Business Writing Tip 38—Subordinating Conjunctions

In my last post I mentioned that there are two types of conjunctions: coordinating and subordinating. Business Writing Tip 37 was all about coordinating conjunctions and I promised you some information about how to use subordinating conjunctions.

I had hoped to get this post published earlier, but I’ve been busy showing a visitor some of the sights of Prague, but I’m back at my desk now! Here’s a photo of one of Prague’s famous buildings, which is commonly known as ‘The Dancing Building’ that I snapped with my phone.dancing building

Anyway, first let’s look at what subordinating conjunctions do.

Subordinating conjunctions join independent clauses to make complex sentences, with one clause being subordinate to the other. Subordinating conjunctions also provide a nice transition between one part of a sentence and the next.

Here’s a list of some common subordinating conjunctions:

  • Because
  • How
  • However
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • Whether
  • Although
  • Though
  • Since
  • As before
  • After
  • Once
  • Till
  • Until
  • Whereas
  • If
  • Than
  • For
  • Notwithstanding

And now, here are some examples.

I wanted to buy the new book because the reviews had been good.

In this sentence, the subordinate clause is at the end. You can also place the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence:

Because the reviews had been good, I wanted to buy the new book.

Remember: when the subordinate clause is at the start of the sentence, you need to put a comma after it (after the subordinate clause, not after the subordinating conjunction).

When I answered the phone, I missed an important part of the meeting.

Or

I missed an important part of the meeting when I answered the phone.

Notice also that the clauses ‘because the reviews had been good’ and ‘when I answered the phone’ are not a complete sentence—they can’t stand alone.

 

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