Basic Subordinating Conjunctions
A subordinating conjunction is a word which joins together a dependent clause and an independent clause. This page will explain the most common subordinating conjunctions and how to use them.
What is a dependent clause?A clause is a unit which contains a subject and a verb. For example, "It was raining" is a clause; the subject is "it", and the verb is "was raining". A dependent clause is a clause which cannot exist on its own; it needs a main (or independent) clause to go with it. For example:
This sentence contains two clauses, "Because it was raining" and "I took my umbrella". The first clause does not mean anything on its own. If you say "Because it was raining", and nothing else, people will not be able to understand what you mean. However, "I took my umbrella" is an independent clause -- we can understand what it means even if it is alone.
Joining clauses together with subordinating conjunctionsExamine the example sentence one more time:
The important word here is "because". This is a subordinating conjunction. It is used to show the relationship between the two clauses. A subordinating conjunction usually comes at the beginning of the dependent clause, but the dependent clause itself can be before the main clause (usually followed by a comma) or after it (sometimes following a comma):
Important subordinating conjunctionsSome of the most important subordinating conjunctions fall into two groups: contrast, and cause and effect.