What are Thamo's, FANBOYS, and SWABI?

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

What are THAMO’s, FANBOYS, and SWABI ?

If it weren’t for the all caps, then THAMO’s, FANBOYS, and SWABI could be part of a scene set in Ancient Egypt where King Thamos has his loyal followers, AKA his “Fanboys,” swabi his ears twice a day. But this is a grammar post about conjunctions and the acronyms that help us remember them.

First let’s break down the acronyms:

FANBOYS: For, And, But, Or, Yet, So represent coordinating conjunctions.

SWABI: Since, When, And, Because, and If represent subordinating conjunctions.

THAMOS: Therefore, However, As if, Meanwhile, and Otherwise represent conjunctive adverbs.

These three popular groups of conjunctions are used to connect clauses. Some ideas are just better together, so we use conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs to combine ideas and increase the flow of our writing.

We also use correlative conjunctions to do this, but they don’t have their own acronym, so I’ll save them for a different post.

Let’s review SWABI, FANBOYS, and THAMO’s

SWABI are used to connect dependent clauses to independent ones.

For example: Since I covered this last week, I’m only giving one example. Click here for more.

FANBOYS are used to connect words and groups of words.

Examples of FANBOYS in a sentence

For: Little Bo Peep couldn't sleep, for she lost her sheep.

And: The sheep wandered off, and didn't find their way back.

Nor: They left no hoof prints, nor did they leave any clues.

But: Bo peep looked for them, but she did not know where to find them.

Or: They may be really lost, or they just don't want to be found.

Yet: She had looked for them all night, yet she was up early the next morning looking for them.

So: Hopefully, they will return, so Bo Peep can get a good night's rest.

3 ways to connect words and word groups:

1. I love guava and cheese.

(combines two words: guava and cheese)

2. Sarah bakes guava and cheese pastries and cuts them into the shape of a heart.

(combines two predicates:bakes/cuts)

3. She bakes the pastries in the morning, and her mom delivers them. (combines two closely-related sentences)

Note: Only place a comma before the coordinating conjunction when you are joining two complete sentences, not when you are combining predicates that share the same subject as in example #2.

Finally, let’s discuss THAMOS , which is a whole different story. And again, I’m not talking about the story of King Thamos, but about the words that play the role of both the adverb and conjunction.

THAMO’s as adverbs modify an action in a sentence while connecting two sentences and showing the relationship between them.

Examples of THAMO’s in a sentence:

Therefore: I love pastries; therefore, I eat one every morning for breakfast.

However: I like donuts too; however, I could never eat them every day.

As if: She ate as if she hadn’t eaten in weeks. (as if sentence example)

Meanwhile: She baked the pie; meanwhile, I ate all the pastries that were left over.

Otherwise: I like to eat pasties when they’re fresh; otherwise they get too hard.

Note: When the conjunctive adverbs therefore, meanwhile, and however are between two sentences that could stand alone as two separate sentences, then there needs to be a semi-colon before the conjunctive adverb and comma after it.

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