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For eg:- He was brave unlike those who were afraid of even standing by his side.

In this sentence,'unlike' has been used to join two sentences which make sense even when they are written as two separate sentences. So,'unlike' is joining two sentences, and this is what conjunctions do. So, isn't 'unlike' acting as a conjunction here ?

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  • "Unlike" is a preposition here. It heads the adjunct unlike those who were afraid of even standing by his side.
    – BillJ
    Feb 4, 2022 at 7:43

2 Answers 2

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Those are not two independent sentences. "Those who were afraid of even standing by his side" cannot stand as a sentence by itself. It has a subject, "those", but no predicate. If someone began a conversation with you by saying, "Those who were afraid", you would naturally ask, "What about them? What did they do?"

So no, "unlike" is not acting as a conjunction here. It is acting as a preposition.

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    Now I see it. The latter part of the sentence is a noun clause which is a dependent clause and thus cannot stand as a sentence by itself. Am I correct ?
    – Rayhan
    Feb 4, 2022 at 6:37
  • @Rayhan No: it's not a clause but a noun phrase functioning as complement of the preposition "unlike".
    – BillJ
    Feb 4, 2022 at 7:53
  • But it has a subject and a verb, these are the prerequisites to be a clause. It is a defining adjective clause,and here it defines 'those'.I called it a noun clause by mistake.
    – Rayhan
    Feb 4, 2022 at 13:29
  • @rahan It has a subject, "those", and it has a verb, "were". But the verb "where" is not acting on the subject, It's not the predicate. If you said, "Those were afraid", that would be a complete clause. But "were" is the verb of the phrase "who were afraid ...", which is a phrase that modifies "those". (I'm having a brain freeze and can't think of what this kind of phrase is called.)
    – Jay
    Feb 7, 2022 at 14:14
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He was brave [unlike those who were afraid of even standing by his side].

No: "unlike" is not a conjunction.

It is either an adjective (Ed is quite unlike his brother) or, as in your example, a preposition heading the bracketed adjunct.

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