A few weeks ago I got an excellent question from a Habit Weekly reader named Todd Thurston. His question came in response to my discussion of subordinating conjunctions during a three-week series on clauses. I had been talking about the fact that subordinating conjunctions (like when or because) are one way of joining one clause to another:
- When the squirrel raids my bird feeder, I am sad.
- I am sad because the squirrel raids my bird feeder.
Those subordinating conjunctions when and because turn the independent clause “The squirrel raids my bird feeder” into a dependent clause that can’t stand alone as a sentence. These are now sentence fragments:
- When the squirrel raids my bird feeder.
- Because the squirrel raids my bird feeder.