French Conjonction : et, mais, ou, donc

french conjonctions but therefore so mais ou et donc

To connect words or even phrases, you’ll need conjunction.

The conjunction connects two or more words or phrases that are grammatically equivalent.

It doesn’t matter whether you are connecting an adjective, noun, adverb, verb, or independent clause; it’s key that they’re all equal, and they all serve the same purpose in the sentence.

Today, we’ll learn French conjunctions, et, mais, ou, donc.

French Conjunctions

There are two main types of French conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

Conjunctions that pair independent/equal ideas are called coordinate conjunctions. Conjunctions that pair related ideas are called subordinate conjunctions.

There are four types of subordinating conjunctions based on their relationship: cause, goal, comparison, opposition…

There are seven coordinating conjunctions in French.

These are:

  • et (and)
  • où (or)
  • mais (but)
  • donc (so, therefore)
  • ni (neither… nor)
  • or (now, yet)
  • car (because)

With a mnemonic, French schoolchildren memorize the seven most common coordinating conjunctions by learning this memorable sentence:   Mais où est donc Ornicar?  By learning it, you’ll learn seven conjunctions at once (mais, où, est, donc, or, ni, car).

Conjunction is necessary when:

  • You want to connect two separate ideas.
  • One of your ideas depends on another idea.
  • You would like to incorporate a new idea into an existing one.

Today, we’ll focus on 4 French conjunctions, et, mais, donc.


Et is connecting two adjectives: jeune and beau

Il est jeune et beau.

He’s young and handsome.

 is joining three nouns: caféthé, and chocolat.

Veux-tu un café, un thé ou un chocolat ?

Do you want coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

To emphasize a connection, some coordinating conjunctions are used in pairs.

et…et – both, and


In French, the word “but” is mais. It expresses contrast and opposition.

Je l’ai lu, mais je n’ai rien compris.

I read it, but I didn’t understand a thing.

If you want to say, “but of course” or “but, yes”, you say, mais oui.

Here are other turns on the French conjunction mais.

  • mais oui – but, yes
  • mais oui, bien sûr – but of course
  • mais non ! of course not
  • mais encore ? (ironic) is that all
Non, mais No, but 

J’aimerais bien y aller, mais je n’ai pas de temps.

I’d like to go, but I don’t have any time.

Il étudie le Français mais il ne parle pas couramment.

He studies French but does not speak fluently.


ou…ou / either, or

Un rhinocéros peut avoir une ou deux cornes.

A rhinoceros can have one or two corns.

Les clients peuvent payer en espèces ou par carte de débit.

Customers can pay in cash or by debit card.


donc– therefore, thus, so

Les outils sont rouillés et doivent donc être changés.

The tools are rusted and must therefore be changed.

Ready to Connect Two Ideas in French

Now, that you can use French conjunctions, you are able to connect ideas into one sentence.

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