The versatility of conjunctions can be seen by their use in many different situations. Conjunctions are joining words that can be used to join two words or two phrases or two clauses and even two sentences. Conjunctions allow the writer to add new meaning to sentences, draw inferences, choose alternatives and show contrast. Conjunctions are subdivided into coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions. While coordinating conjunctions are just seven in number comprising AND, FOR, NOR, SO, YET, OR and BUT, correlative conjunctions come in pairs such as NEITHER…NOR, EITHER…OR, NOT ONLY…BUT ALSO and BOTH…AND. Correlative conjunctions are similar to coordinating conjunctions. Another type of conjunction is the Subordinating conjunction.
Subordinating conjunctions are much larger than the other two types of conjunctions and are more versatile. They join an independent clause with a subordinate clause. For instance, ‘The batsman went to see a coach’ can stand by itself and is an independent clause. The phrase ‘Because his cover drive was faulty’ is a subordinate clause and cannot stand by itself. When we join the two clauses we get the sentence ‘The batsman went to see a coach BECAUSE his cover drive was faulty.’ BECAUSE is the subordinating conjunction.
Different subordinating conjunctions imply different meanings to sentences. Subordinating conjunctions help to show contrast, specify conditions, show cause/effect and relate to time. Subordinating conjunctions related to contrast are ALTHOUGH, EVEN THOUGH, THOUGH, WHEREAS, EVEN IF and WHENEVER, subordinating conjunctions related to condition are AS LONG AS, UNLESS, PROVIDED THAT, WHILE, IF and SO LONG AS, subordinating conjunctions related to cause/effect are WHETHER, AS IF, IN ORDER THAT, NOW THAT, SO, BECAUSE, and subordinating conjunctions related to time are AS SOON AS, UNTIL, SINCE, WHEN, BEFORE and AFTER.
Understanding the proper use of conjunctions will help you to write better English. Take the quiz that follows and enter the colourful world of subordinating conjunctions.