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Subordinate Clauses:

A subordinate clause, which is also known as a dependent clause, augments an


independent clause with more information, but cannot stand alone as a
sentence. Subordinate clauses are extremely useful because they add texture
and depth to your writing. A subordinate clause includes a subject and a verb,
but it cannot stand alone as a sentence. Instead, it simply enhances the
meaning of an independent clause, which is a complete sentence by itself.
In order to introduce a subordinate clause, you must use a subordinating
conjunction, also known as a subordinator. Some subordinators
include when, whenever, if, because, while, and unless.
Below are three examples of subordinate clauses.
1)

You should proofread your essays because demonstrating that you have

strong writing skills is essential to a high grade.


2)

Whenever my English teacher grades our papers, she checks for correct

subject-verb agreement.
3)

I submitted my final essay several hours before the deadline, although I

was tempted to procrastinate and finish it later .


However, subordinate clauses can obscure sentence meanings when they are
placed inappropriately. Be sure that your subordinate clause does not disrupt
the logic and flow of your independent clause.

Clear sentences.

The flight may be delayed for a few hours, if the snow continues to fall at this
rate.
If the snow continues to fall at this rate, the flight may be delayed for a few
hours.

Unclear sentences.

The flight, if the snow continues to fall at this rate, may be delayed for a few
hours.
The flight may be delayed, if the snow continues to fall at this rate, for a few
hours.
For a few hours, if the snow continues to fall at this rate, the flight may be
delayed.
Subordinate clauses begin with words that join them to independent clauses;
these words are subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns.
What words begin subordinate clauses?
Subordinating conjunctions usually begin the adverb subordinate clause.
After
Although
As
As if
As long as
As soon as

As though
Because
Before
Even though
If
In order that

Once
Provided that
Since
So that
Than
Though

Unless
Until
When*
Whenever*
Where*
While

*when and where may also begin adjective or noun subordinate clauses
Relative Pronouns often begin adjective and noun subordinate clauses.
That
How
What

Who
Whom
Which

Whichever
Whoever
Whomever

Whose
Whether
Why

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.
Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions
Some conjunctions are used simply to join or coordinate clauses, for example,
and, but, or, so. Look at the following example sentences:
We are going to the cinema and spending an evening at the opera. The lending
library closes at 7pm, but the reading rooms stay open until 9pm.
Other conjunctions, however, are used to subordinate one clause to the other
(the main clause). The following pairs of sentences illustrate the different
between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions:
We are going to the cinema and spending an evening at the opera. After going
to the cinema, we are spending an evening at the opera. The lending library
closes at 7pm, but the reading rooms stay open until 9pm. Whereas the
lending library closes at 7pm, the reading rooms stay open until 9pm.