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Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions like "despite" and "although" are used to join independent and dependent clauses together. This is called a "complex sentence". "Although she couldn't stand him, Melinda took a cross-country trip with Jerry."

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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Ritik Bansal
    Are those all the subordinating conjunctions, most or only a few?
    (23 votes)
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  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Adam O'Connor
    So do you have to just know that "but" is a coordinating conjunction and "although" is a subordinating conjunction in order to make the distinction? It seems as though he is saying that you can tell which one is which by checking to see whether or not it can stand on it's own, but they both do the same thing depending on whether or not you leave the conjunction in.

    "Beckany Prefered to sweep the floor." (Stands Alone)
    "She loved Sir Reginald." (Stands Alone)

    Neither one seems to stand alone if you add the conjunction back in though.

    "but Beckany prefered to sweep the floor." (yeah, so what?)
    "although she loved Sir Reginald." (Yeah, so what?)

    I don't understand what the "Yeah, so what?" test does.
    (13 votes)
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    • female robot grace style avatar for user Inger Hohler
      I too am having trouble with the difference between "but" and "although". This may well be because English is not my native language, but at least I thought I'd found some kind of system that allows me to differentiate between them. To me it seems possible to say both Although I like ice cream, I prefer chocolate and _ I like ice cream but I prefer chocolate_ without changing the meaning. If the words in some instances can be used interchangeably, it's hard to see why "but" is classified only as a coordinating conjunction. If anything, it should be supraordinating - but that class does not exist! "But" logically cannot be subordinating, because what comes after the "but" is the opposite clause of what comes after "although" when the sentences mean the same.

      Then I checked my Shorter Oxford English of 1950 and read that but as a conjunction introduces in a complex sentence the subordinate clause... and that in a compound sentence it can connect the two coordinate members.

      Does not this mean that "but" can be either a coordinating conjunction or a subordinating conjunction depending on context?

      I do agree that a sentence of the structure John likes x, but Jane likes y is a coordinating conjunction, but it does not feel right in the ice cream example above.

      I'm not sure if you consider this an answer, Adam, and I'm not expert here - just interested, but I think it is better to regard this as a discussion than a new question. Sort of figuring out why we are not happy that "but" and "although" are always in different categories, so that someone in the know can know how to enlighten us.
      (14 votes)
  • starky sapling style avatar for user xxwilliamhxx
    do you think pineapple goes on pizza?
    (8 votes)
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  • primosaur tree style avatar for user Hudson olivas
    Is Santa clause a subordinating conjunction?
    (6 votes)
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  • starky sapling style avatar for user Jaidyn McBride
    Can "However" be a Subordinating conjunctions
    (3 votes)
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  • starky sapling style avatar for user ashleyrj
    i feel you liam who is a 8th grader too easy
    (2 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Ayesha
    I'm not sure about other countries, but Australia has this acronym for subordinating conjunctions called I SAW A WABUB, but it only includes some of the subordinating conjunctions.
    (3 votes)
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  • starky seedling style avatar for user Data
    And the subordinating exampe at can be combined with "but" as well so it can be combined with a coordinating conjunction, right? It can be combined like "She loved Sir Reginald, but Lady Penelope hated his pranks."
    (2 votes)
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    • female robot amelia style avatar for user Johanna
      You could make the sentence "She loved Sir Reginald, but Lady Penelope hated his pranks." However, you would be changing its structure.

      You originally had the dependent clause "Although she loved Sir Reginald" and the independent clause "Lady Penelope hated his pranks."

      Your new sentence consists of the independent clause "She loved Sir Reginald" connected with a comma and the coordinating conjunction "but" to the independent clause Lady Penelope hated his pranks."

      Both could be acceptable, but they have different kinds of clauses.
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Kristin Ouyang
    I can't understand about:
    David said Subording conjunctions can't seperate in two sentences but Coordinating conjunctions can. He moved the Coordinating conjunctions away when he seperated the sentence, but didn't move the Subordinating one away.
    Like:
    I like candy because it tastes sweet. I can seperate this sentence into "I like candy" and "It tastes sweet" and I can't see if there's any problem in it.
    Is there anyone can explain it to me, thx.
    (1 vote)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      OK. I'll try, using your example.

      "I like candy because it tastes sweet."

      With a coordinating conjunction it would read.

      "I like candy, and it tastes sweet."

      With a subordinating conjunction it reads:
      "I like candy because it tastes sweet."

