Subordinate Clauses - Concessive, Time, Place and Reason Clauses

Four types of subordinate clauses are discussed in this feature: concessive, time, place and reason. A subordinate clause is a clause that supports ideas stated in the main clause. Subordinate clauses are also dependent on main clauses and would be otherwise incomprehensible without them.

For example:

Because I was leaving.

Concessive Clauses

Concessive clauses are used to concede a given point in an argument.

The principle concessive conjunctions introducing a concessive clause are: Though, although, even though, while, and even if. They can be placed at the beginning, internally or at the of the sentence. When placed at the beginning or internally, they serve to concede a certain part of an argument before proceeding to question the validity of the point in a given discussion.

For example:

Even though there are many advantages to working the night shift, people who do so generally feel that the disadvantages greatly outweigh any financial advantages that might be gained.

By placing the concessive clause at the end of the sentence, the speaker is admitting a weakness or problem in that particular argument.

For example:

I tried hard to complete the task, though it seemed impossible.

Time Clauses

Time clauses are used to indicate the time that an event in the main clause takes place. The main time conjunctions are: when, as soon as, before, after, by the time, by.

They are placed either at the beginning or the end of a sentence. When placed at the beginning of the sentence, the speaker is generally stressing the importance of the time indicated.

For example:

As soon as you arrive, give me a call.

Most often time clauses are placed at the end of a sentence and indicate the time that the action of the main clause takes place.

For example:

I had difficulties with English grammar when I was a child.

Place Clauses

Place clauses define the location of the object of the main clause. Place conjunctions include where and in which. They are generally placed following a main clause in order to define the location of the object of the main clause.

For example:

I will never forget Seattle where I spent so many wonderful summers.

Reason Clauses

Reason clauses define the reason behind a statement or action given in the main clause. Reason conjunctions include because, as, due to, and the phrase "that the reason why". They can be placed either before or after the main clause. If placed before the main clause, the reason clause usually gives emphasis to that particular reason.

For example:

Because of the tardiness of my response, I was not allowed to enter the institution.

Generally the reason clause follows the main clauses and explains it.

For example:

I studied hard because I wanted to pass the test.