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Section 11.7.3

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions link phrases or clauses to otherclauses. They are called subordinating conjunctions because they transform theclause they introduce into a dependent clause, aclause subordinate to the independent clause ingrammatical structure and importance. Some common subordinating conjunctions areafter, although, as, as if, as long as, because, before, despite, even if,even though, if, in order that, rather than, since, so that, that, though,unless, until, when, where, whereas, whether, and while.

Even if tighter marketing restrictions and higher excisetaxes prove successful in decreasing tobacco smoking in the U.S., the industryhas a means to counteract loss of revenue: exportation.

--Carl Bartecchi, Thomas MacKenzie, and Robert Shrier, "The Global TobaccoEpidemic," Scientific American

If the subordinating conjunction and its clause precede the independent clause,use a comma to separate the dependant clause from theindependent clause. For further discussion of commas with subordinate elements,see Introductory Elements

Although dogged by a few safety problems, the lithiumelement has already found its way into some familiar batteries, including thosepowering portable computers.

--Sasha Nemecek, "Bettering Batteries," Scientific American

As a general rule, if the subordinating conjunction and associated clause followthe main clause, do not use a comma. An exception occurs when the subordinate clause expresses a contrast, as do clauses beginning with whereas and most clauses beginning with although.

Cutting vehicle mass provides important leverage on efficiencybecause it exerts a ripple effect.

--"Improving Automotive Efficiency," Scientific American

Since clauses introduced by a subordinating conjunction are always dependentclauses, they cannot stand alone; they must be linked to independentclauses.


Since the sun and Earth are embedded in thegalaxy. It is difficult for us to obtain an overall view ofthe galaxy.


Since the sun and Earth are embedded in thegalaxy, it is difficult for us to obtain an overall view ofthe galaxy.

--"The Milky Way," Compton's Encyclopedia

For the ordering of the main clause and subordinate clause and deciding whichinformation belongs in which clause, see Ordering ofPhrases and Clauses.

The subordinating conjunction because must be followed by the preposition of when it introduces a noun phrase.

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