Subordinating Conjunctions: What They Are and How to Use Them

Karoline Chaplin

Subordinating conjunctions link different parts of a sentence, showing which part is more important. In this article, we’ll break down what subordinating conjunctions are, how to use them, and throw in plenty of examples to make things clear.

What are Subordinating Conjunction?

Subordinating conjunctions are the connectors in sentences. They introduce a less important part (dependent clause) and hook it up to a more crucial part (independent clause). These connectors help express time relationships, cause and effect, contrast, or conditions.

How to Use Subordinating Conjunctions?

Let’s keep it simple and look at how to use these conjunctions:

Time Relationships:

These conjunctions help tell us when something happened in relation to something else.

Subordinating ConjunctionsExample
AfterShe went to bed after finishing her homework.
BeforeCall me before you leave.


Cause and Effect:

They’re handy for showing why something happened.

Subordinating ConjunctionsExample
BecauseShe stayed home because she felt unwell.
SinceThey stayed indoors since it was raining.


Contrast:

Use these when you want to point out differences or contradictions.

Subordinating ConjunctionsExample
AlthoughShe wore a jacket, although it was hot.
WhileI prefer cycling while he enjoys running.


Condition:

For situations where one thing depends on another.

Subordinating ConjunctionsExample
IfWe’ll cancel the picnic if it rains.
UnlessYou can go out unless it’s dark.

Examples:

Time Relationships:

  • She went to bed after finishing her homework.
  • Call me before you leave.

Cause and Effect:

  • She stayed home because she felt unwell.
  • They stayed indoors since it was raining.

Contrast:

  • She wore a jacket, although it was hot.
  • I prefer cycling while he enjoys running.

Condition:

  • We’ll cancel the picnic if it rains.
  • You can go out unless it’s dark.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Subordinating Conjunctions:

Q1: What are Subordinating Conjunctions and How to Use Them?

Subordinating conjunctions are connectors in sentences that link less important parts (dependent clauses) to more crucial ones (independent clauses). They facilitate expression of time relationships, cause and effect, contrast, or conditions. Examples include “after,” “because,” “although,” and “if.”

Q2: How do subordinating conjunctions express time relationships?

Subordinating conjunctions express time relationships by indicating when an action in the dependent clause occurs concerning the main clause. For example, “After finishing her homework, she went to bed.”

Q3: What role do subordinating conjunctions play in expressing cause and effect?

Subordinating conjunctions help express cause and effect relationships by showing why something happened. For example, “She stayed home because she felt unwell.”

Q4: How do subordinating conjunctions work in expressing conditions?

Subordinating conjunctions introduce conditions that must be met for the main clause to happen. For example, “If it rains, we will cancel the picnic” or “You can go out unless it’s dark.”

Q5: Are there any rules for using subordinating conjunctions?

Generally, no strict rules, but it’s essential to ensure that the subordinating conjunction fits the relationship you’re trying to express. Also, be mindful of the word order in your sentence.

Q6: Can subordinating conjunctions be used to start sentences?

Yes, they can. However, it’s important to note that when a sentence starts with a subordinating conjunction, a comma is usually placed after the dependent clause.

Conclusion:

So, subordinating conjunctions are just sentence buddies, helping your words make sense. Use them right, and your sentences will flow effortlessly. Practice with these examples, and soon you’ll be a pro at using these everyday connectors.