TOEFL IBT – Contrast Words & Subordinating Conjunctions

Contrast words and subordinating conjunctions are similar in that they both link parts of a sentence together.

Contrast Words

Some common contrast words in English include though, however, and but. These are words that show comparison or contrast of two ideas. They can also be used to emphasize positive or negative ideas. Though and however can also be placed at the end of a sentence, but but cannot be. When either of these two words are placed at the end of a sentence, it makes the sentence seem more like an afterthought rather than a part of the original thought.

Examples

  • I want to buy some candy, but my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy; however, my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy. My father does not want me to buy any, however.
  • I want to buy some candy, though my father does not want me to buy any.
  • I want to buy some candy. My father does not want me to buy any, though.

Other contrast words include nonetheless, yet, otherwise, nevertheless, and notwithstanding.

Tip:

  • Some contrast words, as seen above, can be interchanged for one another with an extremely similar meaning.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions provide a link between two ideas in a sentence. Sometimes, the conjunction reduces the importance of one idea to show the reader that the other idea is more important. In these cases, the clause containing the subordinating conjunction is the less important clause.

Examples

  • As I was walking to the library, I realized I had forgotten my library card. (forgetting my library card > walking to the library)
  • She begins sneezing whenever there is pollen in the air. (sneezing > smelling pollen being in the air)
  • Let me know if I can help you.

Other subordinating conjunctions include where, unless, although, when, while, before, after, until, and since.

Tips:

  • Whenever a subordinate clause precedes a main clause, you punctuate it with a comma.
    • When she arrived, she immediately took off her wet boots.
  • Not sure if you have a subordinating conjunction? Try moving the sentence around and see if it still makes sense.
    • He got into an accident after the driver cut him off.
    • After the driver cut him off, he got into an accident.

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