Investigating the Use of Paratactic and Hypotactic Conjunctions among Iranian Pre-university Students

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Dept.of ELT, Ahar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahar, Iran

2 English Department,Isamic Azad Univesity,Ahar Branch,Ahar,Iran

3 Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


In an attempt to dispel the persisting fallacy that an individual’s grammar knowledge is indicative of the way they put this knowledge into practice, this study seeks to highlight the inconsistency which resides between one’s competence and performance in the domain of conjunctions. It aims to shed light on the discrepancy which lies between the knowledge and production of conjunctions. The research context was an Iranian high school in Tabriz and the participants included 40 pre-university students whose knowledge of conjunctions was checked once by analyzing the results of a grammar test of conjunctions and once more through the administration of a sentence-combining test of conjunctions. Eventually, the obtained results were juxtaposed for consistency comparison, the ultimate outcome of which suggest that an individual’s demonstrable knowledge of conjunctions in a grammar test cannot be necessarily generalized to the proportional use of them; hence, a set of correct responses given to the questions of a grammar test of conjunctions is not necessarily a valid indicator of their actual use or production. Overall, it is concluded that the participants tend to choose paratactic extending conjunctions over hypotactic ones and hypotactic enhancing conjunctions over paratactic ones despite their adequate knowledge of both. 


Asadi, N., Pandian, A. (2010). The ABC’s of Functional Grammar. Oxford:
Asadi, N., Pandian, A. (2011). The Impact of Local and Global Conjunctions on ESL Reading Comprehension: A Systemic Perspective.Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 387-395.
Cain, K. (2003). Text comprehension and its relation to coherence and cohesion in children’s functional narratives. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21, 335-351.
Carston, R. (1994). Conjunction and Pragmatics Effects. The Encyclopedia of Languageand Linguistics. Oxford: Pergamon, vol. 2, 692-698.
Chomsky, Noam. (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Geva, B. (1992). The role of conjunctions in L2 text comprehension.TESOL Qarterly, 26 (4), 731-747.
Greenbaum, S and R. Quirk. (1993). A student’s Grammar of the English Language. Essex: Longman.
Halliday, M. A. K., &Hasan, R. (1976).Cohesion in English. London. Longman.
Fraser, B. (1999). What are discourse markers? Journal of Pragmatics. 31(7), 931-952.
Halliday, M. A. K., &Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (2004).An introduction to functional grammar (3rd ed.). London: Edward Arnold. 
Kadhim, A., &Taha, W. A. (2008).The Relationship between Competence and Performance.Towards a Comprehensive TG Grammar.Humanities Quarterly Journal, Issue 2, 37.
Leech, G and J. Svartvik.(1994). A Communicative Grammar of English.London: Longman.
Leung, C. (2005). A comparison of the use of major English conjunctions by American and Hong Kong university students.
Martin, J. R. (1992). English text: system and structure. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Nippold, M. A., Schwarz, I. E. &Undlin, R. A. (1992). Use and understanding of adverbial conjuncts: a developmental study of adolescents and young adults. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 25, 108-118.
Quirk, R. Greenbaum, S. Leech, G., &Sartvik, J. (1985).A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.
Roberston, J. E. (1968). Pupil understanding of connectives in reading.Reading Research Quarterly, 3, 387-417.
VandeKopple, W. J. (1997). Refining and applying views of metadiscourse. Paper presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Conference on College composition and Communication, Phoenix, Az.
Widdowson, H. G. (1990). Aspects of language teaching. Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.