What are Subordinating Conjunctions?
Subordinating Conjunctions are linking or connecting words that assist in joining a group of sentences, phrases, or words into one. They are in three types based on their functions and use. These three are subordinating, coordinating, and correlative. Here we shall look at subordinating conjunctions and how to punctuate them as well as their applications.
A subordinating conjunction is a word of conjunction that joins or connects a subordinate clause with an independent clause. An independent clause is also called the main clause because it can necessarily exist by itself in a given sentence. This means that it does not require any additional information to provide a full meaning.
On the other hand, a subordinate clause cannot exist on its own as a sentence, and it only gives additional information to the independent clause. Sentences with the main clause and at least one subordinate clause are called compound sentences. Subordinating conjunctions, therefore, appear in complex sentences where they link or join these clauses together.
List of Subordinate Conjunctions
Subordinate conjunctions are very many and here is their list;
|As if||If||Now that|
|As long as||In as much as||Though|
|As long as||So that||Unless|
|As much as||Lest||Until|
|As soon as||Since||While|
|As though||So that||Where|
|Before||That||Whether or not|
How to Use Subordinating Conjunctions
We use subordinating conjunctions in our daily communications unknowingly. They have different properties that give the following three groups;
- Those that show reason or cause and effect.
- Those that show the importance of place or time.
- Those that show a condition.
Those that Show a Reason
Some of the subordinate conjunctions are used in showing effects and their cause.
For example, since, as, hence, though, as a result of, and although among others. These conjunctions are used to reveal the reason behind something.
More examples in a sentence;
I will not go to school because I am sick.
(‘Because’ is subordinate conjunction that shows the reason as to why I will not go to school)
He failed as a result of making noise in class.
(As a result of is subordinate conjunction used to show the reason as to why he failed, also shows the effect of noise making in class).
Those that Show Importance of Place and Time
Some of the conjunctions are used to portray the transition of time and place.
For example, where, wherever, when, until, till, as long as, as soon as, once, while and whenever, among others.
Here are the examples of these types of conjunctions in a sentence showing time and place.
I will not come back until late in the evening. (until’ is used to show time )
The children ran to their mother as soon as they saw her.
Whenever his husband was out for work, she took care of the children.
Those that show conditions
Few subordinate conjunctions are used to show a condition.
Examples of this type of conjunctions are if, as long as and lest, among others. These conjunctions are used to show that the happening of one thing is influenced by the other.
That is, if one thing must happen, then another occurrence must have preceded.
Some examples are given below;
- If you abide by me, I will bless you. (This implies that ‘abiding by me’ is a condition for getting my blessing).
- Do not eat that fruit lest you die. (This means that ‘not eating that fruit’ is a condition for living, or not perishing).
How to Punctuate Subordinate Conjunctions
Subordinate conjunctions are punctuated using a comma. When they appear in the middle of the sentence, a comma is not necessary.
However, when the subordinating conjunctions are used at the beginning of the sentence, a comma is mandatory. The comma is put immediately after the first clause.
- Whenever the husband is at work, she takes care of the children. (Here, a comma is used because the subordinate conjunction is at the beginning of the sentence).
- She takes care of the children whenever the husband is at work. (In this sentence, there is no need of a comma because the subordinate conjunction is appearing at the middle of the sentence).
- This is actually the opposite of the coordinating conjunctions, and it can only be similar if the conjunctions are linking two independent sentences.