subordinating clauses & conjunctions

subordinating clauses & conjunctions

B2 grammar

In the pie above, are the frequency of the subordinating conjunctions tagged in the iWeb corpus proportionally compared only to one another.  I believe it would come as a surprise to many experienced ESL teachers that ‘once’ is more common than ‘unless’ which I am quite sure most teachers have taught alongside ‘if’ for higher levels.

Point 85 (B2) in the category of CLAUSES is defined in the English Grammar Profile as

“a finite subordinate clause, before or after a main clause, with conjunctions to introduce conditions”

This is a partially overlapping point with point 18 (B2) in CONJUNCTIONS defined as a

  “wide range of simple subordinating conjunctions (‘once, whereas, unless, except (that) provided (that)), to introduce a subordinate clause.”

Notice the clash with the EVP:

Also, when we look at the example sentences for point 85, we see that these revolve around two conjunctions (‘unless’ & ‘provided’).  Our bigger problem of clashing levels is for ‘unless’.

Unless_CS something_PN1 is_VBZ done_VDN many people will die .
Getting to work by car is comfortable and faster unless_CS you_PPY are_VBR caught_VVN in a traffic jam.

The only examples from the EGP above are present simple passive.  (From these we could use unless_cs _p _vb _v?n* to search iWeb)

The situation gets more confusing in that Point 57 in the category of CLAUSES is B1 and defined as

‘unless’ + present simple to talk about an exception, with present and future reference.

Here the key formal difference to differentiate level is that there must be present simple following the conjunction ‘unless’ which becomes very hard to find indeed.

Finally, the greatest confusion is created when we see the example for B2 point 18 in the English Grammar Profile:

Unless_CS the_AT situation_NN1 improves_VVZ , we will be forced to try a new supplier .

This is present simple!  So should it be B1?  or because it is third-person singular (a much harder construction!) be B2?

Hence we will copy the code above Unless_cs _a _n _vvz to see what we get in iWeb:

Just from looking at the high level of vocabulary, we might lean on the B2 side for complexity here regardless.

‘Unless’ (by itself) can also be examined further for collocates in the iWeb corpus and through text inspector to see just how academic a context and higher-level vocabulary surrounds it:

Before we accept all of this vocabulary for our examples, we need to remember that this point at B2 is for finite clauses so here is a recap (but do not believe the examples of the non-finite):

What we notice from most of our collocates is that there are many past participles.  This does not mean that these words are bad at all, actually using them would show that the writing is actually more complex than B2.  We just need to keep in mind to look for more simple clauses with a subject-verb that is learnt at lower levels.

‘Unless’

1 OTHERWISE (RR ) 81484

Non-finite

2 SPECIFICALLY (RR ) 16572

Non-finite

3 STATED (VVN_VVD ) 12705 (as above)

4 NOTED (VVN_VVD ) 10154

Non-finite

5 ABSOLUTELY (RR ) 9081

Most are non-finite with ‘unless absolutely necessary’.

6 SPECIFIED (VVN_VVD ) 7859

Most are non-finite as ‘unless specified otherwise.’

