what follows yet is in some way contrary to the expectations set by what came before it.

Direct opposition:  The family reunion was a happy one for all who attended, yet for many it was a sad one at the same time.
Contrary to expectation:  The team was no longer mathematically able to make it to the playoffs, yet each athlete played as if it were the championship game.

Note that yet can appear alongside two other coordinating conjunctions, and and but:

Mr. Jones disliked the children in the neighborhood, and yet he still made sure he had plenty of candy for the children every Halloween.
We have never had a good meal at that restaurant, but yet we still go back there occasionally, hoping it will be better.

By comparison, when yet is used as an adverb, it means “up to a specified point” or “still”:

Up to a specified point:  She was not yet tall enough to be allowed on that amusement park ride last year.
At a point in the future:  The ancient script Linear A may yet be deciphered.
Still or continuously:  I haven’t refused a free slice of pizza yet.

As long as we are speaking of yet (the conjunction), you have just one rule to remember — the same rule that appears with every one of these coordinating conjunctions:

Your only rule for yet: Things connected by yet need to be parallel

A GMAT-style question:

The popular actor walked into the party with the self-importance of a man walking onto a yacht, yet he succeeded only in impressing everyone with his vanity.

A.   a yacht, yet he succeeded only in impressing everyone with his vanity.
B.   a yacht, yet only having his success in impressing everyone with his vanity.
C.   a yacht; only yet successful in impressing everyone with his vanity.
D.   a yacht, only yet he succeeded in impressing everyone with his vanity.
E.   a yacht, yet only impressing his success on everyone with his vanity.

Next:  The last of the FANBOYS, the conjunction SO.

Read other articles in this series:


  • What's the answer to the GMAT style question & explanation?

  • It's A. Which ones were you (any of you reading this) able to eliminate, and why?

    • Since the underlined section needs to be parallel to "walked into the party" B, C and E are out. D is out because "only yet" sounds wordy (I came to love this word ;)

  • Pls clarify ..
    Is'nt the comparison between "self importance" and "vanity"..


    • Ah! I see why you're asking! But no, the comparison is the entire verbal phrase, "walking with self importance" vs. "impressing with vanity."

    • Got it! Thanks again!

  • Hi I am a fourth grader and I needed help and I got it!!     Thanks!

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