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What Are The Clauses of a Sentence?

Imagineer's Library

Independent Clauses vs Dependent Clauses

In English grammar, sentences are made up of clauses. Clauses are groups of words that contain a subject and a predicate (verb) and work together to express a complete thought. There are two primary types of clauses in a sentence:

1. Independent Clause (Main Clause):

An independent clause is a clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence because it expresses a complete thought. It has both a subject and a predicate and does not rely on other clauses to make sense. Independent clauses are often used to form simple sentences.

Example of an independent clause: "Candy forgot her English homework."

2. Dependent Clause (Subordinate Clause):

A dependent clause, on the other hand, is a clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence because it does not express a complete thought. It relies on an independent clause to make sense and is often introduced by subordinating conjunctions such as "although," "because," "if," "when," or "while."

Example of a dependent clause: "When she was sick."

Dependent clauses are commonly used to add information, details, or context to independent clauses, making sentences more complex. When an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses are combined, they form complex or compound-complex sentences.

Here's an example of a sentence with both types of clauses:

"Although the teacher gave her extra time (dependent clause), Candy never turned in her homework (independent clause)."

In this sentence, the independent clause "Candy never turned in her homework" can stand alone as a sentence, while the dependent clause "Although the teacher gave her extra time" cannot. Together, they create a complex sentence that shows the relationship between the teacher's action and Candy's response, highlighting the contrast between the opportunity given and the outcome.

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