7 STATED (VVN ) 6037 (as above) 8 EXPRESSLY (RR ) 5930 (unlisted) 9 SPECIFIED (VVN ) 5789 (as above)

10 PERMISSION B1 5050

11 INDICATED (VVN_VVD ) 4908 12 EXPLICITLY (RR ) 4734 13 REQUESTED (VVN ) 4116 14 AUTHORIZED (VVN ) 3410 15 PERMITTED (VVN ) 2792 16 CONSENT (NN1 ) 2730 17 ACCOMPANIED (VVN ) 2479 18 ARRANGEMENTS (NN2 ) 2436 19 USELESS (JJ ) 2253 20 PROHIBITED (VVN ) 2232 21 INSTRUCTED (VVN ) 1951 22 DETERMINES (VVZ ) 1505 23 DECIDES (VVZ ) 1478 24 AGREES (VVZ ) 1444 25 INTEND (VV0 ) 1417 26 FAULTY (JJ ) 1282 27 EXEMPTION (NN1 ) 1098 28 EXEMPTED (VVN ) 1083 29 EXEMPT (JJ ) 1081 30 MISTAKEN (JJ_VVN ) 1080 31 HEREIN (RR ) 1067 32 TERMINATED (VVN ) 938 33 WAIVER (NN1 ) 932 34 DEFECTIVE (JJ ) 897 35 CHOOSES (VVZ ) 844 36 SPECIFIES (VVZ ) 828 37 MEANINGLESS (JJ ) 805 38 INSTRUCTED (VVN_VVD ) 706 39 VOLUNTARILY (RR ) 695 40 DRASTIC (JJ ) 670 58803 41 DIRECTS (VVZ ) 636 42 NON-REFUNDABLE (JJ ) 634 43 REPENT (VV0 ) 613 44 MEDICALLY (RR ) 600 45 OVERRIDDEN (VVN ) 587 46 AUTHORISED (VVN ) 586 47 WORTHLESS (JJ ) 581 48 POINTLESS (JJ ) 556 49 WAIVED (VVN ) 57 50 PROVOKED (VVN ) 418

B2 unless + present simple passive

Our iWeb corpus search: unless_cs _p _vb _v?n*

1 UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED 768 (notice that the tagger is not sure if this is an adjective or past particle)


2 UNLESS SOMETHING IS DONE 440


3 UNLESS WE ARE REQUIRED 240
4 UNLESS IT IS DONE 217
5 UNLESS IT IS ACCOMPANIED 210
6 UNLESS IT IS USED 206
7 UNLESS IT IS MADE 198
8 UNLESS THEY ARE ACCOMPANIED 198
9 UNLESS IT IS REQUIRED 191
10 UNLESS IT IS SHOWN 189
11 UNLESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCED 189
12 UNLESS YOU ARE TOLD 179
13 UNLESS IT IS DETERMINED 164
14 UNLESS THEY ARE USED 163
15 UNLESS THEY ARE GIVEN 140
16 UNLESS YOU WERE BORN 137
17 UNLESS WE ARE PREPARED 130
18 UNLESS THEY ARE MADE 128
19 UNLESS THEY ARE FORCED 113
20 UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED 113

B1 ‘unless’ + present simple lexical verb

unless_cs _p _vv

1 UNLESS YOU WANT 23336


2 UNLESS YOU KNOW 10806


3 UNLESS YOU GET 5790


4 UNLESS YOU USE 5457
5 UNLESS YOU LIVE 4373
6 UNLESS YOU PLAN 4259
7 UNLESS YOU NEED 3553
8 UNLESS YOU GO 3320
9 UNLESS YOU LIKE 3304
10 UNLESS YOU COUNT 3269
11 UNLESS YOU CHOOSE 2611
12 UNLESS YOU TAKE 2611
13 UNLESS YOU MAKE 2571
14 UNLESS YOU HAPPEN 1967
15 UNLESS YOU PAY 1914
16 UNLESS YOU TELL 1890
17 UNLESS YOU THINK 1840
18 UNLESS YOU BUY 1787
19 UNLESS YOU FIND 1640
20 UNLESS YOU GIVE 1632

Unless + a n vvz (B1 or B2???)

1 UNLESS THE CONTEXT REQUIRES 486

Americas Gold and Silver Announces C$25 Million Bought …

Yahoo Finance5 May 2020
All references to the Company include its subsidiaries unless the context requires otherwise.
(otherwise is B2 adverb modification already.)

