What Is a Subordinate Clause? Examples and Definition

What Is a Subordinate Clause?

Definition of subordinate clauses

This is a clause that complements the main sentence’s clause and cannot, therefore, have meaning on its own. It is also referred to as a dependent clause because it provides supporting information to the main event of the sentence for it to have meaning.

Definition of a Clause 

A clause is a group of words that have a subject and a verb. A verb is a word that describes the action or an occurrence and is often referred to as a doing word since it forms the central part of a sentence by giving it the form. An example of a verb would be Anna walks in the morning. The word? Walks’ is the verb. In the same sentence example,? Anna’ is the subject, and the sentence is, therefore, a complete clause.

Example sentences using a subordinate clause

We can go hiking.

This sentence is complete and therefore, an independent clause because it has a subject(we) and a verb(hiking). And, but, for, or, nor, so and yet are coordinating conjunctions used as connecting words at the beginning of an independent clause.

However, we may need to convey more information in this same sentence such as;

We can go hiking if I find my boots.

The second part of the sentence? If I find my boots’ adds to the meaning of the sentence by putting a condition for the hiking idea. The added idea is that unless I find my boots, we cannot go for hiking.

This second part of the sentence does not have any meaning if it is said on its own. The sentence? If I find my boots’ has no meaning because it can be used on many other occasions, and no one can make sense of it unless there is additional information. Therefore, it will be referred to as a subordinate clause because it leaves the readers hanging with no knowledge of what to do next.

Words That Begin Subordinate Clauses

To begin subordinate clauses are specific words that often start with subordinating conjunctions should be used to qualify it as a subordinate clause and to provide meaning and balance in a sentence.

These are words that offer a link between the dependent and the independent clauses.

Examples of these 

words are Since, Therefore, Hence, Though, Due to, Because, Once, While, Whenever, Before, After.

Relative pronouns such as That, Whoever, Whose, Which, whichever can also be used to begin the sentence. When a reader sees these words in a sentence, he automatically knows that they are dealing with a subordinate clause and will get prepared to find the correct meaning of the sentence.

When the subordinate clause comes before the main clause, it is separated using a comma. A comma is not required if the subordinate clause is used after the main clause.

Also, the punctuation depends on whether the clause is essential or non-essential, whereby it is necessary when it clarifies a general noun.

For effective use of English to communicate, writers use subordination clauses to combine two ideas in one sentence, thus provide the required meaning to the readers. Learning how to use these clauses effectively is a sure way of being an effective communicator through the writing of the English language.

What Is a Subordinate Clause? Examples and Definition

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