Lesson 1: Subordinators
WARNING: Do not go beyond this punctuation section until you have accomplished the following: Memorize all the subordinators listed below, all FORTY of them alphabetically, A-W.
What are subordinators?
1. Connects two sentences: John ran away when he did. When, a subordinator, creates a complex sentence; a complex sentence uses a subordinator as the connector between two sentences.
2. Front—COMMA-YES: When the
subordinator begins (front) the sentence, a comma is NEEDED after the subordinate clause:
3. Middle—COMMA-NO: When the
subordinator is in the middle of the two sentences, do not use a comma:
4. Subordinators create fragments when second subject and verb are not present: Although the world is round. The clause, "Although the world," is a fragment. To correct this fragment just remove the fragment maker "although:" The world is round.
WARNING: Do not go beyond this punctuation section until you have accomplished the following: Memorize all the subordinators listed below, all FORTY of them in order alphabetically.
SUBORDINATORS (Memorization Order 36)
Subordinating Connectors Alphabetically: OR Download complete list of 50
Relative Pronouns used as Subordinators
Relative Pronoun as Subordinators can be used as the subject connector within the subordinate clause.
1. Jim is my friend who travels with us.—who acts as the subordinator and the subject. Larry wants to be with them who is a friend of mine. Who is the subordinator and who is the subject (a relative pronoun) of the subordinate clause, who is a friend of mine?
2. Subordinate clauses can also act as subjects. What everyone wants to do is arrive on time. Subject = What everyone wants to do--with the verb = is.
Subordinating Connectors by Usage (44)
Source: Fowler HR, Aaron JE. The Little, Brown Handbook., Addison, Wesley, Longman, New York.
RULES FOR Subordinators
1. Complex Sentence: Connects two sentences creating a complex sentence: I went although you didn't. A complex sentence contains two sentences with a connector, a subordinator.
2. Create fragments when second subject & verb not present . . . although you went = fragment. Delete although to make a sentence.
3. Front: When the subordinator begins the sentence, a comma is required after the subordinate clause. Although you went, (comma required) I didn't.
4. Middle: When the subordinator is in the middle of the two sentences, no comma is required. I didn't although you went.
SAMPLES OF SUBORDINATORS IN MIDDLE AND FRONT OF SENTENCES:
NO COMMA when subordinator is in the middle of two sentences:
No comma is need when the subordinator is in the middle of the complex sentence.
1. Bobby played in the park until it got dark.
2. The movie was funnier than I had expected.
COMMA REQUIRED when subordinator begins a complex sentence or is in front:
Sometimes a subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of a sentence, and the comma is required after the subordinate clause, which is underlined.
1. Since we are here, we should rehearse.
2. After Margaret had lunch, she took a nap.
50 Subordinators: EVERY DARN ONE OF THEM:
Lesson 2: Coordinators
A compound sentence is made up of two or more independent SENTENCES joined by a coordinating conjunction (here referred as "coordinator)—and, or, nor, but, yet, for plus a comma. The independent clauses must be simple sentences. The Coordinators—and, but, or, nor, yet, so, for--do the following:
Simplify put: coordinators connect TWO SENTENCES.
Coordinators; Separates the parts of a compound sentence connected by a coordinator plus comma
1. A difference exists between the musical works of Handel and Haydn, and it is a difference worth noting.
2. I heard what you said, and I am furious.
3. I got out of the car, and I walked and walked.
Coordinators: Connect Two or More Items—a Series.
We are going to play cards or dominos.
We're going to be Superman and Batman this Halloween.
Series--Separates and or from the final item in a series of three or more (optional):
Series--Separates two or more adjectives modifying the same noun if and could be used between them without altering the meaning.
Final Word on Commas
Use a comma to separate a series in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." You may have learned that the comma before the "and" is unnecessary, which is fine if you're in control of things. However, there are situations when, if you don't use this comma (especially when the list is complex or lengthy), these last two items in the list will try to glom together (like macaroni and cheese). Using a comma between all the items in a series, including the last two, avoids this problem. This last comma—the one between the word "and" and the preceding word—often called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. In newspaper writing, incidentally, you will seldom find a serial comma, but that is not necessarily a sign that it should be omitted in academic prose.
Use a comma + a little coordinator (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two sentences, as in "He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base." Contending that the coordinator is adequate separation, some writers will leave out the comma in a sentence with short, balanced independent clauses (such as we see in the example just given). However, in this course it will be required that you use a "comma + coordinator" to connect two sentences; hence, use the comma + coordinator when connecting two sentences.
One of the most frequent errors in comma usage is the placement of a comma after a coordinator. Do not use a comma after a coordinator; there is rarely a good reason to put a comma after a coordinator.
Use a comma to set off introductory elements, as in "Running toward third base, he suddenly realized how stupid he looked."
Lesson 3: Transitions or Conjunctive Adverbs
Transitional words (also called conjunctive adverbs) listed below do not do anything except introduce or take you from one part of a sentence to another. The transitional words in the examples below do not connect anything. #1 red below introduces the second sentence. #2 red below used as a transition word to take the reader from one part of the sentence to the next. Number 3 red below introduces a sentence as the first word of the sentence.
Consequently, if the transitional word is NOT a coordinator + comma or subordinator, it is a NOTHING WORD. The connector in item #2 is the semicolon (;). Transitional words or conjunctive adverbs are NOT CONNECTORS. They are NOTHING WORDS unless a semicolon accompanies them. These words cannot connect two sentences. These words DO NOT punctuate. On the other hand, they can be used properly three ways:
Transition words and phrases help establish clear connections between ideas and ensure that sentences and paragraphs flow together smoothly, making them easier to read. Use the following words and phrases in the following circumstances.
Semicolon Connects the sentences of a compound sentence having no connector between its sentences:
Relaxation techniques have improved; people want to find out
Semicolon Connects sentences of a compound sentence using a semicolon with a transitional word, such as however, nonetheless, or hence:
We insisted upon a chairman; however, the members of the
Connector = ; (however --- Introduces the second sentence: therefore, real estate . . .
Alphabetically (a few) Transitional Words
at this level
following this further
generally speaking granted
consideration in general
in other words
in the final analysis
in the first place
in the light of the
in the meantime
in the same way
in this situation
it is easy to see that
just in the same way
to be sure
on the contrary
on the other hand
point in fact
pursuing this further
to be sure
By Usage: Transitional Words
To indicate more information:
To indicate an example:
To indicate time:
To indicate a cause or an effect:
To indicate a purpose or reason why:
To indicate emphasis:
To compare or contrast:
To conclude or summarize:
Given these facts
Source: Fowler HR,
Aaron JE. The Little, Brown Handbook.,
Lesson 4: 5 Ways to Connect Sentences