Cambridge University mentioned:

Coordinating conjunctions connect items which are the same grammatical type, e.g. words, phrases, clauses. Link 🔗

I've provided an example of sentence in which a subordinating conjunction has connected the same grammatical type too. Take a look at this:

We went home early because we were tired.

Here 'we went home' and 'we were tired' are both a clause.

Or alternatively: We left before it started to rain.

  • 1
    You know you're going to trigger the CGEL crew with this talk of "subordinating conjunctions"?
    – James K
    Mar 27 at 22:27
  • Yes. But that's a problem. They didn't mention that subordinating conjunction can do this too and the interesting part is they've described a coordinating conjunction in a way like something opposite of subordinating conjunction in this specific topic which sounds incorrect. (Comment edited) Mar 27 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Yes: I think the point is that coordinating conjunctions can generally connect a range of things—words, noun phrases, verb phrases, clauses, prepositional phrases, etc.—if the two items being connected share the same type (and function).

Subordinating conjunctions, as the term is used in traditional grammar, are not as flexible. The term "subordinating conjunction" is only used for a function word that introduces a clause (and is not a coordinating conjunction).

  • As a student I think the book lacks information or clarification in this specific matter. Flexibility was not the primarily topic there. They haven't described this function word (subordinating conjunction) clearly which leads the students to wrong understanding or makes trouble to study correctly. Mar 27 at 23:28
  • 1
    It's frustrating when grammatical descriptions are not very thorough! One book that does a good job is A Student's Introduction to English Grammar.
    – nschneid
    Mar 27 at 23:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .