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Adverb Subordinator Vs. Preposition

because of during before & after despite & in spite of in case of

Students sometimes confuse adverb clause subordinators with prepositions having the same or similar meaning. Thus they may write...

    Because of Tom was hungry, he took Jessica's burger.


    Tom fell asleep during he took the grammar test.

This confusion can be remedied by explaining to them that a subordinator has a subject and verb after it while a preposition will not. Even if they have trouble recognizing the difference between a subject and a preposition object, as long as the clause contains a verb, then they will need to use a subdordinator rather than a preposition.

before and after

Before and after are unique in that they can be used as subordinators or prepositions without any change in their form [no added of]

    Before lunch, Tom took a nap.    -preposition

    Before he ate lunch, Tom took a nap.    -adverb clause subordinator

In case of

   In the example below...

    In case of a fire, Tom will run screaming from the restaurant.

the preposition, in case of, has the same basic meaning as the subordinator, if

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page last modified: February 3, 2015

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