While in the classroom, you need to keep your voice down.

  1. Is "while in the classroom" a dependent clause with "you are" omitted as a subject and predicate?

  2. Is "while" a subordinate conjunction?

3 Answers 3


Yes: A dependent clause (aka subordinate clause) contains a subject and a verb, but to get its point across, it requires additional information, which can only be provided by a main clause.

Yes: common subordinate conjunctions include: after, although, as, as if, as long as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, in order that, now that, once, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, till, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, while


[While in the classroom], you need to keep your voice down.

  1. Not quite: it's a preposition phrase (functioning as an adjunct) headed by the prep "while", which has as its complement the verbless clause "in the classroom"; in other words it's a clause-within-a-phrase structure. Within the clause (which is of course subordinate), the subject is missing as well as the predicator (verb), but there is nevertheless a predicational relation understood: the adjunct can be expanded to "while you are in the classroom".

  2. No: traditional grammar treats "while" as a subordinator, but in modern grammar it's analysed as a preposition (see 1.).


In tradtional grammar "while" is a subordinating conjunction. But in your example the while-clause is shortened.

You can shorten a clause by using a participle construction with drop of the subject if the subjects in subclause and main clause are the same:

  • While you are in the classroom > While being in the classroom

When the participle is "being" it is mostly dropped as it is self-evident:

  • While being in the classroom > While in the classroom

When using a participle constructuction the conjunction can also be dropped as you can guess it from the relationship between subclause and main clause.

  • While you are in the classroom > Being in the classroom > In the classroom

You don't have to learn the subordinating conjunctions, only the coordinating conjunctions as there are only seven:

  • and or nor - but yet - for so (nor is a correlative conjunction as in neither A nor B)

You find a useful presentation of conjunctions in english-grammar-revolution.com here

You can find a list of the most common subordinating conjunctions here.

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