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1.2: Coordination and Subordination

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This page deals with coordination and subordination.

Coordination and Subordination

Coordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make compound sentences. The coordinating conjunctions are as follows: and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. You can use coordinating conjunctions to revise run-on sentences and comma splices (see above). You can also use coordinating conjunctions to make writing less choppy by joining short, simple sentences. Consider the following examples.

In this example, it is necessary to put a comma before the coordinating conjunction but because there are two independent clauses being combined. Another way to think of this is that I wanted more popcorn and Sam wanted Junior Mints could stand on their own as independent sentences. So, there must be a comma and a conjunction between them.

In this example, we’ve combined the sentences with the coordinating conjunction but. We’ve also eliminated some of the words so that the sentence wouldn’t sound redundant. In this case, it isn’t necessary to put a comma before but because there are not two independent clauses joined together.

Subordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make complex sentences. The subordinating conjunctions are as follows: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while.

You can use subordinating conjunctions to correct run-on sentences and comma splices. And you can use them to combine sentences so that writing is less choppy. Consider the following examples.

In this sentence, the subordinate clause is at the end. It would also be correct to place the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence:

Because it’s hard to eat popcorn without it, I wanted to get more soda.

Notice that when the subordinate clause comes at the beginning, it’s necessary to insert a comma.

I missed a really important part of the movie while I was getting more soda and popcorn. (Subordinate clause at the end of the sentence).

Subordination and Coordination Exercise

Join the two independent clauses to make a compound sentence. Use one of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet). Remember to use a comma before the connecting word.

Join the two independent clauses to make a complex sentence. Use one of the subordinating conjunctions (after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while). Remember to use a comma if the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of the sentence.

Click here for exercise answers.

For more information about sentence structure, please visit these OWL resources:

 

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