French Mnemonic Devices: “Mais où est donc Ornicar ?”

It’s time to dig through your memory banks for all that 7th-grade grammar knowledge that’s been replaced by cat memes and avocado toast recipes because we’re talking about coordinating conjunctions!

Of course, a coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses. To remember all of these in English, we learn the mnemonic acronym FANBOYS.


While not all of the FANBOYS coordinating conjunctions are frequently used (some being more formal than others, etc.), we know that any of these words can effectively relate two sentences.


So, who the hell is Ornicar and why is he missing?

Well, similar to FANBOYS, this week’s French mnemonic phrase represents the 7 conjonctions de coordination in French: Mais, Ou, Et, Donc, Or, Ni, and Car.

These conjunctions can convey a union (et), opposition (mais, or), an alternative or negation (ni, ou), or consequence (donc).


Like with English, not all of these conjunctions are used as much as each other. The Ornicar grouping, for example, tends to be reserved for a more literary usage or formal speech. 

This one is considered an absolute classic of French mnemonic devices and having a variety of coordinating conjunctions at your disposal, whether composing a business email or chatting with friends, is essential.


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Example Sentences:

Je suis heureux mais ma famille me manque quand même.

Est-ce que tu préfères aller au magasin ou plutôt rester chez nous ?

Marc est allé voir un film au cinema et il s’y est trouvé avec Magalie.

L’assassin s’est enfui en voiture; or le suspect ne sait pas conduire. Donc, il est impossible qu’il soit l’assassin.

Ils n’aiment ni le saumon ni la viande.

Pourriez-vous nous rendre votre rapport d’ici mardi car nous devons le soumettre sous peu.

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