Unit Four  Joining Sentences with Subordinators

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Subordinators are sentence joining words that, like the coordinators, help us show a variety of relationships between ideas. Here are the subordinators we use most often:


Subordinator            Logical Relationship           Example


although, though          contrast                                    Although I am a senior, I have 40 more units

even though                                                                 to take.

while, whereas


because, since              result/cause                              School is taking longer because I have to



if                                  condition                                 I can go to the movies if I finish my



unless                          condition                                 I cannot go to the movies unless I finish my

                                                                                    homework. (if I don't finish)


before after                  time                                         I'll try to finish my homework before I go to

when, whenever                                                           the movies.

until, as soon as


When we put a subordinator in front of a sentence, we change the sentence from an independent clause to a dependent (or subordinate) clause. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence by itself, so we have to join it to an independent clause:


Because she purchased her ticket in advance,                                      (dependent clause)

she got a discount fare.                                                                            (independent clause)

She got a discount fare                                                                             (independent clause)

because she purchased her ticket in advance.                                      (dependent clause)


Here is the rule to remember when using the subordinators to join two logically related ideas:


The dependent clause can come first or second in the sentence, but the two logically related ideas must appear in the same sentence.


She bought a ticket in advance.                                                                           (sentence)

Because she bought a ticket in advance.                                    (fragment, not a sentence)

Because she bought a ticket in advance, she got a discount fare.             (sentence)


PUNCTUATION: When the subordinate clause comes first in a sentence, it is followed by a comma, following this pattern: subordinate clause + comma + independent clause.





Exercise One  Pests


Combine the following pairs of sentences using subordinators. Make the underlined sentence into the subordinate, or dependent, clause; the logical relationship is given in brackets.


EXAMPLE:       Some rodents and birds prey on cockroaches.

                 Humans are their biggest foes.                                            [contrast]


SOLUTION:       Although some rodents and birds prey on cockroaches, humans are their biggest foes.



1.         Cockroaches are a health menace to humans.

            They carry viruses and bacteria that cause diseases from hepatitis to salmonella.[result/cause]







2.         Humans try to defeat the cockroaches.

            Cockroaches are very successful at surviving.                                                             [contrast]







3.         Cockroaches are smaller than the humans who chase them.

            They have extremely fast responses and sensitive receptors.                                       [contrast]







4.         There is no food.

            Cockroaches subsist on glue, paper, and soap.                                                            [condition]







5.         They can't find glue, paper, or soap.

            They can draw on body stores for three months.                                                         [condition]







6.         Cockroaches are really desperate.

They will turn into cannibals.                                                                                      [condition]







7.         Female Surinam cockroaches produce generation after generation of identical females.

            They are able to clone themselves.                                                                            [result/cause]







8.         Cockroaches must have their antennae intact.

            They function well even with their eyes painted over.                                                  [contrast]







9.         Some scientists believe roaches would survive nuclear war.

            Roaches can tolerate much more radiation than humans.                                        [result/cause]







10.       Scientists have found that cockroaches dehydrate and die.

            They are deprived of their protective waterproof  coating.                                           [condition]







11.       You want to keep cockroaches as pets.

            You should find a way to destroy their waterproof coating.                                         [condition]







Exercise Two  Stay on the Trail


In the following exercise, decide first how the ideas are logically related; then choose a subordinator that shows the relationship and join the two sentences with it.


EXAMPLE:      Yoshi was not much of a hiker.

He went hiking with his co-worker Jose.


SOLUTION:        Although Yoshi was not much of a hiker, he went hiking with his co-worker Jose.



1.         Jose suggested they go to a State Park in warm Sonoma County.

It was cold and foggy in San Francisco.







2.         They got to the park.

They purchased a map of all the traits.







3.         Yoshi chose a rather short trail.

Jose chose a longer, more challenging trail.







4.         Yoshi agreed to go on the longer trail.

Jose promised to buy him dinner.







5.         They started out on the trail.

They left the trail and walked a distance in some tall grass.






6.         Yoshi felt an alarming pain in his arm.

He suggested they stop and rest for a moment.







7.         Yoshi took off his shirt.

He found a tick embedded in his arm.







8.         Both Yoshi and Jose knew ticks carry a disease.

They read Newsweek and watched "Nightline."







9.         Ticks, including a few in Sonoma County, carry Lyme Disease.

Yoshi was not worried.







10.       He removed the tick right away.

He will be less likely to contract the disease.







Words That Show Logical Relationships


Relationship                Coordinators                Subordinators              Transition Words


Addition                         and                                                                        also, moreover

                                       nor                                                                         in addition



Cause/Effect                   so                                                                          therefore, thus

                                       because                                                                  as a result, hence


Reason/Result                for                                                                         consequently


Contrast                         but                                  although                         however

                                       yet                                  even though                    nevertheless

                                                                              though                            on the other hand




Concession                                                           although

                                                                              even though




Alternative                      or                                                                           instead



Condition                                                              if




Time                                                                      after, before                    then, next

                                                                              since, until                      afterwards

                                                                              while, when                     subsequently

      whenever                        first, second  . . .

      as soon as                       finally



Coordinators can join sentences or introduce complete sentences.


Lucy has a new computer, but she doesn't know how to use it.

Lucy has a new computer. But she doesn't know how to use it.


Subordinators can join sentences or introduce sentences if the clauses they are attached to are followed by commas and then by independent clauses.


Kevin likes his job because he makes a lot of money.

Because he makes a lot of money, Kevin likes his job.


Transition words cannot join sentences, so you must use a semicolon (;) between the two sentences or separate them with a period. But they are best used to show transitions between two logically related series of sentences.



Chocolate High  Review Exercise 1

In the following review exercise, you will use coordinators and subordinators to join sentences and show logical relationships. In some sets, you are asked to join first with a coordinator and then with a subordinator. (Refer to the chart on page 43 for help.)


EXAMPLE:       Many people can't seem to live without chocolate.

Scientists wonder if chocolate is addictive.


SOLUTION 1:   Many people can't seem to live without chocolate, so scientists wonder

if chocolate is addictive.                                             (coordinator)


SOLUTION 2:    Scientists wonder if chocolate is addictive, for many people can't seem

to live without it.                                                          (coordinator)


SOLUTION 3:     Because many people can't seem to live without chocolate, scientists

wonder if it is addictive.                                             (subordinator)


1.         There are many delicious kinds of chocolate.

Milk chocolate is the most popular kind in the United States.


a.         Use a coordinator:






b.         Use a subordinator:






2.         The average American consumes ten pounds of chocolate every year.

This number is increasing.


a.         Use a coordinator:






3.         Some of us get hooked on chocolate.

The chemicals in chocolate can help us feel good.


a.         Use a coordinator:





b.         Use a subordinator:





4.         Pyrazines in chocolate attract humans.

Pyrazines smell good.


a.         Use a coordinator:






b.         Use a subordinator:






5.         The chemical phenylethylamine appeals to chocolate lovers.

It gets people out of sad moods.


a.         Use a coordinator:






b.         Use a subordinator:






6.         People consume carbohydrates, a component of chocolate.

Their moods improve and they feel more alert.


a.         Use a subordinator:






7.         We can eat chocolate to get all the benefits.

We may gain weight.


a.         Use a coordinator:






b.         Use a subordinator:






8.         You feel you are addicted to chocolate.

You have two choices.


a.         Use a subordinator:






9.         You can quit eating chocolate altogether.

You can try to eat less.


a.         Use a coordinator:






10.       Most people choose to eat less chocolate.

They can't imagine a life without chocolate.


a.          Use a coordinator:






b.         Use a subordinator: