Subordinating conjunctions

If you’ve never heard of a conjunction before, I suggest you find out pronto. Conjunctions are particularly important in the English language to join clauses and make sentences flow. Today we’re going to learn about subordinating conjunctions. Are you ready? Let’s find out what they are…

Subordinating conjunction meaning and definition

Let’s turn the difficulty up a notch with subordinating conjunctions. I eased you in with coordinating conjunctions, now it’s time to get a bit more difficult…


These types of conjunction are when a subordinate clause is joined to a main clause. Subordinate means less important, a lower rank, secondary etc. The conjunction introduces the subordinate clause and links the 2 together so they make sense.

subordinating conjunctions meaning and definition - rules in grammar

Subordinating conjunction examples

Let’s take a look at a few examples. The conjunction is in italics and the main clause is in bold.

  • I will go shopping if it stops raining.
  • We will order when Paul arrives.
  • He failed the exam because he didn’t revise.
  • He ate his greens so he could play in the park.
subordinating conjunctions examples

comma rules in grammar

You may or may not have noticed that when joining the main clause to the subordinate clause, sometimes a comma is used and sometimes it isn’t. If you don’t know what a comma is, where the hell have you been? You can check out my punctuation page for more details. Anyway, check out the pictures below, they’ll really help you when learning about subordinating conjunctions.

subordinating conjunction definition
subordinating conjunction definition
subordinating conjunction definition

subordinating conjunction list

So, now you get the idea of how this type of conjunction works, are you ready to see the rest? There are in fact lots of them, but I’ve made a list just for you of the most common ones.

most common subordinating conjunctions list

types of subordinating conjunction

Now here’s the fun part, subordinating conjunctions can be categorised into several groups. Click the links below see a list of the types with pictures and examples.

Now you’ve mastered coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, try your hand at the final type, correlative conjunctions.