Subordinate Clauses

Directions: Add one of the subordinate conjunctions listed in the left panel in front of the first clause, and remove the period and capital letter that now separate the clauses. This combination is called a "complex sentence." Later you will be asked to move the subordinate clauses at the end. When you click "check," feedback will appear in a pop-up window, and your cumulative score will appear here.

Subordinate Conjunctions

     Words that introduce clauses attach them to another clause; for this reason they are called conjunctions (Latin for "together-joiners"). Sometimes these lesser clauses can be moved without changing more than emphasis, and when this happens, we find that the conjunctions move with them. They never migrate by themselves, but when their clauses move, they move with them. The reason for this behavior is to alert us when we see one of these subordinating conjunctions that what follows is a minor idea, and the meaning of each conjunction indicates what kind of minor idea it is: a cause, a result, a condition, a time, etc.
     It is useful to study subordinate clauses principally to learn how to punctuate better. Manipulating words to see how they move without altering meaning greatly helps us to see what belongs with what, where boundaries between sentences lie, and which words introduce and which merely float from one place to another without introducing anything. Differences like these affect both meaning and punctuation.

Here is a list of the only subordinate conjunctions you may use in this exercise: