Some sentences are Compound or Complex. Such sentences have two clauses, dependent and independent clauses. The essential ingredient in a complex sentence is the subordinating conjunction.A subordinating conjunction always introduces a dependent clause, connecting it to an independent clause.
1. The clauses can work in any order; that is, the independent ‘main’ or the dependent ‘subordinate’ clause can come first in the sentence, but in either order, the first word of the dependent (or subordinate) clause will be the subordinating conjunction.

  • “I will have the right to vote” independent clause (complete thought)
  • “when I become 18 years old” dependent clause (incomplete thought)

2. The subordinate conjunction has two functions. First, it offers a smooth and necessary shift the first idea to the second one. This shift/transition will indicate a time, place, or cause and effect relationship.


  • Lisa will calm down her nerves once her little son tells her the truth about the missing money.
  • Lisa came trembling after the back wall had fallen.

3. The second function or role of the subordinate conjunction is to decrease the importance of one clause so that the reader can understands which of the two ideas is more important. The more important idea belongs in the main clause, the less important in the clause introduced by the subordinate conjunction.

  • As Lina answered her phone call while driving, she broke her jaw on the wind shield.
  • Dad begins to cough violently whenever he sits next to smokers in public places.