Subordinate Conjunctions – Concept, types and examples

We explain what subordinating conjunctions are, the characteristics and functions of each type and examples in sentences.

subordinate conjunctions
Subordinate conjunctions create a hierarchy between two elements.

What are subordinate conjunctions?

In grammar, conjunctions or links are the type of words that serve as a bridge between other syntactic elements, as propositions, phrases or words, linking them and providing cohesion to the language. They are words lacking their own lexical meaning, that is, they have only a grammatical, relational meaning within the sentence.

Conjunctions are very common words and very present in practically all the languages ​​that exist. They play a vital role in the construction of an orderly and logical discourse, and can be classified into two broad types:

  • Coordinating Conjunctions or own, which allow linking two or more interchangeable grammatical units, without hierarchizing them and without altering the joint meaning, that is, leaving them at the same syntactic level.
  • Subordinate or improper conjunctions, which by linking grammatical units build a hierarchy in which one (the main or subordinate) gains greater importance or relevance for what has been said than the other (the secondary or subordinate). In other words, these links build relationships of grammatical subordination.

Subordinate conjunctions are necessary to construct subordinate sentences, and in general they do not usually join words and phrases, as much as sentences or whole propositions, without these being able to interchange with each other, as is the case with coordinating conjunctions. The latter is due to the fact that there is a sentence hierarchy, which establishes that the subordinate clause has no meaning in the absence of its respective main clause.

Types of subordinating conjunctions

Taking into consideration the type of relationship that they introduce between the main clause and the subordinate clause, subordinating conjunctions can be classified as:

  • Causal subordinating conjunctions. Those that introduce a causal relationship between the main sentence and the subordinate one, that is, that establish in the subordinate the reason or the consequence of what is said in the main sentence. For example, the case of “because” in “Yesterday I did not go to class because I felt bad”; or that of “since” in “I lend you my jacket, since I see you cold ”. Other conjunctions of this type are “since”, “since”, “then”, and so on.
  • Comparative subordinate conjunctions. Those that establish a comparison of some kind between the main and subordinate clauses. For example, the conjunction “more than” in “You’re talking! more than a parakeet! ” or also “as” in “My sister drives What a Formula 1 driver ”. Other conjunctions of this type are “less than”, “equal to”, “worse than”, “which”, “as well as”, and so on.
  • Conditional subordinating conjunctions. Those that establish a conditionality relationship between the main and subordinate clause, that is, that one is fulfilled when (and if) the other is fulfilled. For example, the “yes” link in “You can win the prize Yes you keep participating ”, or also“ but yes ”in“ I don’t feel like cooking, but yes you are hungry I do ”. Other conjunctions of this type are: “provided”, “provided that”, “provided that”, and so on.
  • Consecutive subordinating conjunctions. Also called ilative, they are those in which the subordinate clause is deduced or derived from what is said in the main clause, or vice versa. For example, the case of “therefore” in “The ship had already set sail, Thus there was no going back ”; or from “so that” in “People piled up in the square, so that no one could distinguish him from the crowd. ” Other conjunctions of the case are: “so”, “well”, “so that”, “so much that”, “so”, and so on.
  • Temporal subordinating conjunctions. They are those that express a temporal relationship between the main clause and the subordinate clause, either before, after, at the same time, and so on. For example, when we use “when” in “Pigeons flew from nearby buildings, when the shot rang out in the city “, or also” as soon “in” The police arrested him as soon they managed to identify it ”. Other conjunctions of this type are: “before”, “after”, “while”, “every time”, and so on.
  • Final subordinating conjunctions. They are those that, by linking the main and subordinate clauses, create a sense of purpose, that is, of purpose, between the two. For example, when using “so that” in “They brought the sick person loaded, for what the doctor could examine him ”; or “so that” in “The company increased its staff in order to work gets done faster ”. Other conjunctions of this type are: “for”, “in order that”, “in view of”, “with view of”, and so on.
  • Concessive subordinating conjunctions. They are those in which an objection to the main clause is expressed in the subordinate clause, but at the same time that does not preclude action. In other words, they are used to grant, to agree to what is proposed or to accept what is proposed. For example, when we use “for more than” in “I am determined to help you, by more than let’s not be friends “, or also” although “in” They are going to give me the job, although there are better candidates ”. Other conjunctions in this case are: “even when”, “despite” or “although”, among others.