Setting and subordinating conjunctions

Home learning focus

Learn how to use setting and subordinating conjunctions in writing.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • two activities


Subordinating conjunctions

Sentences often start with a subordinating conjunction.

Watch this video to understand more about subordinating conjunctions and how you can use them in your writing.

Find out how to join sentences together using words like 'because' and 'when'.

A complex sentence uses a subordinate clause to add extra detail.

A subordinate clause can go at the start, in the middle or at the end of a sentence.


  • No subordinating conjunction:

The island was calm and peaceful; the clouds became dark and angry.

  • Subordinate clause at the end:

The island was calm and peaceful until the clouds became dark and angry.

  • Subordinate clause at the start:

Until the clouds became dark and angry, the island was calm and peaceful.

By using the subordinating conjunction until we have linked the main clause the island was calm and peaceful with the subordinate clause the clouds became dark and angry.

Story settings

The setting of a story tells us where and when it is taking place.

Choosing a setting can be fun because they can be absolutely anywhere – it’s totally up to you!

When writing, choose your words carefully in order to paint a detailed picture for your readers.

There are lots of key features to think about when creating a setting:

  • The context

What type of story are you writing? Adventure, horror, comedy, myth etc? When is it set? For example, a rocket might look out of place in a medieval story!

  • The five senses

Using sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch can help focus and add detail to your description.

  • Weather

This can have a huge impact on your setting and can easily change the mood.

A towering storm cloud loomed overhead would create tension.

  • Imagery

Using adjectives, adverbs, similes and metaphors helps paint a vivid picture of your scene.

Walls of waves threw the ship around like a wild animal toying with its prey.

  • Subordinate clauses

These can be used to add extra information about your scene.

The island was calm and peaceful until the storm clouds appeared.

  • Personification

This gives your setting characteristics which your reader can imagine.

The trees upon the island danced wildly in the wind.

  • Alliteration or onomatopoeia

Use these to give your reader a sense of the sounds in your story.

Thud! The waves whacked wildly against the rotten hull of the ship.

Watch this video to understand more about subordinating conjunctions and how you can use them in your writing.

Tricks of the trade to help writers choose the best setting for a story.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Check your understanding by completing this story setting quiz.

Activity 2

Get creative! Create your own story setting.

Remember to think about the key features of describing a setting:

  • The five senses

  • Weather

  • Figurative language techniques such as personification, onomatopoeia, imagery and alliteration.

Once you've thought about your setting, draw your setting and write a paragraph to describe it.

Don't forget to include at least three subordinate conjunctions.


The forest was quiet and relaxed until the sky became black and stormy.

Top tip!

A subordinate clause may also be introduced by a relative pronoun - a word like that, which, who or whose:

The vampire, who didn’t like garlic, lived in a haunted bungalow.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to use settings and subordinating conjunctions.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about creative writing:

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