# Subordination

Discussion in 'English' started by sammy_jane, Oct 17, 2015.

1. ### sammy_janeNew commenter

I was observed this week and was told that an example of subordination that I gave was incorrect. My example was "I ate carrots because I was hungry." Was my feedback correct, is my example wrong? My understanding of subordination is that this is two clauses "I ate carrots" (main clause) and "because I was hungry" (subordinate - dependent on the main clause). My observer told me that "I ate carrots" and " I was hungry" are both stand alone clauses and therefore it is not subordination. Can someone kindly explain this to me?

2. ### jactomNew commenter

I think she could be correct. I ate carrots. I was hungry. Two independent clauses.

midnight_angel likes this.
3. ### sammy_janeNew commenter

Why is "because" not part of either clause? I've seen lots of examples where the conjunction is at the beginning of the subordinate clause and not classed as separate.

4. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

You are right and your observer, as you have reported the exchange, is incorrect: They ignored the conjunction which renders 'I was hungry' into a subordinate clause, an adverbial. The next time someone attempts to persuade you that they are right despite your knowledge then ask them to show you an example in the examinable materials which supports their assertion: 'For my reference'. It should stop their mouth when they find nothing.

5. ### Rhoswen77Established commenter

You are right! Your observer and the first respondee here are both wrong.

6. ### purplecarrotSenior commenter

1. Class it as that 2 main clauses joined with a connective to form a compound sentence. Because lots of materials will say that as a rule without making a distinction between subordinating and coordinating conjunctions.
They would probably say if the example was 'Because I was hungry, I ate carrots' then it would be a subordinate clause because you've now got a complex sentence.
This is what I think the observer was suggesting.
2. A compound sentence is two main clauses joined with a coordinating connective and both clauses are of equal importance. So because you've used a subordinating connective in your example then it is an example of subordination. - this is what you've said and I'd agree.

However, a lot of teaching material for sentence structure doesn't discrininate between types on connective and tends to focus on where the commas go so subordinate clauses at the end of sentences seems to get missed out. Depending on their area of specialism, they may just be following what a lot of teaching materials say - it's a very common misconception
I'd just have explained why what you've said is accurate. I wouldn't start demanding references because most people when shown they're wrong will accept. Remember not everyone was actually taught this at school and may have only ever studied literature so have limited grammatical knowledge. From experience, colleagues who have limited grammatical knowledge have always been open to sharing.
You may want to update teaching materials and share them round to help other members of staff.

7. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

When someone will not accept your word then there is no better way to obliquely show you are correct than to ask for an example from the examinable material which won't be there. Nobody said anything about anyone 'demanding' a citation as though the OP were engaged in some kind of message board flame-war. Of course a teacher needs to be able to flag material examples to their students and it would be fair for the OP to ask the observer were this one may be found for her reference as she teaches it.

What the OP should likewise be able to do in anticipation of future interference is to reference example from the examinable material which support her position, else it's time to get out the handbooks.

All of this assumes the OP pointed out to the observer the existence of the conjunctive 'because'. It's sadly credible that there are such stupid observers and it beggars the imagination what they might think is an example of subordination were there not examinable materials to reference.

Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
8. ### br0wnsugarOccasional commenter

One clause does not effectively depend on the other to capture meaning.
Your subordinate clause has to depend solely on the main clause for meaning. If it can be separated in the example as shown above, it does suggest that the example that you gave was a compound sentence linked by the conjunction, 'because', rather than complex (sub ord). Maybe this is a clearer example, 'Janis Joplin, a famous jazz singer, died at a tragically young age.' You could say, Janis Joplin, died at a tragically young age. A simple sentence. By adding the information, 'a famous jazz singer', gives more information to the clause, hence it fits into the category of a sub ord clause (adding more information about the subject/object of the sentence). Of course, playing around with the sentences could yield different interpretations, hence the complexities of English grammar.

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9. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

This is getting silly.

The sentence "I ate carrots because I was hungry." consists of two clauses and is an example of subordination. These clauses are:

1. "I ate carrots"
2. "because I was hungry."

May Janis Joplin rest in peace but bad analogy is bad analogy.

10. ### SpasskyNew commenter

Lol. 'Because' is a subordinating conjunction so the OP's sentence is complex.

The post modifying phrase 'a jazz singer' isn't a clause at all so it's still a simple sentence. Has Gove resorted to trolling on TES to discredit teachers?

11. ### br0wnsugarOccasional commenter

Herewith is an example of the complexities of English grammar - no-one can agree and therefore, OP, request an example from the person who observed you to see if that makes sense.

Disagree!!

14. ### br0wnsugarOccasional commenter

Is this a better example?
After dripping mustard all over his chest, Charles, who was wearing a red shirt, wished that he had instead chosen ketchup for his hotdog

15. ### markussOccasional commenter

My analysis of this would be:

An A S V O clause.

Subject = "Charles, who was wearing a red shirt" (Nominal group with Head "Charles" and postmodification "who was wearing a red shirt" , which is a non-restrictive adjectival clause).
V = "wished" (one word verbal phrase, past tense).
O = "that he had instead chosen ketchup for his hotdog" (nominal clause).

So this statement comprises three clauses in total.

16. ### markussOccasional commenter

I ate carrots because I was hungry

An S V A clause

Subject = "I" (Head - pronoun with no modification.)
Verb = "ate" (one word verbal phrase, past tense).
Adjunct = "because I was hungry" (adverbial clause, which you could call "subordinate").

There are different ways of describing the grammar of a language but the observer in the OP seems to have come up with a totally original one.

I suspect that they don't know what they're talking about.