Glossary: subordination



The relationship between two elements of unequal grammatical status, often linked by a subordinate conjunction.

A subordinate word or phrase tells us more about the meaning of the word it is subordinate to. Subordination can be thought of as an unequal relationship between a subordinate word and a main word. For example:

  • an adjective is subordinate to the noun it modifies
  • Subjects and Objects are subordinate to their verbs.
  • big dogs [big is subordinate to dogs]
  • Big dogs need long walks. [big dogs and long walks are subordinate to need]
  • We can watch TV when we’ve finished. [when we’ve finished is subordinate to watch]

Subordination is much more common than the equal relationship of coordination.

See also subordinate clause.

09: Linking (2)

Year 2 Guided Grammar Lessons #9

This is Lesson #9 of a unit of 10.

Go to the Start

Teacher Slide

Objective: grammar

To understand how we can link clauses using subordination.

Objective: writing

To encourage pupils to join clauses in their writing using when, because, after, before, since, etc.


Englicious contains many resources for English language in schools, but the vast majority of them require you to register and log in first. For more information, see What is Englicious?

Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-21 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Privacy | Cookies