# In the sentence, "I want an air-freshener because I can't stand bad smells", why is the because-clause a subordinate clause? [duplicate]

I want an air-freshener because I can't stand bad smells.

Here, isn't 'I can't stand bad smells' a coordinate clause? It is complete in itself, right? It's only after adding 'because' that the sentence becomes subordinate. But 'because' is a conjunction. So, if we want to check if a clause is coordinate or subordinate, shouldn't we exclude the conjunction ('because') here?

Edit: Thanks to the people who have answered this question! Below, I am writing what I have inferred/concluded from all the answers. I request everyone, to inform if what I understood is correct or not.

• subordinate clauses are necessary in the sentence to convey its full meaning, and that coordinate clauses are of greater value/importance than subordinate ones.

• Coordinate and subordinate clauses can exist without the help of each other, and will make complete sense, but in order to convey the whole meaning of the original sentence, it is important to use them both.

• Let's say in this sentence, both are making complete sense on its
own, but coordinate clauses are more important. "I want a freshener" is more important than telling its reason. "I can't stand bad
smells", which is the subordinate clause in this sentence, can stand alone, but it is of lesser importance in the original sentence.

• Withstand is a rather odd choice of verb in this context - stand or bear would be more idiomatic. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 10:59
• @Kate Bunting: That's right. I've edited the question. :) Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 11:03
• See also the analysis at the apparently dissimilar Why does complex sentence vs compound sentence matter? (thanks to user405662). Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 11:42

The assumption that I can't stand bad smells is a coordinate clause because it is "complete in itself" is wrong. Coordination implies joining two (or more) ideas together that are equal in value. The grammatical glue to join them is contained in the mnemonic FANBOYS.

But the crux of subordination is to join two sentences together when one idea is less important (subordinate) to the other. And to subordinate one idea to another, we use a connecting word called a "subordinator"; because is one such subordinator.

In sum, the clause I can't stand bad smells is a subordinate clause introduced by the subordinator because.

• That's the semantic definition of subordination. But you can't just assume and assert that it's the only one (or the one most grammarians use). At least some supporting evidence needs to be added. // The FANBOYS classification has been shown to be a gross over-simplification of the real situation. It has been debunked, as seen in earlier threads. For instance, 'I want an air-freshener, because I can't stand bad smells' and 'I want an air-freshener, for I can't stand bad smells' look like identical structures using adjuncts of reason. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 13:07
• So you want to say that subordinate clauses can stand alone also; but when it comes to importance in the particular sentence, they are of less value than coordinate clauses? But I have also read a definition that said 'Subordinate clauses are dependent on main clauses and can't stand alone. They need a main clause to be able to provide the full information to the user.' But if so, the "I want an air-freshener" clause is also a subordinate clause, since it doesn't provide the full info to the reader, when it stands alone. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 6:51
• I would avoid using the mnemonic FANBOYS. Grammarians don't use it because it's out-of-date and inaccurate. Did you get the book I recommended? Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 8:28
• @user405662: Thanks for the info! Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 13:25
• @Edwin Ashworth has answered a similar question here english.stackexchange.com/questions/146033/…. Do check it please to see if anything resonates. Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 4:37

Without a subordinate clause the sentence won't be complete. "I want a freshener", why do you want a freshener? To continue the sentence we should use "because" as subordinate clause to complete it as "that I can't stand the smell".

• "Without a subordinate clause the sentence won't be complete. " is simply not true. Of course the first clause can stand alone. And "because" all on its own does not usually constitute a subordinating clause. BTW, not my DV... Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 17:53
• "Because I can't stand bad smells" is an adjunct in clause structure, more specifically an adjunct of reason. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 10:11
• So you want to say that subordinate clauses are necessary in the sentence to convey its meaning, and that coordinate clauses are of greater value than subordinate ones? Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 12:31