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Subordinate Clauses: What They Should Do

Just from the name alone, you probably know that subordinate clauses can’t stand alone.  That, despite the fact that they contain both a subject and a verb.  Being subordinate, they are dependent on another part of the sentence for their existence, having no meaning on their own.

Subordinate clauses are important in conveying the complete meaning of some sentences, though.  While they can be done without, removing them can lead to loss of information, leading to an incomplete picture for the reader.  Specifically, they are typically used to do the following:

  1. Describe nouns and pronouns.  When you want to give the reader more information about a noun or pronoun, you normally employ subordinate clauses to convey it.
  2. Describe verbs, adjectives or adverbs.  Similar to the way they can describe nouns and pronouns, subordinate clauses can also describe verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
  3. Act as subjects or objects inside another clause.  Subordinate clauses can do most any job that a noun can do in a sentence, such as acting as subjects, objects or appositives within another clause.

If you want to learn more about the use of subordinate clauses and similar constructions, you can check out the guide included in your favorite writing software.


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