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.
Sample Subordinating Conjunctions
The table below includes examples of subordinating conjunctions.
as long as
in order that
- 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).
- 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.