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Subordinate Clauses

A subordinate clause, also known as a dependant clause, cannot stand by itself. By itself,
a subordinate clause is a fragment. For example:
As Joe put ice into his cup
You should join a subordinate clause to an independent clause to make it part of a
sentence. For example:
As Joe put ice into his cup, Maria talked about the paintings.
You can put the subordinate clause at the end of the sentence, too:
Maria talked about the paintings as Joe put ice into his cup.
A sentence with an independent clause and a subordinate clause is called a complex
The last two examples demonstrate how to punctuate complex sentences. If the
subordinate clause comes before the independent clause, a comma follows it. If it comes
after the independent clause, no comma separates the clauses.
Each of the following subordinate clauses is a fragment. Make a complete sentence by
placing an independent clause youll come up with after the subordinate clause. Then
write another sentence with the same clauses, but put the subordinate clause at the end.
Be sure to use the right punctuation!

After I ate a salad


After I ate a salad, I ordered dessert.

I ordered dessert after I ate a salad.

1. If I were rich

2. Since I didnt see you at the party

3. Until Sally finds her textbook

4. When I finally save up enough money

5. While you were sleeping

6. Because I bought you a present

7. Although Bob cant block

8. Before you feed the dog

9. Unless I hear from you

10. After it rains

In each sentence, underline the subordinate clause once and the independent clause twice.
Then circle the simple subject and box the verb in each clause.

The dog that I like has been sold.

The dog that I like has been sold.

1. After Bob shot the sheriff, he forgot to shoot the deputy.

2. Josephine won the election after she campaigned so hard.
3. The pillow that I had brought is under the table.
4. Blue, which I have seen on the walls of your school, is my favorite color.
5. When it rains, it pours.
6. It pours when it rains.
7. The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, if you understand me.
8. Although I should keep my mouth shut, I am going to speak.
9. I could have spent the time that I used to write my paper playing basketball!
10. The mayor, who was sworn in yesterday, promised better schools.

Exercise Directions: Write the subordinate/dependent clause in the following sentences.

Next to each one, write whether it is an adjective clause, adverb clause or a noun clause.
If an adjective or adverb clause, tell what word in the independent clause is modified by
that clause. If a noun clause, write how it is used in the sentence...that is, whether it is the
subject, direct object, object of preposition, indirect object or predicate noun.
1. Ancient Egyptians designed houses that were meant to be cool.
2. The architect who is my brother designed my home.
3. Before a proper foundation is designed, a soil test is done.
4. People who like tiny dogs have a choice of about fifteen kinds.
5. Whoever likes Shetland Sheepdogs will be happy with their choice.
6. Many people go to Chicago because there is always plenty to do.
7. Whenever I see an airplane, I want to travel.
8. Another question may be what the major issues are.
9. The skyline was spectacular as the sun set.
10.One group is made up of dogs that are bred as bird dogs.

Exercise Directions: In the following exercise, place an appropriate subordinating

conjunction in front of one of the independent clauses in each sentence. Do not create a
compound sentence with a coordinating conjunction. In this exercise, you should select
the main idea for the independent clause and create a dependent clause for the
subordinate idea. Keep in mind that when you place a subordinating conjunction in front
of an independent clause, a dependant clause is formed that may require a comma.
Remember the rules of punctuation when joining dependent clauses with independent

Algebra is offered only in the mornings. English is offered at night.


The course was excellent. Dr. Dawson taught it.


We could see very clearly last night. The moon was so bright.


It is cold outside. The joggers are wearing shorts.


Jonathan breaks out in a rash. Ragweed blooms in the backyard.


I knew you were coming. I would have cleaned the guest room.


I live just a few blocks away. I drive to school anyway.


The soldiers were dreadfully injured. They would lie on the battlefield without


attention for an hour or a day.


Bob is a good mechanic. He is planning to open his own repair shop.


The dog barked all night. The neighbors did not complain.