Subordinating Conjunctions

Hi, and welcome to this video on subordinating conjunctions!

Subordinating conjunctions are words or phrases that link an independent clause with a dependent clause to create complex sentences. Let’s remember what these clauses are:

Independent Clauses

An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in a complete sentence. For example:

Liz went to the studio to record her song.

 
Here, we see this sentence has a subject (Liz) and a verb (went), and is a complete sentence.

Dependent Clauses

A dependent clause is a sentence fragment that does not express a complete thought but still contains a subject and a verb, as well as a dependent marker word. A dependent marker word is a word placed at the beginning of an independent clause to make it a dependent clause. Let’s look at an example:

When Liz went to the studio to record her song

 
Here, since we have the dependent marker word when in this sentence, it’s no longer a complete thought but still contains a subject and a verb, making it a dependent clause.

Now that we understand what independent and dependent clauses are, we can explain how subordinating conjunctions affect them.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are words or phrases that can explain cause and effect; show a relationship between time, place, or change happening in the sentence; or express additional details that support the independent clause. Some subordinating conjunctions include because, even though, after, if, whenever, and more.

Subordinating Conjunctions Examples

Let’s look at some sentences that include subordinating conjunctions.

Jasmine agreed to pick up her sister from the train, provided that her sister gives her gas money.

 
Now let’s break down this sentence. The independent clause here is “Jasmine agreed to pick up her sister from the train.”

We know this is the independent clause because it contains a subject, Jasmine, and a verb, pick up, and is a complete sentence. The independent clause describes the action taking place.

Now that we know the independent clause, we can find the subordinating conjunction that links it to the rest of the sentence.

We know that provided that is the subordinating conjunction because it links the independent clause (the action/effect) with the reason, which is the dependent clause, “her sister gives her gas money.”

Here is another example:

He always enjoyed reading even though he was not the best student.

 
Again, let’s break this down by first identifying the independent clause.

We know “He always enjoyed reading” is the independent clause because it contains a subject, he, a verb, reading, and is a complete sentence.

Now let’s find the subordinating conjunction. Here, the subordinating conjunction is even though, because it links the independent clause with supporting details “he was not the best student.”

Subordinating conjunctions can also link two independent clauses. Here is another example:

Whenever Rachel is running late, she lets her sister know in advance.

 
Here, the subordinating conjunction, whenever, is at the beginning of the sentence and tells us the time at which something happens. We know what happens during the independent clause “Rachel is running late” and that is “she lets her sister know in advance.”

It’s important to notice in instances like this, when the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of two independent clauses, that you’ll need to use a comma to separate the two clauses. Here a comma separates “Rachel is running late” and “she lets her sister know in advance,” while still allowing the subordinating conjunction whenever to link the two ideas together.

Subordinating conjunctions can appear in many ways and many places in complex sentences. Knowing how to identify them and what they do can help improve the quality and complexity of your writing.

Thanks for watching, and happy studying!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is a subordinating conjunction?

A

A subordinating conjunction is a conjunction that introduces a subordinate clause (also called a dependent clause). Here are a few example sentences with the subordinate conjunctions bolded and the subordinate clauses underlined:

“Please clean your room before you leave.”
“Can we go to the bookstore after we eat lunch?”
Once the food arrived, everyone began to cheer.”

The following are common examples of subordinating conjunctions:

  • After
  • Although
  • As
  • Because
  • Before
  • If
  • Once
  • Only
  • Since
  • So
  • Than
  • That
  • Though
  • Unless
  • Until
  • When
  • Whenever
  • Where
  • Wherever
  • While

Q

What are the 7 subordinating conjunctions?

A

Generally, subordinating conjunctions are split into 6 categories, though sometimes a seventh category is added:

  1. Comparison:These subordinating conjunctions are used to compare two or more things or ideas by providing context. Here is an example:
     

    “Mark prefers walking, whereas Will prefers riding his bike.”

    Comparison-related subordinating conjunctions include just as, though, whereas, in contrast to, while, and similarly.

  2. Time: These subordinating conjunctions are used to show when one thing is happening in relation to another. Here is an example:
     

    “We can watch the movie after everyone arrives.”

    Time-related subordinating conjunctions include after, as soon as, as long as, before, once, still, until, when, whenever, and while.

  3. Concession: These subordinating conjunctions are used to concede a point between the subordinate and independent clauses. Here’s an example:
     

    Although it was raining, I still went for a walk outside.”

    Concession-related subordinating conjunctions include although, as though, and even though.

  4. Reason/Cause: These subordinating conjunctions are used to provide a cause or reason for the activity performed in the main independent clause. Here is an example:
     

    “I arrived early so that I could get the best seats.”

    Cause-related subordinating conjunctions include as, because, in order that, since, and so that.

  5. Place: These subordinating conjunctions are used to determine where something is occurring. Here is an example:
     

    “They hid the Easter eggs where the kids will never find them!”

    Place-related subordinating conjunctions include where, wherever, and whereas.

  6. Condition: These subordinating conjunctions are used to show that the independent clause relies on the information found in the subordinate clause. Here is an example:
     

    “Do not speak unless you are spoken to.”

    Condition-related subordinating conjunctions include even if, if, in case, provided that, and unless.

  7. Manner: These subordinating conjunctions are used to show how something happens. Here is an example:
     

    “He began to dig as if his life depended on it.”

    Manner-related subordinating conjunctions include as if and as though.

Q

Is “because” a subordinating conjunction?

A

Yes, the word because is a subordinating conjunction. It falls into the “Cause/Reason” category, showing the cause or reason for the event that takes place in the independent clause.

Q

Is “and” a subordinating conjunction?

A

No, the word and is a coordinating conjunction.

Q

Is “but” a subordinating conjunction?

A

No, the word but is a coordinating conjunction.

 

Return to Parts of a Sentence Videos

958913

 

by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: April 26, 2022