Strategies for Subordination

Identify Subordination Opportunities

Look for short, choppy sentences (independent clauses). If two simple sentences have related ideas and one of the ideas is more important than the other, they may be good candidates to join with subordination.

Use Subordination Correctly

Subordinate the less important clause by adding a dependent word (such as after, because, if, or when) to it. If the dependent clause comes first in the combined sentence, add a comma after it; if the independent clause comes first, include a comma after it only if the dependent clause that follows expresses a contrast (starting with a word such as unless or even though).

The Bottom Line

When you join two clauses with subordination, put the more important information in the independent clause. If the dependent clause comes first, add a comma after it. Do not use a comma after the independent clause, unless the dependent clause expresses a contrast.