Reading & Writing Center
Coordination and Subordination
Coordination means combining two sentences or ideas that are of equal value. Subordination means combining two sentences or ideas in a way that makes one more important than the other. Using these strategies will help add variety to your sentences.
Use coordination to join to ideas together that are equal in value. You can use a coordinator (a joining word) to coordinate two sentences.
Here are some examples of coordinators. You may find it helpful to remember the acronym FANBOYS.
- For (effect/cause): Jasmine is afraid of dogs, for she was bitten by a dog when she was young.
- And (addition): Isaiah lives in Livermore, and his parents live nearby in Pleasanton.
Nor (addition of negatives): Mary doesn’t want to go to college, nor does she want to find a job.
But (contrast): Abdul likes to read, but he prefers to watch television.
Or (alternative): Jose thinks he wants to study math, or he might be interested in fire fighting.
Yet (contrast): Justin really likes to run in the morning, yet he hates getting up early.
So (cause/effect): Maria loves dogs, so she went to the animal shelter to adopt one.
Joining Sentences With Coordinators
When a coordinator connects to sentences, place a comma before the coordinator.
Cycling class is a tough workout. I still attend three times a week.
Cycling class is a tough workout, but I still attend three times a week.
Erin enjoys pilates class. She is very strong.
Erin enjoys Pilates class, so she is very strong.
You can also use transition words (also known as conjunctive adverbs) to coordinate sentences, although they require different punctuation. If you are joining two sentences with a conjunctive adverb, you need to have a semi-colon before the word and a comma after it.
- however (contrast): Cycling class is a tough workout; however, I still attend three times a week.
- therefore (cause/effect): Erin takes regular pilates classes; therefore, she is very strong.
- for example (general to specific): There are many fun exercises; for example, I take kickboxing and weight lifting.
- in fact (emphasis): Phat is obsessed with running; in fact, he is out running right now.
Use subordination to join two sentences together when one idea is less important (subordinate) to the other.
To subordinate one sentence to another, use a connecting word called a "subordinator." The following words are examples of subordinators.
- although (contrast): Michelle loves coffee although it upsets her stomach.
- because (cause/effect): Marty drinks tea because it is filled with healthy antioxidants.
- when (time): When Kisha gets up in the morning, she drinks a glass of water with lemon.
- if (condition): If Angelo doesn't have his morning coffee, he feels grumpy all day.
|although, even though, though, whereas, while||contrast|
|after, as soon as, before, whenever, when, until||time|
Punctuation with Subordinators
If you begin a sentence with a subordinator, you must put a comma after the subordinating phrase. However, if the subordinator comes in the middle of a sentence you usually do not need to put a comma before it
Work can be demanding. I really enjoy it.
sentence opens with subordinator (use a comma)
Although work can be demanding, I really enjoy it.
Kate loves teaching. It is an extremely rewarding profession.
subordinator comes in middle of sentence (don't use a comma)
Kate loves teaching because it is an extremely rewarding profession.