      The two phrases in the first sentence are, as you suggest, "I like candy." and "It tastes sweet."

      Each clause can stand on its own.

      But with the subordinating conjunction, the clauses read:
      "I like candy." and "because it tastes sweet." The second clause cannot stand on its own.
      The subordinating conjunction "because", causes the second phrase to lose its independent status.
      (5 votes)
  • leaf blue style avatar for user RJV
    I just wanted to ask when and when not to use a conjunction. I understand a conjunctions purpose, but not exactly when to use them. There are some sentences that do not seem to be able to go together, conjunction or not.
    (2 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      In that case, those sentences are perhaps better off never being joined. Kind of like, "My sister has pneumonia and submarines can move along under water." It just doesn't work, does it? But if I write, "Ocean liners are surface ships and submarines move along under water." That works.

      Look at these.

      Birds fly but seals swim.

      Ducks quack and gulls screech.

      Some scouts make fires, and other scouts sell cookies.
      (3 votes)

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hey, grammarians. Today let's start talking about subordinating conjunctions. Words like, although and after and because. It's a pretty complicated topic, because in order to understand subordinating conjunctions, you have to understand the difference between an independent, and a dependent clause. Because that's what subordinating conjunctions do, is they unite independent and dependent clauses. That's what subordinating conjunctions do. But, what are these? You know, what is an independent and a dependent clause? Well okay so first of all, let's back up again. What is a clause? A clause is just a language chunk that has a subject and a verb. That's what a clause does. All sentences are clauses, but not all clauses are sentences. I'll write that down. So, all sentences are clauses, but not all clauses are sentences. It's possible to have something that has both a subject and a verb, that doesn't stand on its own, and that's a dependent clause. We'd call that a sentence fragment. What a dependent clause does, is provide extra information that isn't necessary to the understanding of the sentence, right. But an independent clause has to be able to stand on its own. So, let's take a look at the sentence here. Herbert performed his irresponsible experiments because he was curious. And this sentence is composed of two clauses. In red, we've got this independent clause, Herbert performed his irresponsible experiments. And in green, we have this dependent clause, because he was curious. Now, we know that because he was curious, is the dependent clause. Because, it explains more of why Herbert did what he did. Right, it is explaining the reason for his performing irresponsible experiments. But, because he was curious on its own, doesn't work as a sentence, he was curious does. That's a sentence. But, because he was curious asks more questions than it answers. Because he was curious, what? You know, if a clause causes you to ask. Yeah, so what? Then it's probably a dependent clause, write that down. Put that in the doctrine. So, a dependent clause should cause you to ask, yeah so what? Because a dependent clause leans against an independent clause. It's like a ladder laid up against the tree. The tree is still gonna be standing there whether or not the ladder is there or not. But, the ladder is useful because it allows you to get up further into the tree and explore its leaves, if that makes sense. It allows you to get further context and further understanding. But the tree could just as easily, it's still a tree without the ladder. Right, you don't have to have a ladder in order to be a tree. All right so, another thing about the difference between a coordinating and a subordinating conjunction, is that coordinating conjunctions only unite independent clauses with each other. Which means, any sentence that has a coordinating conjunction like, but or anything else in fanboys,. Which is for and nor, but, or yet so, right. Can be separated into two sentences, two separate sentences. Look at this, so Jimothy liked to wash the dishes, but Beckany preferred to sweep the floor. Now these can each be their own sentences. Jimothy liked to wash the dishes. Beckany preferred to sweep the floor. We can combine these if we want to and, we have. Whereas, this subordinating conjunction sentence that begins with although, cannot be separated into two sentences. Although she loved Sir Reginald, Lady Penelope hated his pranks. So, Lady Penelope hated his pranks, that's a sentence. Although she loved Sir Reginald, that's not a sentence. This is a dependent clause so, this can be split. (mouth sound effects) This cannot be split, because although she loved Sir Reginald, doesn't stand on its own, it just grants additional context and detail to the fact that Lady Penelope hated Sir Reginald's pranks. So, with that in mind, here are some of the most common subordinating conjunctions in English. And some of these you might recognize as being adverbs or prepositions in other contexts, but you could also use them to unite dependent and independent clauses. So, here we go. After, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, like, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and, while. All of these words have the power to unite independent and dependent clauses. You may notice some of them like, after and before, are prepositions. They can be used in many ways. English is complicated, but I am confident that you can figure this out because you can learn anything. These are some of the subordinating conjunctions of English. David out.