Subordinating Conjunctions‏‎ in English Grammar

A subordinating conjunction (also known as dependent word or subordinator) is placed at the beginning of a subordinate (or dependent) clause to show the relationship between the dependent clause and the main sentence.

While the Mayor was addressing the crowd, the band started to play.

A subordinating conjunction also turns the clause into something that depends on the rest of the sentence for its meaning.

Because she was addicted to gambling, she lost everything.

Subordinating conjunctions are adverbs placed at the front of a clause to make it subordinate or dependent. The subordinate clause can come either before or after the main clause. If the the subordinate clause comes before the main clause, a comma is required.

Unless your mother helps us with the children, I will have to quit my job.
I will have to quit my job unless your mother helps us with the children.

Subordinators are usually a single word (after, as, because, once, than, since; etc) but they can also consist of a combination of words (as if, as long as, even if, in order that etc.) They can refer to:

Time: after, before, when, while, since
Cause & Effect: because, since, now that, as, in order that, so
Opposition: although, even though, though, whereas, while
Condition: if, unless, only if, whether or not, even if, in case (that)
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