By now you know that these are the most important subordinating conjunctions.

Remember that a subordinating conjunction can join clauses in two different ways: The conjunction can be placed before the first clause or before the second clause. When the conjunction is placed before the first clause, you use a comma between the clauses. When the conjunction is placed before the second clause, you normally don’t use a comma between the clauses. Another way to say this is:

dependent clause first → comma between clauses

independent clause first → no comma

Here’s a review exercise on recognizing and punctuating compound and complex sentences.

Exercise 3.1

Some of these sentences are compound, and others are complex. Please do the following: (1) Label each sentence compound or complex. (2) Circle the conjunction that joins the two clauses in each sentence. (3) Insert a comma if it is needed because a sentence is compound or because a sentence is complex with the dependent clause first. (Label subjects, verbs, complements, and objects if that helps you to see the two clauses in each sentence.)

1. __________ When it introduced box lunches on a flight to Paris in 1919 Handley Page Transport of England became the first airline to serve meals in flight.

2. __________ No one was surprised when Wilma P. Mankiller became the principal chief of the 72,000-member Cherokee nation.

3. __________ Most beer drinkers now buy their beer in cans but for 35 years bottled beer outsold canned beer.

4. __________ England’s Queen Victoria wore mostly black for the remaining 39 years of her life after she lost her beloved husband Albert.

5. __________ Since Kahlil Gibran, the author of The Prophet and many other works, died in 1931 at the age of 48 the royalties from all posthumous sales have helped to the people of his impoverished native village of Bsharri in Lebanon.