List of common subordinators arranged by function in the sentence

To demonstrate  comparison To show time relationships To show causal relationship To show disagreement between ideas To assign a trait to a noun
as 
as if
as though
like
than
just as






after
as 
before
by the time
ever since
every time
once
until
when
whenever 
**whether 
while
because
if 
in case
in order for
since
unless
when
so that  




although
even if 
even though 
except that/if
not only 
though
unless





how
just as
like
that
what
where
who
whom
whose
when
whenever
wherever
whatever

**whether is actually used to exclude causes

For an exercise about subordinators, get this file Subordinators

Don't be fooled!

The failure to recognize that subordinators "weaken" an independent clause into a dependent one is a major source of fragment errors! Whenever you use a word from this list, make sure you have at least one other clause that does NOT start with a subordinator.

Example:

  • Because it was raining, we left the game. (complete sentence)

  • Because it was raining and we were leaving the game. (fragment)

The word that is a pronoun as well as a subordinator, but the same is not true of the word which.

Example:

  • He said that he would do it. (subordinated clause highlighted)

  • He said that. ("that" is a pronoun standing for something else)

  • She asked which girl was the model. (subordinated clause highlighted)

  • Which was what I said. (fragment)