Subordination & Sentence Combining
- A Clause has a subject and a verb
- An Independent Clause is a simple sentence; it is a group of words, with a subject and a verb, that makes sense by itself
- A Dependent Clause has a subject and verb, too, but it does not make sense by itself. It depends on the rest of the sentence to give it meaning
To add sentence variety to your writing and to help explain relationships between ideas, combine simple sentences using subordination.
- Simple independent clauses: My car had a flat tire. I was late for work.
- Use a dependent clause to begin a sentence: Because my car had a flat tire, I was late for work.
- Use a dependent clause to end a sentence: I was late for work because my car had a flat tire.
Use Subordinating Conjunctions to turn independent clauses into dependent clauses. For example: Caroline Studies. She gets good grades. When, Although, and Unless are Subordinating Conjunctions that turn Caroline Studies into dependent clauses.
- When Caroline studies, she gets good grades.
- Although Caroline studies, she gets bad grades.
- Unless Caroline studies, she will not pass Writing.
Punctuate Complex Sentences this way: If a dependent clause comes at the beginning of the sentence, put a comma after the dependent clause. If the dependent clause comes at the end of the sentence, do not put a comma in front of the dependent clause.
- Dependent Clause at the Beginning of the Sentence: Although we played well, we lost the game.
- Dependent Clause at the end of the Sentence: We lost the game although we played well.
Practice: Identify the Subordinating Conjunction and the Dependent Clause. Punctuate each sentence correctly based on the information above.
- Until you taste the pizza at Spiral Pizza you haven’t tasted real pizza.
- Give me a call when you get home.
- After Maureen and David got married they moved to a small town.
- Maureen and David moved to a small town after they got married.
- I always watch television while I iron my clothes.
- Because they never invited me to their house I stopped inviting them to mine.
- Before the neighbors put up a fence their dog was always digging in our back yard.
- Larry’s hair doesn’t look good unless he cuts it regularly.