Saturday, June 12, 2010

What are concessive clauses?

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In my IELTS preparation class today, I was asked about concessive clauses.

A concessive clause is a subordinate clause used to concede a given point in an argument.

The principle concessive conjunctions introducing a concessive clause are: though, although, even though, while, and even if.

Like all conjunctions, concessive conjunctions, which introduce concessive clauses, create a relationship between two or more pieces of information or evidence.

Concessive conjunctions are widely used in academic writing so that the reader can clearly see which of the pieces of information or evidence the writer sees as:

    * carrying more weight.
    * being more relevant to arguments or topic.
    * being worth further development.

As ESL guru Kenneth Beare writes: "they can be placed at the beginning, internally or at the of the sentence. When placed at the beginning or internally, they serve to concede a certain part of an argument before proceeding to question the validity of the point in a given discussion."

Ex: He bought me a lovely gift, [although he can't really afford it] > concessive clause
Ex: [Even though he worked hard], he failed the final exam.

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