As If Subordinating Conjunctions Can Be Confusing

Did you know if you want to spend a lifetime learning something, punctuation and grammar can give you the opportunity.

This week while proofreading my  novel, I noticed I wasn’t using ‘as if’ consistently. Sometimes I put a comma before the words and sometimes I didn’t.

I noticed this while I was reading on my Kindle. Last week I blogged about How To Avoid Errors In E-books, and here is one more instance where the new addition to my process helped me. As if!

I looked up ‘as if’ and found out it’s a subordinating conjunction. I knew this but had forgotten. Now I know the rules for comma use with ‘if’, another subordinating conjunction, so all I had to do was apply the rule to sentence containing ‘as if.’

The rule, you ask?

A subordinating conjunction joins two clauses of unequal importance. If the clause containing the subordination conjunction comes before the main clause then follow the clause with a comma. If it doesn’t, don’t.

  • As if he could stop the bleeding with his eyes, he stared at the knife impaling his calf. (subordinating conjunction before main clause)
  • He stared at the knife impaling his calf as if he could stop the bleeding with his eyes. (subordinating conjunction after main clause)

Attention to detail is a must when writing a novel, but how can you do that if you don’t know the rules? This brings me back to the lifetime of studying idea.

Keep on the look out for areas in your writing where you’re not consistent and you might find areas where you don’t know the rules. Grammar: How to Learn What You Don’t Know gives another idea on learning grammar.

How do you figure out what you don’t know?

Thanks for reading . . .

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