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50 Important Subordinating Conjunctions in English Grammar

50 Important Subordinating Conjunctions in English Grammar

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Subordinating conjunctions are integral to this process, bridging the gap between an independent clause, which can stand alone as a sentence, and a dependent clause, which cannot. Understanding subordinating conjunctions is essential for us to master the art of writing and speaking because they help us indicate relationships such as time, cause and effect, condition, and concession.

Understanding Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating Conjunctions

Definition and Role

Subordinating conjunctions serve a crucial function in sentence structure by connecting a dependent clause to an independent clause. The main role of these conjunctions is to show the relationship between the two clauses in terms of time, cause and effect, contrast, or condition.

  • Cause and effect: because, since, so that
  • Time: after, before, once, until
  • Contrast: although, even though, whereas
  • Condition: if, unless, provided that

These words signal that the following clause complements the main one, adding necessary detail or context.

Formation and Structure

To properly use subordinating conjunctions, we need to understand how they impact the structure of our sentences. Here’s a straightforward way to see how they fit:

  1. Independent Clause: Can stand alone as a sentence.
  2. Dependent Clause: Cannot stand alone. Needs the independent clause to make sense.
  3. Subordinating Conjunction: Introduces the dependent clause and shows its relationship to the independent clause.

Here is an example for clarity:

  • Independent Clause: “She finished her report.”
  • Subordinating Conjunction: “before”
  • Dependent Clause: “the deadline was due.”
  • Full Sentence: “She finished her report before the deadline was due.”

The Importance of Subordinating Conjunctions

Coherence in Writing

We use subordinating conjunctions to link independent clauses to dependent clauses, which is essential for creating coherent paragraphs. For instance:

  • Time: We waited until the sun set.
  • Condition: If you hurry, you can catch the bus.

Clarity of Ideas

By using subordinating conjunctions, we clarify the relationship between different parts of a sentence. Consider the following examples:

  • Cause and Effect: Because it was raining, the picnic was canceled.
  • Contrast: Even though it was cold, we decided to go for a walk.

Types of Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are the connectors that link a dependent clause to an independent one within a sentence. Let’s examine the various types and see how they function.


Time-related subordinating conjunctions establish when something happens. They set the stage for actions by indicating temporal relationships. Here are some key examples:

  • after: We’ll leave after the meeting concludes.
  • before: Finish your homework before you watch TV.
  • since: We have been best friends since childhood.
  • until: Wait here until I return.
  • when: Call me when you arrive.
  • while: While I was reading, the phone rang.


Conditional subordinating conjunctions specify the prerequisites for an action or state to occur. These conjunctions include:

  • if: We can go to the park if it doesn’t rain.
  • unless: I’ll attend the wedding unless I have to work.
  • provided that: You may use my car provided that you fill up the tank.
  • as long as: I will support you as long as you try your best.

Cause and Effect

To express causality, we use subordinating conjunctions that connect reasons to outcomes. This linkage is critical for understanding the motivation behind actions. Notable conjunctions are:

  • because: We stayed indoors because it was thundering.
  • since: Since you asked nicely, you may have a cookie.
  • so that: We set an alarm so that we wouldn’t oversleep.

Contrast and Concession

Conjunctions of contrast and concession show an unexpected relationship or contradiction between clauses. These are powerful tools for conveying surprise or exceptions, such as:

  • although: Although it was raining, we had a great picnic.
  • even though: We went hiking even though it was chilly.
  • despite: Despite having a headache, she finished the marathon.
  • whereas: You like to ski, whereas I prefer snowboarding.

List of Subordinating Conjunctions

Learn 50 subordinating conjunctions list in English grammar.

  • after
  • although
  • as
  • as if
  • as long as
  • as much as
  • as soon as
  • as though
  • because
  • before
  • even
  • even if
  • even though
  • if
  • if only
  • if when
  • if then
  • inasmuch
  • in order that
  • just as
  • lest
  • now
  • now since
  • now that
  • now when
  • once
  • provided
  • provided that
  • rather that
  • since
  • so that
  • supposing
  • than
  • that
  • though
  • till
  • unless
  • until
  • when
  • whenever
  • where
  • whereas
  • where if
  • wherever
  • whether
  • which
  • while
  • who
  • whoever
  • why

Example sentences:

  •  It is easy to prophesy after the event.
  • She walked home by herself, although she knew that it was dangerous.
  • The lion is not so fierce as he is painted.
  • It looks as if it’s going to rain.
  • I’ll love you as long as I live.
  • The final cost could be as much as one billion dollars.
  • As soon as we can afford it, we’ll move out to the suburbs.
  • The builder looked at me as though I was barking mad.
  • The devil knows may things because he is old.
  • We shouldn’t slight anybody even if he’s a nobody.
  • He had no plans to retire even though he is now very comfortably off.
  • He knows much who knows how to hold his tongue
  • A dog will not howl if you beat him with a bone.
  • He left early in order that he should/would/might arrive on time.
  • I obeyed her lest she should be angry.
  • The other banks are going to be very eager to help, provided that they see that he has a specific plan.
  • I tend to forget things unless I mark them down.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of subordinating conjunctions in complex sentences?

Subordinating conjunctions serve to connect independent clauses with dependent clauses, providing necessary context such as time, reason, condition, and contrast. By doing so, they help complex sentences convey more detailed and nuanced information.

Can you list examples of subordinating conjunctions commonly used in English?

Certainly! Some frequently used subordinating conjunctions are “although,” “because,” “if,” “since,” “unless,” “while,” and “after.” These words introduce subordinate clauses and establish a relationship with the rest of the sentence.

How does a subordinating conjunction differ from a coordinating conjunction?

A subordinating conjunction connects a dependent clause to an independent clause, indicating that the former provides supplementary information. In contrast, a coordinating conjunction like “and,” “but,” or “or” links two independent clauses that are of equal importance in the sentence.

What are some tips for identifying subordinate clauses in sentences?

To identify a subordinate clause, look for a clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence and that is introduced by a subordinating conjunction. This clause will provide additional information but needs to be connected to an independent clause to make sense.

How do subordinating conjunctions relate to the structure of a sentence?

Subordinating conjunctions affect the structure by indicating that the information in the dependent clause is of secondary importance, supporting the main idea found in the independent clause. This hierarchical relationship helps clarify the significance of different parts of a sentence.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using subordinating conjunctions?

One common mistake is using a subordinating conjunction without a following dependent clause, which can result in a fragmented sentence. Avoid creating a sentence with two subordinating conjunctions that require two separate dependent clauses, as this can cause confusion. Additionally, be mindful not to use a subordinating conjunction in place of a coordinating conjunction or vice versa, as this can alter the meaning and clarity of your sentence.

Josiah Beadeh

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Wednesday 7th of September 2022