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    "that" as a Subordinating conjunction..

    Can someone tell me why "that" is considered a "subordinating" conjunction.

    Let us take the following example:

    He said that things were not going well.

    The above sentence has two "Independent" clauses:

    1. He said
    2. Things were not going well

    Since two "Independent" clauses are being connected, should "that" not be considered a "coordinating" conjunction.


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    Re: "that" as a Subordinating conjunction..

    'That things were not going well' is the grammatical object of the verb 'said'. 'Things were not going well' is not an independent clause.

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    Re: "that" as a Subordinating conjunction..

    Quote Originally Posted by rambharosey View Post

    He said that things were not going well.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Rambharosey:

    You have asked a great question. I have some information that may interest you.

    (1) My grammar books tell me that once upon a time (a long, long time ago) the word "that" was a pronoun in your sentence.

    (a) That is, your sentence many, many years ago would have been analyzed as:

    He said that: things were not going well.

    (i) In other words, the sentence was "He said that." Then "things were not going well" was added as an appositive to explain "that."

    (ii) Over the years, the English people started to lose that feeling. They started to feel that "things were not going well" was the

    object of the verb, and "that" just became a connective. As you know, we can now -- in sentences such as yours -- drop the "that."

    (2) By the way, a few books agree with you: they feel that "subordinating conjunction" is not the proper term for "that" in such sentences. So they just use the term "expletive." But most books do call it a subordinating conjunction.


    Paul Roberts, Understanding Grammar.
    Homer House and Susan Harman, Descriptive English Grammar.


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