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Subordinating Conjunctions

What is a subordinating conjunction?

Subordinating conjunctions are parts of speech that join dependent clauses to independent clauses. Sometimes referred to as subordinators or subordinate conjunctions, these important words and phrases may also introduce adverb clauses.

Subordinating conjunctions are essential parts of complex sentences with include at least two clauses, with one of the clauses being main (independent) and the other being subordinate (dependent).

There is only one rule to remember about using subordinate conjunctions:

A subordinate conjunction performs two functions within a sentence. First, it illustrates the importance of the independent clause. Second, it provides a transition between two ideas in the same sentence. The transition always indicates a place, time, or cause and effect relationship. For example: We looked in the metal canister, where Ginger often hides her candy.

 

Examples of Subordinating Conjunctions

In the following examples, the subordinating conjunctions have been italicized for easy identification.

As Sherri blew out the candles atop her birthday cake, she caught her hair on fire.

Sara begins to sneeze whenever she opens the window to get a breath of fresh air.

When the doorbell rang, my dog Skeeter barked loudly.

 

Subordinating Conjunctions Exercises

The following exercises will help you gain greater understanding about how subordinating conjunctions work. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence.

  1. _________ the basement flooded, we spent all day cleaning up.
    1. After
    2. Although
    3. Before
    4. Even if

Answer: A. After the basement flooded, we spent all day cleaning up.

  1. I don’t want to go to the movies ­­­_____________ I hate the smell of popcorn.
    1. Although
    2. Because
    3. Whenever
    4. So that

Answer: B. I don’t want to go to the movies because I hate the smell of popcorn.

  1. I paid Larry, ___________ garden design work is top-notch.
    1. Whenever
    2. Whose
    3. After
    4. If

Answer: B. I paid Larry, whose garden design work is top-notch.

  1. ___________ spring arrives, we have to be prepared for more snow.
    1. Because
    2. Until
    3. Although
    4. Now that

Answer: B. Until spring arrives, we have to be prepared for more snow.

  1. _____________ the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button.
    1. As soon as
    2. Because
    3. Before
    4. Now that

Answer: As soon as the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button.

Subordinating Conjunctions List

There are many subordinating conjunctions. This list contains 25 of those most commonly used.

After

Although

As

As soon as

Because

Before

By the time

Even if

Even though

Every time

If

In case

Now that

Once

Since

So that

Than

The first time

Unless

Until

When

Whenever

Whether or not

While

Why