Learn English – What parts of speech are GIVEN and THAT in the phrase “Given that….”


I'd like to know which parts of speech given and that are in the following sentence:

Given that the dress is small, I couldn't wear it.

In the answers here, one poster said given that is a subordinating conjunction. They also said that the clause following the phrase is a subordinating clause.

Another user said that the word given is a verb and that the word that is a complementiser belonging to the following noun phrase and that the noun phrase is a Complement of the verb given.

Someone else suggested that given is a preposition and that is a subordinator. In fact, prepositions was the first tag I used for this question. Merriam-Webster also say that given in given that is a preposition.

On the other hand, Cambridge Dictionaries, has no entry for given that, which suggests that it is not a single item. Oxford Dictionaries say that it is a subordinating conjunction.

And in fact, M-W includes elsewhere:

given [adjective]

… 3b granted: given that all are equal before the law

Small wonder that some users argue that dictionaries are not good places to look to find out parts of speech.

What do other authoritative grammar sources have to say about this?

To sum up:

  • What parts of speech are given and that in the example sentence, and what supporting evidence is there for allocating them to these parts of speech?

Best Answer

Here, given that is a subordinating conjunction.

(You can replace given that with because and retain the meaning.)

Given that the dress is small is a subordinating clause to the main clause I wouldn't wear it.