Subordination is connecting two sentences or parts of a sentence to show that one part is more important than the other.

These two parts of a sentence, the main clause and the dependent clause, are merged using a subordinating conjunction.

The main clause can be read as a sentence on its own, while the dependent clause would not make sense without the main clause.

Process of Subordination

Main clause + Subordinating conjunction + Dependent clause

I ate the banana shake, + after + my mom told me I could.

Subordinating conjunction + Main clause + Subordinating Clause

Because + it was raining + I took an umbrella.

What do I need to make a subordinate sentence?

The first part of the sentence can either be the main clause or the subordinating clause, depending on how you want to write your sentence. This example follows using the main clause as the first part of the sentence.

  • My bike needs a new coat of paint

The next part will be the subordinating clause. This can be any conjunction that shows an imbalance or contrast, e.g., although, because, unless, after, if, etc.

  • because

The last part of the sentence is the dependent clause – this is the part that’s being compared. The bike needs a new coat of paint because it’s ancient.

  • It’s ancient.

So, the entire sentence would be:

  • My bike needs a new coat of paint because it’s ancient.

We could also swap the main clause and subordinate clause around to write the sentence in this way:

  • Because it’s ancient, my bike needs a new coat of paint.

They’re both correct – it’s up to you how you want to write the sentence.

What is the difference between subordination and coordination?

Coordination and subordination are contrasting ways to join a sentence or clause together.

Subordination is when two clauses are combined to compare/contrast/add a condition. One sentence or clause is of more value than the other.

Coordination is when two clauses of the same value are added together using a coordinating conjunction.

Coordinating conjunctions can be remembered by using the anagram FANBOYS.

  • F – For
  • A – And
  • N – Nor
  • B – But
  • O – Or
  • Y – Yet
  • S – So

Different types of subordinating clauses

Type Conjunction Examples Sentence Example
Concession although, while, though, whereas, even though I rode in the passenger seat while my little brother rode in the back.
Condition if, unless, until I won’t drink my tea unless it has sugar in it.
Manner as if, as, though I wrote a page, though they asked for two.
Place where, wherever I bought the bread from the bakery, where they made it from scratch.
Reason because, since, so that, in order that I bought the lilies because they are my favorite flower.
Time after, before, while, once, when I ate my dessert after my dinner.

How do I remember subordinating conjunctions?

You can use the anagram ‘I SAW A WABUB’ to remember just a few subordinating conjunctions!

  • I – If
  • S – Since
  • A – As
  • W – When
  • A – Although
  • W – While
  • A – After
  • B – Before
  • U – Until
  • B – Because
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