In the lesson on compound sentences the following example paragraph was used:
Cars cause a lot of pollution. Many cars are old and produce exhaust fumes. These cars should be banned, but people still drive them everyday. The government must make new laws. This will help to reduce pollution.
This lesson will look at subordinating conjunctions and complex sentences. Used correctly, complex sentences will improve both Grammatical Range and Accuracy scores, and Cohesion and Coherence. Below is an improved version of the previous paragraph:
Cars cause a lot of pollution, especially those that are old and produce exhaust fumes. These cars should be banned but people still drive them everyday. The government must make new laws in order to help to reduce pollution.
The adjective ‘subordinating’ describes something that is under the control of another. A dependent clause is under the control of an independent clause, so a subordinating conjunction connects a dependent clause to an independent clause.
There are a large number of subordinating conjunctions. Some are single words, some are short phrases. For example:
because - while - although - when - despite - in order to - as a result of
These types of conjunction will be looked at in further detail in the next part (and here)
What are complex sentences?
As complex sentences are important in IELTS grammar, test-takers should practice using a variety before taking the test.
To connect a dependent clause to an independent clause a subordinating conjunction is used.
These conjunctions will always be directly before the dependent clause. However, complex sentences can be written with either clause first which means most subordinating conjunctions can come at the end or in the middle of the complex sentence. For example:
The government must make new laws in order to reduce pollution. (independent - dependent)
In order to reduce pollution, the government must make new laws. (dependent - independent)
There are many subordinating conjunctions (and so there is really no excuse for not using a variety). They serve a number of functions and so the most common are included in the table below alongside the type.
Different types of complex sentence.
|To show cause||because / as* / since / so that / in order to / in order that / due to / as a result of|
|To show place||where / wherever|
|To show time||when / whenever / as* / while* / after / before / until / as soon as / as long as / once / now that|
|To show concession||although / even though / though / despite|
|To show comparison or contrast||whereas / in contrast to / just as / while / though|
|To show condition||if / unless / even if / in case / provided that / when|
|To add a non-defining relative clause||which / who / whom / where / whose|
As previously stated, to achieve a band 7 test-takers must show a range of complex sentences.
In reality, if test-takers use several different subordinating conjunctions in the IELTS essay this requirement will be reached. However, when preparing for the IELTS test it is a good idea to also understand their semantic function.
Time-related conjunctions show the time when the main action was or will happen. These include after, before, as soon as, as long as, now that, once, still, until, when, whenever, and while.
Most students spend hours looking at social media after they should have gone to bed.
Before work can begin on major improvements, money must be raised.”
Concession conjunctions show that one action is somehow less important than another, often because something (more important) happened although a (less important) situation threatened to cause a problem. These include although, despite, and even though.
Despite protests from environmentalists, the government decided to build the airport.
Thousands of refugees died even though there was an attempt to provide aid.
Comparison conjunctions show how something is similar or dissimilar to the independent clause. These include just as, though, whereas, in contrast to, and while.
Online news sources experienced a rapid growth in contrast to print media.
Whereas young students often lose interest, mature students tend to be focused and motivated.
Cause conjunctions give a reason for the action in the independent clause. These normally include as, because, in order that, since, and so that.
The birth rate in developed countries may need to increase in order to avoid financial strain on government services.
Due to flooding in the region, the cost of house insurance rose dramatically.
Condition conjunctions introduce rules that restrict the independent clause. These are most commonly even if, if, in case, provided that, when and unless.
If there is no international cooperation, there will be no improvement in the lives of the worlds poorest.
Working from home will never be a viable option unless employer pay for the equipment.
Place conjunctions, which determine where activities might occur, include where, wherever, and whereas.
Tourists should not be allowed to walk wherever they please.
In countries where newspapers were not controlled by the government, corruption levels were significantly lower.
Be careful. Avoid using a coordinating conjunction in a complex sentence. When a subordinating conjunction is used on the dependent clause, a coordinating conjunction should not be used on the connected independent clause.
