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Grammar Lesson: The Subordinating Conjunction

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 10, 2010

The subordinating conjunction joins larger groups of words within sentences. It begins adverb clauses (groups of words that answer the questions When? Where? How? To what extent?). The subordinating conjunction can also be used to combine the ideas found in several sentences.

Here are the subordinating conjunctions, followed by sample sentences.

Because Grandma was upset, she asked to be left by herself.

After Andy parked his new car, his sister asked for a ride.

The driver stopped her vehicle where the passengers were standing.

Our goalie, Caroline, looked as if she could block any shot.

We will probably have to finish unless you know someone who could do it for us.

Activity 1

Use a subordinating conjunction to complete each sentence. Use each conjunction only once.

  1. We had not seen our old friends ________ they moved away several years ago.
  2. These chimpanzees looked ________ they were displeased with the zookeeper.
  3. Make the turn ________ you see the tall oak trees in front of the large white house.
  4. "________ you behave yourselves, you will not be able to go to the movies," Mom warned us.
  5. I cannot stop from laughing ________ Garrett tells us his funny stories.

Answers 1

These are possible answers.

  1. since
  2. as if
  3. when
  4. unless
  5. whenever

Activity 2

Combining Ideas With the Subordinating Conjunction

Use an appropriate subordinating conjunction to combine each pair of ideas or sentences. Insert punctuation where it is needed. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper. Feel free to add or delete words, but keep the same ideas.

  1. The bell rang. The students moved to the next period.
  2. You finish your science project. You cannot play your video game.
  3. We were watching the nightly news. We received a phone call from my aunt.
  4. My cat, Belinda, started to hiss. The veterinarian approached my cat.
  5. You will want to try an even harder puzzle. You solve a challenging puzzle.
  6. I take your picture. Stand here.
  7. Johann gets a ride. Johann will go to the concert.
  8. François explored the surroundings. His friends asked him questions.
  9. The garbage cans were left out in the street. The garbage collectors emptied the cans in the early morning.
  10. Eduardo was pale. Eduardo saw a ghost. Eduardo is my brother.

Answers 2

These are possible answers. There could be others

  1. When the bell rang, the students moved to the next period.
  2. Unless you finish your science project, you cannot play your video game.
  3. We were watching the nightly news when we received a phone call from my aunt.
  4. My cat, Belinda, started to hiss when the veterinarian approached.
  5. You will want to try an even harder puzzle after you solve this challenging puzzle.
  6. Stand here while I take your picture.
  7. If Johann gets a ride, he will go to the concert.
  8. François explored the surroundings as his friends asked him questions.
  9. The garbage cans were left out in the street after the garbage collectors emptied the cans in the early morning.
  10. My brother, Eduardo, turned pale when he saw a ghost.
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