Subordinating Conjunctions

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

Intermediate
Subordinating Conjunctions in English Grammar

What Are Subordinating Conjunctions?

A subordinating conjunction joins an independent (main) clause with a dependent (subordinate) clause.

Subordinate Clause

Subordinate clauses (also called dependent clauses) add extra information to the main clause. These clauses cannot stand by themselves and their meaning is dependent on the independent clause. They are not complete sentences. For example, 'although I was tired' is not a complete sentence.

Subordinate Conjunctions: Functions

Subordinate conjunctions provide a link between two ideas in the same sentence. This link always expresses a place, time, or cause-and-effect relationship.

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

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

Most Common Subordinate Conjunctions

The subordinating conjunctions link two clauses to express:

  • cause and effect
  • concession and contrasting
  • conditional
  • 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 be used with the same function is placed into this group. The most common cause and effect conjunctions are:

  1. because
  2. since
  3. as
  4. due to
  5. as if

She hugged me as if I saved her from death.

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.

Time

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

  • before
  • after
  • once
  • when
  • while

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 managed to come over.

'while' is a subordinating conjunction of time

Concession and Contrasting

'Concession and contrasting conjunctions' indicate that something has happened in spite of a hurdle. Every conjunction that can imply the same concept is considered a concession conjunction. The most common contrasting subordinating conjunctions are:

  • although
  • though
  • whether
  • while
  • even though

Though she gave no sign, 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.

Place

'Subordinating place conjunctions' are used to refer to a place. Every single conjunction that can reflect a place is considered a place conjunction. Here are the most common ones.

  • where
  • wherever
  • everywhere
  • anywhere

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

'Conditional conjunctions' are used to express the condition that needs to happen for something else to occur. Every term or phrase which is used with the same function is considered the conditional conjunction. For example:

  • if
  • unless
  • as long as
  • assuming that
  • in case

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

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

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

Review

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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