A subordinating conjunction connects an independent clause to a dependent (subordinate) clause:

  • an independent clause is a sentence that is a complete thought and therefore can stand alone
    • Example: I survived the class.
  • a dependent clause is an incomplete sentence, a fragment. It cannot express a complete thought. It cannot be punctuated as a sentence.
    • Example: Although I survived the class.

Key Concepts: Flow, Coherence, Unity; Grammar; Organization; Organizational Schema & Logical Reasoning; Parts of Speech; Sentences; Writer-Based vs. Reader-Based Prose


Sample Subordinating Conjunctions

The table below includes examples of subordinating conjunctions.

after
although
as
as long as
because
before
even if
if
in order that
once
now that
rather than
since
so that
than
that
though
unless
until
when
whenever
where
whereas
wherever
whether
while
why
  1. Subordinating conjunctions act as transitions between two ideas in a sentence. The transition can indicate various kinds of relationships between these ideas (i.e. time, place, or cause and effect).
  2. Subordinating conjunctions identify which clause is more important. The more important idea is in the independent clause and the less important (subordinate) idea is in the dependent clause. Therefore, the subordinate conjunction introduces the dependent clause.

When composing, writers, speakers, knowledge makers . . . create emphasis by putting the most important part of the sentence in the independent clause. Then, they put other information in the dependent part of the sentence that may redefine or modify the information in the independent clause. Subordinate conjunctions can be used to show cause-and-effect relationships, temporal relationships, and place. They can further modify or describe the idea expressed in the sentence it is modifying.

Related Concepts

  1. Coordinating Conjunctions

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