Subordinating Conjunctions

Introduction to Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are an essential part of English grammar. They are words or group of words that links an independent clause (main clause) to a dependent clause (subordinate clause). Simply put, they help to express the relationship between two clauses with discrepancy in importance. They add depth to our language by establishing a time, place, reason, condition, manner, and contrast.

This guide will walk you through an in-depth understanding of subordinating conjunctions, including their uses, types, and examples. So, let's delve in!

Recognizing Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are usually placed at the beginning of the subordinate clause, although they can sometimes appear in the middle of a sentence. They can be words like 'because', 'unless', 'once', 'if', 'although', and phrases like 'as long as', 'provided that', 'in order that' etc.


  • Because I was late, I missed the start of the movie.
  • I will buy the car, provided that you lower the price.
  • In these examples, the phrases in italics are the dependent clauses that have been introduced by the subordinating conjunctions 'because' and 'provided that'.

    Types of Subordinating Conjunctions

    Subordinating conjunctions can express a variety of relationships between clauses. They can show time, cause and effect, contrast and concession, place, condition, comparison, purpose, and manner. Let's delve into some common types:

    1. Time:

    This includes conjunctions as as soon as, before, after, until. For example:

  • I will finish my work before I go to bed.
  • 2. Cause and Effect:

    Conjunctions like because, since, as, and so that are used to show cause and effect. For example:

  • He was promoted because he worked hard.
  • 3. Contrast or Concession:

    This includes although, though, even though, whereas. For example:

  • She was late, although she left early.
  • 4. Condition:

    If, unless, as long as, provided that fall under this category and present conditions. For example:

  • You can leave if you finish your work.
  • 5. Comparison:

    Than, as introduce comparison. For example:

  • She is taller than I am.
  • Finally, it's important to remember that there are many more subordinating conjunctions, and their classification may vary because grammarians don't always agree on these categories. However, this categorization will help you understand their function in a sentence.

    Rules for Using Subordinating Conjunctions

    When using subordinating conjunctions, there are certain rules to keep in mind to ensure proper grammar usage:

  • Subordinating conjunctions introduce a dependent clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence.
  • They are usually followed by a subject and a verb to form a complete thought.
  • If a subordinate clause precedes the main clause, use a comma after the dependent clause. If the main clause precedes the subordinate clause, no comma is needed.
  • Examples:

  • If it rains tomorrow, I will stay at home. (Here, the comma separates the dependent clause from the main clause.)
  • I will stay at home if it rains tomorrow. (No comma is needed because the main clause comes first.)
  • Conclusion

    This tutorial provides a comprehensive look at subordinating conjunctions, their types, usage, and some rules when using them. Remember, subordinating conjunctions are a great way to join ideas and make your English sound more advanced and fluent. And as is the case with all English grammar, practice is key. Try to make sentences using different subordinating conjunctions and note how it impacts the meaning of the sentence. Before you know it, you will be using them as effortlessly as a native speaker.

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