The most common subordinators are:

although, even though,

because, since*, so that,

when, while, before*, after*, whenever,

wherever, anywhere,

if, unless, whether [or not]

as, as [adjective] as,


(to show slight contrast)

(to give reasons)

(to indicate time relationships)

(to indicate place)

(to indicate conditions)

(to give comparisons)

(to show major contrast)

*These words can also be used as prepositions.

Subordinators have an interesting effect on words in a sentence. A clause (S +V) without a subordinator can stand alone as a complete statement.

I went to the store yesterday.

(Complete statement)

However, when a subordinator is added, the statement seems incomplete.

When I went to the store yesterday, . . .

(Well, what happened?)

The subordinating clause becomes dependent on something else to complete its meaning:

When I went to the store yesterday, I saw an old friend.

(Idea is complete)

Subordinating or “dependent” clauses can occur at the beginning or end of a sentence. When used at the beginning of a sentence, a comma is necessary after the clause itself.

S + V although S + V

Although S + V , S + V

In English, the subordinator always comes before the subject and verb in a clause.

I went to the grocery store after, I stopped at the bank.

After I went to the grocery store, I stopped at the bank.



Subordinators and coordinators should not be used in the same sentence to introduce clauses. Choose one or the other, but do not use both together.

Although Nina won the prize, but she was not happy.

Although Nina won the prize, she was not happy.

Nina won the prize, but she was not happy.



(Also correct)

See also:

The Main Clause (from Grammar Bytes)

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