2 UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR TELLS 414


3 UNLESS THE COURT FINDS 378
4 UNLESS AN EXCEPTION APPLIES 282
5 UNLESS THE EVENT SELLS 182
6 UNLESS THE COURT DETERMINES 164
7 UNLESS AN EXEMPTION APPLIES 131
8 UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR SAYS 119
9 UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS 115
10 UNLESS THE SECRETARY DETERMINES 111
11 UNLESS THE CONTEXT INDICATES 110
12 UNLESS THE COURT DIRECTS 107
13 UNLESS THE PERSON HOLDS 101
14 UNLESS THE COURT ORDERS 79
15 UNLESS A MIRACLE HAPPENS 64
16 UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT TAKES 56
17 UNLESS THE FATHER DRAWS 53
18 UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR ADVISES 53
19 UNLESS THE ARBITRATOR DETERMINES 51
20 UNLESS THE COURT MAKES 51

 

Provided

1 FURTHER (RRR ) 13961

This collocates but most samples don’t appear in conditional clauses when checked on Google News, therefore a look at iWeb specifically for ‘provided_cs’ = that as a conjunction is further inspected. We cannot be sure since even the tagger is unsure.

This is an example where I counter check claws7:

I_PPIS1 provided_VVD you_PPY with_IW the_AT paper_NN1 ._. Good this is B1 past tense.
I_PPIS1 provided_CS21 that_CS22 yesterday_RT ._. 
(the tagger incorrectly assumes 'provided that' is a two-part subordinating conjunction)

Manually inspecting this shows that half are still not conditionals.  The green lines of this set of 20 probably are conditional.

2 EVIDENCE (NN1 ) 2678 3 FUNDS (NN2 ) 2590 4 ASSISTANCE (NN1 ) 1603 5 SUFFICIENT (JJ ) 1189 6 EXPENDED (VVN ) 1036 7 GUIDANCE (NN1 ) 1015 8 INSIGHT (NN1 ) 1002 9 MEETS (VVZ ) 878 10 TOWELS (NN2 ) 875

So collocates are not the way to inspect this.  What we notice though from the above ‘green’ is that we can be more sure to find the conditional structure next to a comma or full stop.

So a new search for: , provided_cs * * is carried out and gives us:

1 , PROVIDED THAT THE 9991

When we further check this for collocates 4 to the left and right, we start to get a real picture of the type of language located around this conditional:

1 PARTY 215 (this is not a birthday ‘party’)


2 SHALL 213


3 PERSON 212


4 CONDITIONS 112
5 REQUIREMENTS 101
6 NOTICE 85
7 PURPOSES 81
8 COPYRIGHT 77
9 EMPLOYEE 77
10 AGREEMENT 75
11 REQUEST 74
12 APPLICANT 67
13 PERMITTED 66
14 OWNER 66
15 RECIPIENT 63
16 GRANTED 59
17 AMENDMENT 58
18 FEE 57
19 INSTITUTION 50
20 NON-COMMERCIAL 49

2 , PROVIDED THAT YOU 2865


3 , PROVIDED THEY ARE 2296
4 , PROVIDED YOU HAVE 2105
5 , PROVIDED THAT THEY 2020
6 , PROVIDED IT IS 1868
7 , PROVIDED THAT SUCH 1658
8 , PROVIDED THAT IT 1382
9 , PROVIDED THEY HAVE 1084
10 , PROVIDED YOU DO 996
11 , PROVIDED THERE IS 984
12 , PROVIDED YOU ARE 974
13 , PROVIDED THAT : 937
14 , PROVIDED THAT A 631
15 , PROVIDED YOU CAN 594
16 , PROVIDED THAT ALL 587
17 , PROVIDED THEY DO 581
18 , PROVIDED THAT NO 574
19 , PROVIDED THAT ANY 461
20 , PROVIDED THAT THERE 448

 

‘Once’

. once_cs * * * * *

1 . ONCE YOU GET THE HANG OF 1014 (idiom!)


