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Coordination & Subordination: in context

Writers use coordination and subordination to create coherence between ideas and make ideas flow smoothly and rhythmically. Part of an experienced writer's revision process, therefore, is to examine sentences to see where combinations might occur, and which coordinating or subordinating conjunctions might clarify connections between ideas.

Take a look at these examples of writing that exemplify good coordination and subordination. Click on the boldface coordinators and subordinators for commentary.  You must have pop-up messages enabled on your browser to view comments:

Now, of course, the quality and the seasonability of these winter dreams varied, but the stuff of them remained. They persuaded Dexter several years later to pass up a business course at the State university — his father, prospering now, would have paid his way — for the precarious advantage of attending an older and more famous university in the East, where he was bothered by his scanty funds. But do not get the impression, because his winter dreams happened to be concerned at first with musings on the rich, that there was anything merely snobbish in the boy. He wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people — he wanted the glittering things themselves. Often he reached out for the best without knowing why he wanted it — and sometimes he ran up against the mysterious denials and prohibitions in which life indulges. It is with one of those denials and not with his career as a whole that this story deals.  (from "Winter Dreams," by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Originating in Italy, the sonnet was established by Petrarch in the 14th century as a major form of love poetry, and came to be adopted in Spain, France and England in the 16th century, and in Germany in the 17th. The standard subject-matter of early sonnets was the torments of sexual love (usually within a courtly love convention), but in the 17th century John Donne extended the sonnet's scope to religion, while Millton extended it to politics. Although largely neglected in the 18th century, the sonnet was revived in the 19th by Wordsworth, Keats, and Baudelaire, and is still widely used. (from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. New York: Oxford. 1990. Chris Baldick)

In a lending library you see people’s real tastes, not their pretended ones, and one thing that strikes you is how completely the ‘classical’ English novelists have dropped out of favour. It is simply useless to put Dickens, Thackeray, Jane Austen, Trollope, etc. into the ordinary lending library; nobody takes them out. At the mere sight of a nineteenth-century novel people say, ‘Oh, but that’s old!’ and shy away immediately. Yet it is always fairly easy to sell Dickens, just as it is always easy to sell Shakespeare. Dickens is one of those authors whom people are ‘always meaning to’ read, and, like the Bible, he is widely known at second hand. People know by hearsay that Bill Sikes was a burglar and that Mr Micawber had a bald head, just as they know by hearsay that Moses was found in a basket of bulrushes and saw the ‘back parts’ of the Lord. (from "Bookshop Memories," 1936, by George Orwell)

 

 

 

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