Coordination and subordination

SA1

 

Two clauses are connected in either a coordinate or a subordinate manner.

 

 

Coordination involves two main clauses or two subordinate clauses of the same type that depend on the same main clause. Two clauses are connected in a coordinate manner through the use of coordinating conjunctions or of a comma – this applies mostly to main clauses.

 

main clause 1 coordinating conjunction main clause 2
Ich leihe dir das Geld,
aber
du gibst es mir morgen zurück.

 

main clause subordinate clause 1 coordinating conjunction subordinate clause 2
Er kam nicht mit, weil er keine Lust hatte
und
weil er müde war.

 

main clause 1
comma
main clause 2
Er heißt Paul
,
seine Schwester heißt Lisa.

 

 

Conjunctions can give a certain meaning to the connection of the clauses:

 

    meaning
copulative Der Hund bellt und die Katze miaut. the two facts are connected to each other
disjunctive Der Hund ist krank oder er mag kein Dosenfutter. the second clause gives an alternative
adversative (contrastive) Der Hund ist stark, aber die Katze biegsam. one clause is contrary to the other
causal Der Hund bellt, denn jemand bricht ein. the second clause explains the content of the first clause

 


 

 

When two clauses are connected in a subordinate manner, one clause is dependent on the other. Thus, a sentence that contains one main and one subordinate clause or two subordinate clauses is formed. When a subordinate clause depends on another subordinate clause, we refer to a second grade subordinate clause.

 

main clause
 
 
Er kam nicht mit,
conjunction
1st grade subordinate clause
 
weil
er müde war.

 

main clause
 
     
Er kam nicht mit,
conjunction
1st grade subordinate clause    
 
weil
er nicht wusste, conjunction 2nd grade subordinate clause
     
dass
wir früh genug zurückkehren.

 

 

Two clauses can be connected in a subordinate manner, with or without the use of a conjunction.

 

  Examples
subordinate clause with a conjunction Ich hoffe, dass ich dich wiedersehe.
subordinate clause without a conjunction Ich hoffe, dich wiederzusehen.

 


 

 

The parenthetical phrase

 

A parenthetical phrase is a main clause that is inserted into another clause and usually comments on it.

 

Example
Laut dem Personalleiter, er hat das laut vor allen gesagt, bekomme ich eine Gehaltserhöhung.

 

Most times, parenthetical phrases are marked off by commas; dashes are also used, for reasons of emphasis.

 

Example
Laut dem Personalleiter - er hat das laut vor allen gesagt - bekomme ich eine Gehaltserhöhung.