Year 2

Subordination with 'when' and 'if'

I can stretch a simple sentence with 'when' and 'if' subordination.

Year 2

Subordination with 'when' and 'if'

I can stretch a simple sentence with 'when' and 'if' subordination.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. 'When' and 'if' are types of joining word.
  2. A simple sentence can be stretched with 'when' to give a time frame to the first idea.
  3. A simple sentence can be stretched with 'if' to give conditions to the first idea.
  4. Joining the first idea with 'when' or 'if' forms a second idea that is subordinate to the first.
  5. Using 'when' or 'if' to stretch a simple sentence forms an adverbial complex sentence.

Common misconception

Pupils may think that an idea starting with 'when' or 'if' makes complete sense on its own.

Make sure 'when' and 'if' are always presented as part of the second idea so that pupils can hear the idea does not make complete sense.


  • Joining word - a word that joins words or ideas

  • Time frame - when something happens

  • Conditions - circumstances or factors

  • Stretch - to make longer or fuller

  • Complex sentence - a sentence formed of a simple sentence joined with subordination

Make the tasks more practical by providing some slips of paper with simple sentences and other slips with subordinate clauses beginning with 'if' and 'when'. This will give pupils the opportunity to play around with sentences before writing them.
Teacher tip


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6 Questions

Which of these sentences make complete sense?
ran into the playground
Correct answer: Jun likes running.
when it was break time
Correct answer: Jun ran into the playground.
A simple sentence...
Correct answer: is about one idea that makes complete sense.
always contains an exclamation mark.
is about two ideas linked together with a joining word.
Match the simple sentence type to the punctuation mark it ends with.
Correct Answer:statement,full stop

full stop

Correct Answer:exclamation,exclamation mark

exclamation mark

Correct Answer:question,question mark

question mark

What is a joining word?
a word that joins two adjectives
a word that starts a sentence
Correct answer: a word that joins two words or ideas
a word that describes a noun
What is the function of the joining word 'because'?
for building on
for a positive and a negative
Correct answer: for giving a reason
Match the second idea to the first idea it is dependent upon to make sense.
Correct Answer:We were late for the flight...,because we missed our train.

because we missed our train.

Correct Answer:The wolf howled...,because there was a full moon.

because there was a full moon.

Correct Answer:Nan baked a cake...,because it was my birthday.

because it was my birthday.

6 Questions

Tick the joining words.
Correct answer: if
Correct answer: because
Correct answer: when
Which word in this sentence is being used to stretch the first idea? The bird sang tunefully when the dazzling sun rose in the sky.
Correct answer: when
Match the joining word with its function.
Correct Answer:because,for giving a reason

for giving a reason

Correct Answer:when,for giving a time frame

for giving a time frame

Correct Answer:if,for giving conditions

for giving conditions

Using ‘when’ or ‘if’ to stretch a simple sentence forms...
a statement.
a compound sentence.
Correct answer: a complex sentence.
an opinion.
Which joining word is missing from this sentence? I want to be a vet __________ I grow up.
Correct Answer: when, When, wen
Tick the sentence that uses the joining word to give conditions to the first idea.
Correct answer: You can join the team if you train every day.
You can join the team when you are in Year 3.