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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 are in bold for easy identification:

  1. As Sherri blew out the candles atop her birthday cake, she caught her hair on fire.
  2. Sara begins to sneeze whenever she opens the window to get a breath of fresh air.
  3. When the doorbell rang, my dog Skeeter barked loudly.