S is for SUBORDINATE CLAUSE OPENERS–Understanding the Subordinate Clause

S is for SUBORDINATE CLAUSE OPENERS–Understanding the Subordinate Clause

Studying subordinators, subordinate clauses, and subordinate clause openers…

Did you memorize subordinators, so you can write with subordinate clause openers properly? If not, you can find the post on there here.

Once you memorize subordinators, you are ready to write with subordinate clauses. Specific to this lesson, you will be ready to write subordinate clause openers (subordinate clauses that are added to the beginnings of sentences).

As far as a subordinate clause is concerned, it contains a subordinator and a subject and a verb.

Subordinator + Subject + Verb

When she drove,

As he said,

After she left,

When they arrived,

Because he smiled,

Did you notice anything about those subordinate clauses? If you noticed that each one would be a sentence if the subordinator were removed, you are correct!

A subordinate clause is a sentence (subject + verb) that has a subordinator at the beginning of it!

Sentence: She drove.
Subordinate clause:  When she drove,

Sentence: He said.
Subordinate clause: As he said,

Sentence: She left.
Subordinate clause: After she left,

Sentence: They arrived.
Subordinate clause: When they arrived,

Sentence: He smiled.
Subordinate clause: Because he smiled,

So….a subordinate clause is a sentence (independent clause-can stand
alone) that has a subordinator added to the beginning of it (which makes it a dependent clause-is dependent upon something else in order to be used {has to have a real sentence put with it in order to be used}).

Think of subordinate clauses by either of their two names:

1. Subordinate clause–subordinate to the rest of the sentence
2. Dependent clause–dependent on something else to go with it (a real sentence/independent clause) in order to be used

COMMA CLUE #4: Comma Following a Subordinate Clause Opener Part I of III



Today’s Comma Clue can be confusing–but it is one of the most needful for comprehension as well as for sentence fluidity when reading aloud. 



When you start a sentence with a subordinate clause,
Put the comma in when you hear the pause!



That is a cute rhyme (don’t you think?)….but unless you know what a subordinate clause is (and prior to that, what a subordinator is), it will not do you much good to recite it. So this post will go back to what subordinators are first. 

Maybe you were taught that subordinators (words that make the part of the sentence that they are in be “subordinate” to the rest of the sentence) are called other things, like conjunctives or subordinate conjunctions. Some grammar handbooks do not even classify subordinators at all but call them whatever other class they fall under (i.e. the preposition before might always be called a preposition, even though it is a subordinator when it has a subject and verb following it).

Regardless of what you were taught about subordinators, they are extremely important to good writing. Why? 

1. A subordinator is a word that falls at the beginning of a subordinate clause.
2. A subordinate clause is a group of words that begins with a subordinator and has a subject and verb following it.
3. A subordinate clause is subordinate to the rest of the sentence–that is, it is “less than” the real sentence.
4. A subordinate clause may not stand alone as it is not a real sentence.
5. A subordinate clause sounds as though something is missing when it is read–because something is (the real sentence!).
6. A subordinate clause may be joined with a complete sentence to create a complex sentence, but the subordinate clause may never stand alone.

So….what are subordinators?

Let’s start with the first six that we teach our youngest language arts students in our books:

Since, when, though
Because, if, although.

Yeah, it’s a rhyme! Cute, huh? (I love teaching!)

Anyway, for you older folks, we have a Subordinator-Check Sentence that most subordinators fit into. In a nutshell, if a word fits in the check sentence and the word is not an adverb, it likely a subordinator:

________________________ the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.


Since the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.


When the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.


Though the submarine went down, we could STILL  see it.


Because the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.


If the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.


Although the submarine went down, we could STILL see it.

Okay, that is the first six. Here is a lengthy, but not exhaustive list of subordinators:

-after (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-although
-as (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-as if
-as long as
-as soon as
-as though
-because
-because of (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-before (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-even
-even if
-even though
-if
-inasmuch as
-in order that
-lest
-now (more commonly used as an adverb)
-now since
-now that
-now when
-once
-provided
-rather than
-since
-than (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-that
-though
-til (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-unless
-until (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-when
-whenever
-where
-where ever
-where as
-whether
-which
-which ever
-while
-who
-whoever
-why


In as much as the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.

Until the submarine went down, we could STILL see it.

While the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.



 We will stop here and give you time to memorize these before we go on in a day or two working on punctuating sentences that begin with subordinate clauses. Just looking at the Subordinator-Check Sentence, though, you can probably deduce that the first rhyme in this post is accurate: a subordinate clause opener is followed by a comma. More later!


Picture from http://staff.jccc.net/mfitzpat/style/bd04892_.gif




day 82: homework help—final sentence writing help

A few more ideas for encouraging/helping your child with sentence writing, then we’re on to something new!
  1. If your child is hesitant to write because of penmanship difficulties, either teach him how to type (use a typing program for young kids) or write for him as he dictates to you. He needs to see that penmanship difficulties do not mean that he is unable to write. Writing is thinking. Penning is art.
  2. Try having him write sentences about things you are doing. For example, have him write a sentence each day in a journal about that day or every Saturday about the weekend.
  3. Or have specific things listed at the top of a journal for him or her that he/she writes about:
    1. Monday: Weekend
    2. Tuesday: Food
    3. Wednesday: Book
    4. Thursday: Animal
    5. Friday: Person
    6. Saturday: Movie
  4. Have him write a sentence under a picture, similar to captions. These pictures may be ones that he has drawn or colored or cartoons or pictures from a book.
  5. Make a list of nouns and a list of verbs. Have him write a sentence using one word from the noun list and one word from the verb list. For example:
NOUNS                                               VERBS
Dog                                                     run
Boy                                                      jump
Girl                                                     catch
Radio                                                  blare
Cow                                                    ate
For more sentence writing help, along with help in other areas of language arts, for the second/third grade level (i.e. already reading well), check out the sample of the our books, “Character Quality Language Arts,” Level Pre A (http://www.tfths.com/samples.php ). There is a full month that you may use with our child free of charge. Happy writing!

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