Although pollution levels drop dramatically during national holidays, but this situation only lasts a short time. ✘
Although pollution levels drop dramatically during national holidays, this situation only lasts a short time. ✔︎
Because families in rural areas now have access to computers, so they can now take classes online. ✘
Because families in rural areas now have access to computers, they can now take classes online. ✔︎
Relative clauses are described in this lesson.
Using the table above, choose the correct function of each of the example sentences.
e.g. There will be another financial crisis unless banks take drastic action. (condition) ✔︎
1. People in China drink hot water whenever they feel sick.
2. The government proposed building a new airport, which was both expensive and unnecessary.
3. The financial incentive is not strong enough, which explains why the business is failing.
4. Consumers are turning to green energy because the climate is warming.
5. Building a rail link between major cities must be a priority, even though it is an expensive option.
6. When too little money is invested in the healthcare system, people suffer.
7. The solution is to provide international aid where it is needed most.
8. Dangerous diseases will continue to emerge, unless better hygiene is practiced.
9. The number of children admitted to hospital with respiratory illnesses has risen sharply as a direct result of the increase in factory production in the area.
10. If the number of immigrants doesn’t increase, there will be a shortage of workers.
11. The farmers, who had suffered as a result of the recession, protested outside the government building.
Combine the sentences below to make a single sentence using a subordinating conjunction.
1. The project will fail. There is not enough money.
2. The decision was made. The teachers realised it was a bad idea.
3. There is respect between the two countries. They are economic rivals.
4. Most drivers of large cars know they could easily drive a smaller less polluting vehicle. They will not admit to this.
5. Competition can encourage some children to work harder. Some children can react badly to competition.
6. Visitors to other countries should speak the local language. This is only true if they can speak the local language.
7. Schools are struggling to pay for basic resources. Teachers are buying pens and papers for students.
8. In central Africa there has been a drought. The crop production has actually increased.
9. The government wants to improve public transport. The buses must be replaced..
10. The two counties continue to engage in a trade war. The global economy suffers.
11. People don’t trust the voting process. People don’t vote.
12. Universities should encourage more female students to apply for engineering. There are very few women in top engineering positions.
13. People prefer to learn English as a second language. Minority languages are dying out.
14. There are a lot of hours of sunshine. The sun is not hot enough to generate enough power.
In part four we will look at advanced sentence structures and how to avoid fragments.
|3.1||TIME – whenever they feel sick.|
|3.2||NON DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSE – which was both expensive and unnecessary.|
|3.3||NON DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSE – which explains why the business is failing.|
|3.4||CAUSE – because the climate is warming.|
|3.5||CONCESSION – even though it is an expensive option.|
|3.6||CONDITION – When too little money is invested in the healthcare system|
|3.7||PLACE – where it is needed most.|
|3.8||CONDITION – unless better hygiene is practiced.|
|3.9||CAUSE – as a direct result of the increase in factory production in the area.|
|3.10||CONDITION – If the number of immigrants doesn’t increase|
|3.11||NON DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSE – who had suffered as a result of the recession|
|4.1||The project will fail because there is not enough money.|
|4.2||The decision was made before the teachers realised it was a bad idea.|
|4.3||There is respect between the two countries even though they are economic rivals.|
|4.4||Most drivers of large cars know they could easily drive a smaller less-polluting vehicle although they will not admit to this.|
|4.5||Whereas competition can encourage some children to work harder, some children can react badly.|
|4.6||If visitors to other countries can speak the local language, they should use it.|
|4.7||As schools are struggling to pay for basic resources, teachers are buying pens and papers for students.|
|4.8||Despite a drought in central Africa, the crop production has actually increased.|
|4.9||If the government wants to improve public transport, the buses must be replaced.|
|4.10||While the two counties continue to engage in a trade war, the global economy suffers.|
|4.11||Since people don’t trust the voting process, they don’t vote.|
|4.12||Universities should encourage more female students to apply for engineering because there are very few women in top engineering positions.|
|4.13||Now that people prefer to learn English as a second language, minority languages are dying out.|
|4.14||Even though there are a lot of hours of sunshine, the sun is not hot enough to generate enough power.|