Adverb Clauses (Subordinate Clauses) and Subordinators



What are Subordinators?  

Subordinating conjunctions (subordinators) are words that connect an independent clause to a dependent clause. 

Subordinators do not connect individual words OR individual phrases. 

Subordinators do not connect any word groups that are the same. 

Subordinators only connect independent clauses and dependent clauses.


What does this mean?  

If you begin a sentence with one of these words, (subordinators ), you need to write one more complete sentence in order to finish the sentence.  All of these subordinators are followed by a subject and a verb, but they only tell additional information about the main sentence.  



#1  subordinating conjunctions of time:  after, before, until, as soon as, while, when
#2  subordinating conjunctions of cause and effect: because (before the cause), since (before the effect), so that (before the effect)
#3  subordinating conjunctions of condition: if, unless 
#4  subordinating conjunctions of show an unexpected opposite result  though, even though, although


In this lesson, you will learn to use:


before, after, when, as soon as



even though, although



Read this story aloud, paying close attention to the subordinators.  Look at the commas in the paragraph.  


Jane arrived after the reading class started.  When she walked in, the professor asked her why she was late.  As soon as Jane  heard that question, she knew she was in trouble.  Before she answered the teacher, she thought carefully about her words.  If he said the wrong thing, the professor would make her leave the room.  Even though there was no exam today, Jane wanted to stay and hear review for the midterm.  Finally, she thought of an excuse.  "I was late today because my husband forgot where he parked the car after he came home from a party last night.  It won't happen again because I am going to divorce him this afternoon."  When the professor heard this, he laughed and let Jane come into the class.




Sentence Format and Punctuation


Look at the first sentence in this story.  The main clause (independent clause or main idea) is "Jane arrived."  Note the punctuation.  There are two ways to write this sentence correctly, but the punctuation changes depending on your choice.  Note that in #1, you MUST use a comma.  In #2, you may NOT use a comma:



Rule:  Put a comma at the end of a subordinate clause when it comes first in a sentence.

          Do not put a comma after the independent clause if it is first.




Exercise 1:

Rewrite each of these sentences using the alternative pattern.


    Before the movie ended, I left.

    I left before the movie ended.


1.  Jane arrived after the reading class started.  


2.  When she walked in, the professor asked her why she was late.  


3.  As soon as Jane  heard that question, she knew she was in trouble.  


4.  Before she answered the teacher, she thought carefully about her words.  


5.  If he said the wrong thing, the professor would make her leave the room.  


6.  Even though there was no exam today, Jane wanted to stay and hear the review for the midterm.





Disasters---a Class activity. 

Exercise 2

Instructions:   Divide into 4 groups.  Select a disaster and with the members of your group, read the safety instructions and fill in the blanks with subordinators: when, while, as soon as, after, before, if, because, although.  There may be more than one possible answer.  

Fill in the small blanks with commas IF NEEDED.  

Present your work to the class.



___________  you are trapped in a building during a fire __there are several steps you can take to protect your safety.

  • ___________  you close the doors __to keep out smoke and fire__ put wet  towels, rugs or other fabrics under the doors. 
  • ___________   you close all the doors __ stay by the window and watch for the fire department.
  • ___________  you wait for help__ put a damp cloth over your nose and mouth to make it easier to breathe. 
  • ___________  opening a window will __change the air pressure in the room__ smoke may enter the room from the inside or the outside of the building.  ___________  this is dangerous__ open a window enough to let in some fresh air and to attract attention to your location. 
  • ___________  smoke starts to enter the room __through the open window, the door, or the vents__ immediately CLOSE the window.
  • Do NOT break the window. ___________  the window is broken__ there may be no way to keep smoke, hot gases and fire from entering the room.
  • ___________  there is a telephone in the room__ call for help. ___________  not, yell out the window and make noise to attract attention.
  • ___________   it is safe to have the window open__ wave a sheet, a large piece of cloth or another bright object outside the window to attract attention. 
  • Wait for rescue.



  • ___________  the earthquake begins, ___________  you are inside a building__ you should stay inside. 
  • ___________  you are outdoors__ stay outdoors.  Don't run in or out of buildings. 
  • ___________  you are indoors ___________  the shaking starts__ wait until the shaking stops ___________  moving outside. 
  • ___________  you are in bed__ stay there and use a pillow to cover and protect your head. 
  • ___________  you are outdoors__ move away from buildings, trees and power lines.
  • ___________  you are driving in a car when you feel the road shaking__ slow down and stop in a clear place - away from trees, buildings and power lines. 
  • Stay in the car __  ___________  the shaking stops.

After a quake.....

  • ___________  the shaking stops__ check yourself and people around you for injuries.
  • Check around you for fires. ___________  you put out small fires__ make sure that gas and electricity is turned off. 
  • Much damage related to earthquakes occurs__   ___________  the actual quake ends. Often fires start ___________  electricity lines short circuit __near broken gas pipes. ___________  water pipes break,  it will be difficult to put the fires out.
  • ___________  the quake ends __ do not go back into damaged buildings - you can never tell when or if they will collapse.
  • Listen to emergency instructions on local radio stations. Don't try to use the telephone__ unless someone is seriously injured.
  • Be careful__  ___________  you open cupboards and doors __ ___________  objects may be leaning against the door and may fall outwards towards you.



Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. ___________  some floods develop over a period of days__flash floods can develop in just a few minutes. Wherever you live, be aware of potential flooding hazards. ___________  you live in a low-lying area, or near water__ you must be prepared for floods.

During or after heavy rains...

  • In heavy rains, ___________   you see any possibility of a flash flood__ move immediately to a safer location. ___________  you wait for instructions to move__ it may be too late.
  • As you listen to radio and television for information__ put sandbags around your doors.
  • ___________  you evacuate, secure your home.  ___________  you turn off the electricity__ make sure you have enough fuel in your car, and leave early to avoid being stopped by flooded roads.

After a flood...

  • Do not visit disaster areas __   ___________  you are authorized to do so.
  • ___________  you have flood insurance__ notify your agent that you have a loss.
  • ___________  floods can cause injury__ tune in to radio to learn which shelters and medical facilities are open.
  • Do not enter your home __  ___________  flood waters are over the first floor; you cannot tell whether the building is safe to enter.
  • Check with local authorities __  ___________  you drink any water. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested by authorities __  ___________  drinking.
  • Do not consume food __  ___________  it has come into contact with flood waters.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. Have an expert check all equipment __  ___________  you use it.


___________  a tornado strikes, learn the terms used to describe tornado threats; tornado watch and tornado warning.
  • ___________   you see any revolving, funnel shaped clouds__ report them immediately by telephone to 911.
  • ___________  storm season arrives__ learn the locations of shelters.
  • Have emergency supplies on hand __ ___________  tornado season starts
    • ___________  a tornado strikes__ listen to radio and television newscasts for the latest information and instructions. 
    • ___________  a tornado is sighted__ stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. 
    • Take cover immediately __   ___________  you see a funnel cloud.
    • ___________  the tornado is close to your house__ protect your head from falling objects or flying debris. 
    • Do not attempt to drive away from a tornado in a car or other vehicle __ ___________  these storms can be very fast.

    After a tornado......

    • ___________  the tornado__ be careful ___________  you enter a building __ ___________  it could be damaged from the high winds. ___________  you enter a tornado-damaged building, be sure that walls, ceiling and roof are in place.
    • Look out for broken glass and downed power lines __ ___________  you drive or walk on the streets after a tornado..
    • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons __ ___________  they are in immediate danger __ of further injury. Call for help immediately.