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.
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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 are in bold 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 Conjunction Exercises
The following exercises will help you gain greater understanding about how subordinating conjunctions work. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence.
_________ the basement flooded, we spent all day cleaning up.
- Even if
Answer: 1. After the basement flooded, we spent all day cleaning up.
I don’t want to go to the movies _____________ I hate the smell of popcorn.
- So that
Answer: 2. I don’t want to go to the movies because I hate the smell of popcorn.
I paid Larry, ___________ garden design work is top-notch.
___________ spring arrives, we have to be prepared for more snow.
- Now that
Answer: 2. Until spring arrives, we have to be prepared for more snow.
_____________ the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button.
- As soon as
- Now that
Answer: As soon as the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button.
Answer: 2. I paid Larry, whose garden design work is top-notch.
Subordinating Conjunctions List
There are many subordinating conjunctions. This list contains 25 of those most commonly used.
As soon as
By the time
The first time
Whether or not