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Subordinators

Subordinators join two clauses in one complex sentence. As these words introduce a dependent clause (one which cannot stand alone as a sentence), both clauses must be combined in one sentence. Some examples: because, after, since, as, although, if, when, so that.

  1. Examples with the dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence, followed by a comma
    • Because water evaporates rapidly in hot climates, the surrounding oceans have higher salinity.
    • If the climate is cold, the surrounding ocean will be less saline.
  2. Examples with the dependent clause last, in which case no comma is used
    • Oceans in hot climates have higher salinity because the water evaporates more rapidly.
    • The surrounding ocean will be less saline if the climate is cold.

Identify the correct method of joining the following sentences.

  1. Holding rails can increase cyclist safety. Many cyclists prefer not to use them.
  2. Although, holding rails can increase cyclist safety many cyclists prefer not to use them.

    Although holding rails can increase cyclist safety, many cyclists prefer not to use them.

  3. Pedestrians also complain about holding rails. They restrict space at intersections.
  4. Pedestrians also complain about holding rails, because they restrict space at intersections.

    Pedestrians also complain about holding rails because they restrict space at intersection.



As for other subordinators, whereas and while introduce a dependent clause (one which cannot stand alone as a sentence), so both clauses must be combined in one sentence.

Unlike the examples above, however, the two clauses must be separated by a comma whatever the position of the subordinate clause within the sentence.

  1. Examples with the dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence
    • While water evaporates rapidly in hot climates, in cold climates it evaporates slowly.
  2. Examples with the dependent clause last
    • In cold climates water evaporates slowly, whereas in hot climates it evaporates rapidly.

Decide whether the connectors are used correctly or incorrectly in the following sentences.

  1. Gasoline powered vehicles are an essential part of our transport system however there is increasing awareness that something must be done to reduce the pollutants they produce.
  2. While work is progressing slowly on the development of a hydrogen fuel system, several car manufacturers have successfully developed cleaner hybrid gas/electric cars.
  3. Several models are already available; however, consumers are slow to make the change.
  4. Many people are unable to buy these clean cars. Because the cost is still 30% higher than that of comparable combustion engine cars.
  5. Governments should take steps to make clean cars more affordable, for example by subsidising the manufacturing costs or imposing a pollution tax on older gasoline and diesel vehicles.
  6. Many governments are hesitating to take such steps as they are afraid that a changeover would result in high job losses. Moreover, they are unwilling to upset the powerful oil lobbies.


Acknowledgements:

Oshima, A and Hogue, A, 1999, Writing Academic English, 3rd ed., Adison, Wesley, Longman, White Plains N.Y.

Swan, M, 1995, Practical English Usage, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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