Definition of subordinate clause in US English:

subordinate clause


  • A clause, typically introduced by a conjunction, that forms part of and is dependent on a main clause (e.g., “when it rang” in “she answered the phone when it rang”).

    • ‘The other students, English majors all, seemed terrified by the prospect of a semester of moods and modals, subordinate clauses and predicate adjectives.’
    • ‘Pronouns can refer back to earlier sentences, and subordinate clause pronouns can refer forward to main clause antecedents yet to come, but main clause pronouns can't refer forward to subordinate clauses yet to come.’
    • ‘The gentle chain of modifiers, subordinate clauses, and dreamlike images in prepositional phrases all render a generous, almost psalm-like appeal to the thinking person.’
    • ‘Even if the subordinate clauses open up a parenthesis that seems to last for ever, they do close, eventually, in a completed thought.’
    • ‘In this version the subject was placed after the verb either by nominating the object phrase first or by changing the sequence of main clause and subordinate clause.’


subordinate clause

/səˈbɔrd(ə)nət ˌklɔz//səˈbôrd(ə)nət ˌklôz/