What are subordinating conjunctions? A Grammarsaurus guide with linked resources!
Terminology in English lessons has changed vastly since most of us adults were at school. What we probably learned as ‘connectives’ has been broken down in primary education since 2014.
Creates subordinate clauses
Join two independent clauses, a group of words (phrase) or individual words.
Link ideas in different sentences together. Use a semi-colon to connect the sentences or a full stop.
– as a result
Here is an example of a single clause sentence:
When you want to add further detail to a single clause sentence, you can use a subordinating conjunction. Let’s use ‘because’ as an example:
The use of ‘because’ adds another clause ‘he was late for work’ to the sentence. This is now a subordinate clause. Subordinating conjunctions create subordinate clauses.
There is a huge range of subordinating conjunctions – some experts suggest there are fifty or more!
There are no suggestions for teaching subordinating conjunctions in Year 1, but the children will easily pick up how to use “because” in their writing as they use it so naturally when they speak.
Following that, the National Curriculum in England suggests that the following be learned in Year 2:
From Year 3 onwards, there is an expectation for children to build upon these four and include a range of subordinating conjunctions in their writing, with Year 4 and 5 being the year they learn to perfect using commas to separate subordinate clauses and main clauses.
The most engaging way to teach a range of subordinating conjunctions is to use our ‘Sing with Grammarsaurus’ song – ‘Subordinating Conjunctions’.
The song uses the mnemonic ‘A WHITE BUS’ to help children remember eleven of the most common subordinating conjunctions:
For younger children, use the following visual in your learning space after they’ve learned these key subordinating conjunctions.
Practice makes perfect – use our Year 2 Subordinating Conjunction worksheet to consolidate understanding.
For Year 3 and 4 children, consolidate understanding with the following lesson pack:
Once your children have mastered co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions, let them practise creating multi-clause sentences using both types of conjunction: