Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction is a joining word or phrase that introduces a dependent clause and links it to the main sentence or an independent clause. A conjunction is a linking word or phrase. Coordinating conjunction establishes an equal partnership between the two clauses similarly. When a dependent clause and a subordinating conjunction are connected, the resulting sentence is known as a subordinate clause.

Subordinating Conjunctions

In sentences with two clauses—an independent or main clause and a dependent clause—subordinating conjunctions must appear at the start of the dependent clause. By connecting two concepts, subordinators make a statement more meaningful.

In most phrases, clause order is unimportant as long as the subordinating conjunction comes before the dependent clause. Such conjunctions include time, concession, comparison, cause, condition, and location.

The terms subordinating conjunctions, subordinate conjunctions, and complementizers are also used. However, some subordinating conjunctions include more than one word, such as even though, as long as, and except that. Many subordinators are single words, such as because, before, and when.

By meaning, subordinating conjunctions are categorized and have a variety of functions in sentences. Here, you’ll discover the many subordinator kinds and categories and how to write a subordinate clause.

How to Construct a Subordinate Clause

Simply affixing a subordinating conjunction to the start of a dependent clause will create a subordinate clause. Next, choose whether the primary or supporting clause should appear first. See the example below.

Using the conjunction unless the independent phrase “They’ll have a picnic on Saturday” may be amended by the dependent clause “It rains”: “They’ll have a picnic on Saturday unless it rains.” Given that the primary phrase starts the sentence and the party in question is a picnic on Saturday’s weather, the conjunction should come after it (before the dependent clause). A main supporting clause must come after the conjunction if the sentence instead starts with a dependent clause and the conjunction. Technically, the meaning of both statements is the same, but in this instance, a little more emphasis is placed on the clause that comes first.

Sometimes the main sentence might have a deeper meaning if the subordinate clause comes before. Oscar Wilde illustrated this in one of his plays, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” He said, “Gwendolyn responds to Jack, ‘If you are not too long, I will wait here for you throughout my life,’ mimicking the way people in love talk effusively to one another using subordinators” (Wilde 1895).

Semantic Categories of Subordinating Conjunctions

Conjunctions may provide additional levels of meaning to text by establishing connections between sentences, as was shown. Time, concession, comparison, cause, condition, and location are the six primary groups of conjunctions, according to their meaning.


Conjunctions that refer to time specify when the main clause will be or was completed. These contain the words after, immediately, immediately after, before, once, still, till, when, and while. For instance, a hostess who likes to enjoy her guests’ company while they are there would say, “I will clean the dishes after everyone has gone home.”


Concession conjunctions define the main clause by adding extra information about the delivery terms. Although, as though, and even though are examples of concession conjunctions that emphasize an activity that occurred despite a barrier or impediment. “Eliza authored the Higgins report even though it was assigned to Colonel Pickering” is an example.


Similarly, by giving a framework for comparison, comparison conjunctions like just as, though, in contrast to, while helping to establish correlations. An example would be: In contrast to her arch-enemy, who just blogged, “Ellen vlogged on the outcomes of the political meeting.”


Cause conjunctions are often constructed using the words “because,” “so that,” and “since” to describe the reason(s) why the actions of the main sentence were carried out. For instance: “Grant dreamt of cheese because he had eaten so much of it the night before.”


Conjunctions with conditions provide forth the conditions under which the main clause operates. Even if, if, in case, provided that, and unless are used to denote this. “I’m not coming to the party if he’s going to be there.” In conditional sentences, subordinate clauses often appear first, but they still rely on the main clause and cannot exist independently.


Place conjunctions specify the potential locations of events, such as where, everywhere, and where. For instance, “I will put my conjunction anywhere I choose in the sentence.”

Examples of Subordinating Conjunctions

Finding subordinating conjunctions is simple if you know where to look. Start by referring to these quotations.

  • “Mr. Bennet was such a peculiar combination of quick wit, sarcasm, reserve, and caprice that the experience of three and twenty years had been inadequate to make his wife appreciate his nature.” In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • “I am always trying what I cannot accomplish to learn how to do it.” Pedro Picasso
  • “Start with yourself if you want to alter the world”  Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Make lemonade when life offers you lemons,” Anonymous
Choose your Reaction!