Conjunctions

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Conjunctions

Most people are familiar with coordinating conjunctions, those few words (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet) that join clauses equally, giving each clause equal emphasis and importance. Lesser known, however, are the subordinating conjunctions, words which join clauses unequally; the clause that immediately follows a subordinating conjunction has less emphasis and less importance than the connected clause. The subordinate clause has no complete meaning; it depends on the independent clause for its meaning. In other words, the subordinate clause expands the meaning of the independent clause.

  • Rock and Roll started. (independent clause)
  • when I was growing up (subordinate clause)
  • Rock and Roll started when I was growing up. (complete sentence)

Subordinate conjunctions can answer these questions.

QUESTION SUBORDINATE CONJUNCTION
EXAMPLE
WHY? because
since
why
in order that
I like rock and roll because I can dance to it.
TO WHAT DEGREE? inasmuch as
as much as
less than
more than
I danced as much as I could.
WHEN? after
as
as soon as
before
when
As soon as I hear an old, familiar rock tune, I want to dance.
WHERE? where
wherever
He likes to go where the action is.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS? although
if
in case (that)
If we don't go home now, we will be tired tomorrow.

These are some other subordinating conjunctions.

as if fewer than now that than
as long as in order that once though
as though in that provided (that) unless
even though like so long as until
no matter how