What Are Subordinating Conjunctions?

by | Aug 27, 2019 | GrammarSpot, Writing Tips | 6 comments

What Are Subordinating Conjunctions?

by | Aug 27, 2019 | GrammarSpot, Writing Tips | 6 comments

list of subordinating conjunctions

It was only after I was given my first assignment as a language teacher for one semester in college and had to sit down and prepare lessons defining the English language that I really learned about the English language. When you speak with your friends and family, you’re not breaking down your sentences into independent clauses, sentence fragments or conjunctions. I hadn’t really thought about conjunctions until I had to research them. In order to effectively use subordinating conjunctions in customized SEO content or fiction, it is absolutely essential to know what they are, how they function and how to punctuate them.

List of Subordinate Conjunctions

Whereas coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions link two equal elements, subordinate conjunctions are the link between two unequal elements. This usually occurs when you link a main or independent clause with a subordinate or dependent clause. This combination creates a complex sentence that requires the use of a subordinating conjunction.

There are many subordinate conjunctions to keep track of, but here is a list of those most commonly used.

After Once Until
Although Provided that When
As Rather than Whenever
Because Since Where
Before So that Whereas
Even if Than Wherever
Even though That Whether
If Though While
In order to Unless Why

Although many people consider them to be subordinate conjunctions, words such as however, accordingly, still, otherwise and so forth are referred to as conjunctive adverbs, which are slightly different in function from subordinate conjunctions, and they’re punctuated differently as well.

How to Use and Punctuate Subordinating Conjunctions

There are two main functions of subordinating conjunctions: to transition between two ideas and to reduce importance of one clause over another. On the matter of importance, the main clause is the one that is given importance over the subordinate clause.

Transition: I often sit down to write articles after my children eat breakfast.
Reducing Importance: Although it is a beautiful day outside, I plan on working inside at my computer.

There are four main ways to construct sentences using subordinating conjunctions:

1. Main clause and subordinate clause. There is no comma required with this simple structure.

– Amber rubbed her eyes as she opened a new training article.
– I prefer to write while my children are at school.

2. Subordinate clause and main clause. Because the sentence is beginning with a dependent clause, a comma should usually come at the end of the subordinate clause before starting the main clause.

While Drew sets up the trading show booth, Jon explains BKA services to some interested guests.
Although Katie assured me it was okay, I felt terrible about asking for an extension.

3. Main clause and essential relative clause. This involves the use of a relative pronoun such as where, who, that or which. If the relative pronoun is used to clarify a general noun, it is essential and does not require a comma before it. If the essential relative clause interrupts a main sentence, do not put commas around it.

– I like to type in the bedroom where the ceiling fan is located.
– Sharon graciously edited the articles that were due later that day.
Interrupted: I can usually tell when my neighbor who owns an old truck leaves for work in the morning.

4. Main clause and nonessential relative clause. This again uses a relative pronoun. When the relative pronoun follows a specific noun, the clause is nonessential and should include a comma before it. If the nonessential relative clause interrupts a main sentence, put commas around it.

– Few people enjoy May 4th as much as Greg, who loves Star Wars.
– I curled up to read the first book of The Prydain Chronicles, which is one of my favorite series.
Interrupted: When it comes to law articles, Claudia, who is a legal whiz, knows just what to write.

Make Your Writing Interesting

Complex sentences make blogs, articles and web pages unique with interesting writing. Now that you know the essential elements of constructing complex sentences using subordinating conjunctions, which subordinating conjunction do you use the most in SEO content? Can you identify how many were used in this article outside of the examples? Sound off in the comments below!

Britainy Sorenson

Britainy Sorenson has been freelance writing since 2011 in between time spent with her best friend and husband and caring for three active and amazing little boys. She earned a BA in Japanese, an MA in Second Language Acquisition & Teaching, and a Graduate Certificate in TESOL from BYU. When her fingers aren't flying at the keys, she enjoys reading, video games, drawing and learning new crafts.

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