2 . ONCE YOU ‘VE DONE THAT , 884


3 . ONCE YOU HAVE DONE THIS , 721
4 . ONCE YOU DO THAT , YOU 501
5 . ONCE YOU HAVE DONE THAT , 480
6 . ONCE YOU ‘VE DONE THIS , 409
7 . ONCE YOU ARE HAPPY WITH THE 324


8 . ONCE YOU HAVE DONE SO , 314
9 . ONCE YOU ARE LOGGED IN , 300
10 . ONCE YOUR HAIR IS DRY , 290


11 . ONCE YOU DO THIS , YOU 265
12 . ONCE YOU GET USED TO THE 254
13 . ONCE YOUR HAIR IS COMPLETELY DRY 247
14 . ONCE YOU GET USED TO IT 228
15 . ONCE YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF 203
16 . ONCE YOU HAVE DONE THIS YOU 199
17 . ONCE YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE 194
18 . ONCE YOU ARE HAPPY WITH YOUR 183
19 . ONCE YOU HAVE LOGGED IN , 179
20 . ONCE YOU ARE DONE WITH THE 176

 

. once_cs * _vv

1 . ONCE YOU GET 19614


2 . ONCE YOU KNOW 6567
3 . ONCE YOU START 5881
4 . ONCE YOU FIND 4622
5 . ONCE I GOT 4293
6 . ONCE YOU REACH 3648
7 . ONCE I GET 3015
8 . ONCE YOU SEE 2685
9 . ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND 2448
10 . ONCE YOU LEARN 2009
11 . ONCE YOU CLICK 1995
12 . ONCE YOU COMPLETE 1985
13 . ONCE YOU RECEIVE 1935
14 . ONCE YOU MAKE 1919
15 . ONCE WE RECEIVE 1912
16 . ONCE WE GOT 1835
17 . ONCE I STARTED 1789
18 . ONCE WE GET 1709
19 . ONCE THEY GET 1594
20 . ONCE YOU HIT 1588

‘except’

When we check the following Ngrams on iWeb, there is no doubt just how extremely formal this conjunction is and in particular it appears to be found in a great deal of law terminology.  The other thing to note is ‘as’ and ‘provided’ are also located here.  Also, many of the following are prepositional phrases:

except_cs * * * *

1 EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF 4705
2 EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN 3563
3 EXCEPT , OF COURSE , 2209
4 EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT THAT 1856
5 EXCEPT AS REQUIRED BY LAW 1585
6 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION 1345
7 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 1131


8 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THIS 1054
9 EXCEPT WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW 940
10 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 937
11 EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO 842
12 EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY 757
13 EXCEPT AS SET FORTH IN 713
14 EXCEPT IN SO FAR AS 572
15 EXCEPT AS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE 541
16 EXCEPT AS MAY BE REQUIRED 526
17 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN ORS 507
18 EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED IN 484
19 EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THE 477
20 EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH 430

So to attempt to find simple clauses we can try searching:

except_cs _p _v

1 EXCEPT IT ‘S 2523


2 EXCEPT IT IS 2087
3 EXCEPT IT WAS 1707
4 EXCEPT THEY ARE 1247
5 EXCEPT I DO 1016
6 EXCEPT IT HAS 1014
7 EXCEPT IT DOES 1004
8 EXCEPT I HAVE 826
9 EXCEPT YOU DO 757
10 EXCEPT YOU CAN 737

1 EXCEPT THAT IT IS 2318
2 EXCEPT THAT IT ‘S 1175

3 EXCEPT THAT IT WAS 1086
4 EXCEPT THAT THEY ARE 1019
5 EXCEPT THAT IT HAS 904

‘whereas’

whereas_cs * *

1 WHEREAS , THE 5987

2 WHEREAS IN THE 5875
3 WHEREAS THE OTHER 2338
4 WHEREAS IF YOU 2317
5 WHEREAS IT IS 1830
6 WHEREAS , IN 1758
7 WHEREAS THE LATTER 1123


8 WHEREAS OTHERS ARE 1101
9 WHEREAS IN A 1051
10 WHEREAS , IF 1024
11 WHEREAS ON THE 932
12 WHEREAS THE SECOND 839
13 WHEREAS WITH THE 819
14 WHEREAS THE FIRST 694
15 WHEREAS THERE IS 652
16 WHEREAS IT WAS 650
17 WHEREAS MOST OF 631
18 WHEREAS THERE ARE 630
19 WHEREAS OTHERS MAY 601
20 WHEREAS THOSE WHO 601

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