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TNs, U33: Conjunctions 2(Subordinating Conjunctions, Temporal/Causal, Elisions with Si & Que)

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Subordinating Conjunctions

In "U17: Conjunctions 1", you learned about coordinating conjunctions, which link similar elements that have equal importance in a sentence. However, in complex sentences, one clause may be dependent on another.

The subordinating conjunctions are as follows:

Sub. Conjunction English Meaning
comme as, since
lorsque when
puisque as, since
quand when, whenever
que that
quoique even though
si if
  • Il mange quand il a faim. — He eats whenever he is hungry.

In this example, quand il a faim ("whenever he is hungry") is a dependent clause because it gives more information about the main clause il mange ("he eats"). The dependent clause is introduced by quand, which is a subordinating conjunction.

  • Tu dois rester au lit puisque tu es malade. — You must stay in bed since you are sick.
  • J’espère que vous allez mieux. — I hope (that) you are feeling better.

Unlike coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions can begin sentences.

  • Comme je suis en retard, je vais rater mon train. — Since I am late, I’m going to miss my train.
  • Lorsque le garçon mange, la fille mange. — When the boy eats, the girl eats.

Two or more words can join together to form a conjunctive phrase which acts as a conjunction. Many conjunctive phrases end in que, such as “parce que”, “alors que”, “pendant que”, “après que”, etc.

  • Pendant que je lis, il écrit. — While I read, he writes.

Temporal Conjunctions

Quand and lorsque both mean "when", but they aren't always interchangeable. Both can be used for temporal correlations, but lorsque cannot be used in direct or indirect questions. Only quand is also an adverb, so it can be used in questions. When in doubt, use quand.

  • Je sortais quand/lorsque tu es arrivé(e). — I was leaving when you arrived.
  • Je mange quand/lorsque j'ai faim. — I eat when (whenever) I am hungry.
  • Quand mangez-vous ? — When do you eat?
  • Je veux savoir quand le train part — I want to know when the train leaves.

Alors que, pendant que, and tandis que can indicate simultaneity.

  • Je mange alors que tu manges. — I eat while you eat.
  • Pendant que tu bois, je bois. — While you drink, I drink.
  • Je fais la salade tandis que vous mettez la table. — I make the salad while you set the table.

Alors que and tandis que can also indicate a contrast, contradiction or opposition, though this is rare for tandis que.

  • Elle est grande, alors que je suis petit. — She is tall, whereas I am short.
  • Je mange alors que je n'ai pas faim. — I am eating even though I am not hungry.
  • On est en été ici tandis que c’est l’hiver là-bas. - It’s summer here whereas it’s winter over there.

Causal Conjunctions

Parce que, car, and puisque all mean "because" and describe some kind of cause-and-effect relationship, but they aren't completely interchangeable.

Parce que is a subordinating conjunction that provides an explanation, motive, or justification.

  • Elle lit parce qu'elle a un livre. — She is reading because she has a book.
  • Parce qu'elle est jeune, elle est jolie. — She is pretty because she is young.

Car is similar to parce que, but it's a coordinating conjunction and thus cannot begin a sentence or clause.

  • Je mange du poulet car j'aime la viande. — I am eating chicken because I like meat.

Puisque is a subordinating conjunction that means "because" or "since" and gives an already-known or obvious reason or justification.

  • Puisqu’il pleut, j'ai un parapluie. — Since it's raining, I have an umbrella.

Elisions with Si and Que

Usually, only one-syllable words ending in -e can be elided (je, de, le, ne, me, te, se, que) as well as puisque, quoique, and jusque.

However, si can elide but only before il and ils, so you must write s'il/s’ils, but si elle/si elles.

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

For more Tips and Notes, click HERE

1 month ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Mega-Slowking
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Thanks for the tremendous work! I think the following line is a typo (should be "pendant que"?)

Alors que and tandis que can also indicate a contrast, contradiction or opposition, though this is rare for tandis que.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Mod
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Thanks for your nice words.

I think there is no error in the above, which I can summarize as follows:

  • "pendant que" is purely temporal
  • "tandis que" is mostly temporal and sometimes contradictory
  • "alors que" is mosty contradictory and sometimes temporal
1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dammett
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Yes, but the problem is that "tandis que"is not actually in any of the lessons. Nor does it appear in the Words Learned list when the unit is completed.

10 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dammett
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Could you also maybe leave an explanation of "aussitôt que"? It appears to be an option when translating to French in the lessons (although no actual phrase starting from French includes it). It doesn't appear in the Word list either, but I was curious as it appears when you hover over the word "whenever" in the sentence, "We make the meal whenever we can." It would be interesting to see how that is different from "quand".

10 hours ago
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