Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions joins subordinate or dependent clauses to the main or independent clauses. To know all about these tricky grammatical words, click!

Subordinating Conjunctions in English Grammar

What Are Subordinating Conjunctions?

Subordinating conjunctions are words or phrases used to join a dependent (subordinate) clause to an independent (main) clause. They are used to show the relationship between the two clauses.

Subordinating Conjunctions: Functions

Subordinating conjunctions provide a link between two ideas in the same sentence. This link always expresses a place, time, or cause-and-effect relationship between the two clauses. Take a look at some examples:

He'll call you after they're done talking.

Because it was raining, we couldn't go to the park.

The subordinating conjunctions are used to express:

  • Cause and effect
  • Concession and Contrast
  • Condition
  • Time
  • Place

Cause and Effect

'Cause and effect conjunctions' are used to express why an event happens or what is the result of an event. Every conjunction that can serve this function belongs to this group. The most common cause-and-effect conjunctions are:

Now take a look at some examples:

The cancellation of the event was due to unforeseen circumstances.

Since I did not do the assignment, the teacher is going to be really angry.

As Ken was not home, nobody answered the door.

Since you asked, I'm going to give you an answer.


The subordinating conjunctions used to indicate a transition in time are called 'time conjunctions.' Here are the most common ones:

Here are some examples:

I will call you when the class is finished

Before I went, I called mom and told her to call you.

I will tell you everything once you manage to come over.

'while' is a subordinating conjunction of time

Concession and Contrasting

'Concession and contrast conjunctions' indicate that something has happened despite an obstacle or challenge. Conjunctions that convey a similar meaning are often considered concession conjunctions. The most common contrasting subordinating conjunctions are:

Though she gave no signs, I was sure she was mad at me.

I will go abroad whether you like it or not.

‌Even though everyone played well, we lost the game.


'Subordinating conjunctions of place' describe the relationship between places or locations. Every conjunction that can reflect a similar meaning is considered a conjunction of place. Here are the most common ones:

  • Where
  • Wherever
  • Everywhere
  • Anywhere

Here are some examples:

Where there's a will, there's a way.

I will take you wherever you like.

I went to Chicago where I was born.

Wherever he goes, there are crowds of people waiting to see him.


'Conditional conjunctions' are used to express a condition that must be met in order for something else to occur. Words or phrases that are used to convey a similar meaning are also considered conditional conjunctions. For example:

  • If
  • Unless
  • As long as
  • Assuming that
  • In case

Take a look at some examples:

In case you're not home, leave the spare key under the doormat.

If you want, I will send you an email about the subject.

As long as he stays here, I will never ever step into the house.


Subordinate Conjunctions

Subordinate conjunctions are words that are used to indicate subordinate clauses and they are put at the first of them. Subordinate conjunctions also are used to connect the independent clause to the dependant clause. So that they can complete the meaning of the whole sentence.

The most commonly used subordinate conjunctions in English are:

1. Because/Since/As 5. As long as
2. Before/After 6. Unless
3. Once/When/While 7. Where
4. Although/Though/Even though 8. If/Even if


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Coordinating Conjunctions

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Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that join or correlate phrases or words with equal importance in a sentence.

Conjunctions of Time

Conjunctions of time connect two clauses while stating the time. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

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