Understanding Subordinating Conjunctions and Using Them in Your Writing

December 27th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

What Is a Subordinating Conjunction?

A sentence must be complete to make proper sense. A complete sentence has a clause in it. That is a group of words within a sentence having a subject and predicate of its own. Subordinate clauses or dependent clauses cannot be called complete since they depend on the main clause to be entirely meaningful. Subordinating conjunctions join such subordinate clauses with the main clause and complete the sentences. Subordinating conjunctions examples include, though, although, before, because, after, etc.

Clauses are categorized into two types based on their functions: main clause and a subordinate clause. The main clause is a part of a sentence with a subject and predicate that is complete within. The main clause is capable of expressing a complete meaning.

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Subordinating conjunctionsare used for various purposes and the meaning they convey. They are as follows:

  • Cause: “Since he was absent yesterday, I gave his copy to Mr. Ram.”
  • Time: “She would die before she accepts defeat.”
  • Condition: “I will attend the party if my friend comes along.”
  • Purpose: “I eat vegetables so that I am healthy.”
  • Comparison: “I am taller than you.”
  • Result: “Tom was so week that he fell asleep.”

Are Coordinating and Subordinate Conjunctions the Same?

People often mistake coordinating and subordinating conjunctions to be the same. It may lead to errors in the usage of conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions carry out the task of joining two similar, i.e., independent statements or clauses.

These conjunctions are used when two sentences have equal status. They are independent and complete in themselves. And, but, or, nor, also are some of the primary coordinating conjunctions.

Subordinating conjunctions serve two purposes. It provides the sentences a necessary transition from one clause to another. For example: “I was hurt, but still I did not cry.” And it also highlights the importance of the main clause or the independent clause. It reduces the importance of the other one, the subordinate clause.

More than flowery language and jargon, the quality of a written piece depends on its adaptability by the readers. A written work developed on a great idea but difficult to decipher for commoners is not as successful as writing that deals with a common topic.

It depends on subtleties. Grammar is one such component. Punctuation, spelling, sentence construction all determine the overall quality of the content. A careless error may completely alter the meaning of the written piece. It’s always advisable to use content checker.

Hence, the writers must have a sound knowledge of grammar to create a compelling and impactful written piece. Even using a comma in an incorrect place may change the entire tone and meaning the writing initially intended to express.

Understanding Subordinating Conjunctions:

Before we delve deeper into learning more about subordinating conjunctions, we must first have a better understanding of conjunction. Conjunctions are parts of speech that work as connectors. These are words that help connect or join words, phrases, clauses, or sentences together. Conjunctions are used to shorten the sentence as they make the sentences compact.

For example, the sentence: “Rina is a good dance and Tina is good dancer” can easily be expressed as “Rina and Tina are good dancers,” retaining the sentence’s original meaning. Words like “and, but, although, till” are all examples of conjunction.

While some conjunctions are used alone, others are always used in a pair. These are better known as correlatives or correlative conjunctions. Either or, neither nor, whether or: are some of the correlatives.

However, conjunctions are not essential for sentence construction. Sentences can be formed without conjunctions. These types of sentences are known as simple sentences. 

Using Subordinating Conjunctions in Writing:

  • Subordinate Clause Following the Main Clause

While using subordinate conjunction in a sentence, the writers can write the main clause at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the conjunction and the subordinate clause. For example: “I smelt a familiar fragrance as I opened the new book.”

  • Main Clause Following the Subordinate Clause

Another way of using subordinating conjunctions in a sentence is just the opposite of the previous one. The main clause may also follow a subordinate clause, but using a comma is compulsory in such cases.

In these cases, the dependent clause begins with a conjunction, followed by a comma and the main clause. For example: “Since I was late, I had to take a cab to the office.”

  • Using it for the Complex Sentences

Writing lengthy pieces is not possible entirely, depending upon simple sentences. Use Subordinating conjunctionsto make complex sentences and make the written piece enjoyable to read. Thorough knowledge of the subject matter and grammar can make this difficult task easy.

Ensure the Correct Usage of Subordinate Conjunctions

The final step of writing an article, blog, paper is proofreading. It can be done manually, but the risks of errors cannot be eliminated through manual proofreading. There might be some mistakes that escape plain sight. To be assured about the correct usage of Subordinating conjunctions, writers can use a sentence checker.

These online tools effectively detect grammatical errors, including spelling, sentence construction, punctuation, etc. Such tools are ideal for examining the appropriate usage of conjunctions.

subordinating conjunctions, Marking sentences in the book

Grammatical errors also occur when the writers borrow some content from other originals authors, including quotes, sentences that you have very little or no understanding of, and mistakes in writing.

To avoid accidental plagiarism of accusations of any kind, cross-check documents with plagiarism checker tools help identify copied word phrases by highlighting them. It is advisable not to use any written words that do not belong to the writers themselves. 

Things to Remember

Beginners often easily get confused between relative pronouns and subordinating conjunctions since their functions are quite similar. An experienced writer can easily distinguish among these.

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