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Independent Clause and Dependent Clause

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Clauses are groups of words that contain a subject and a verb. Independent clauses can stand alone while dependent clauses cannot. Find ways to recognize a dependent clause and add parts to the sentence to make it an independent clause.

Clauses are the building blocks of sentences and they're pretty easy to understand. They are a group of words that has, both the subject and a verb. The catch is that there is two different kinds. The first kind is the dependent clause which means, even tough it's got a subject and a verb it can stand alone. Something like, 'She threw'. So 'she' is our subject, 'threw' is our verb but 'threw' requires us to kind of finish the thought here and it's not finished so we've got a dependent clause. The other kind of dependent clause that we see often is one that starts with the word like because or since, or whether which is one of those subordinating conjunctions and we've got...because we have that word and and we have a finished clause here' I woke up early', so I've got a subject and a verb. These subordinating conjunction requires a finishing of the thought and if doesn't get finished it's a dependent clause.
The other kind of clause we have shockingly, the independent clause which means it can stand alone. So we've got a subject and a verb and we've got a completion of thought. Something like 'she threw her back out' or 'because I woke up early I got a lot done'. So those both can stand by themselves. Let's take a look and see if we can identify which of these are independent clauses and which are dependent clause and if we find some dependent ones let's go ahead and make them independent. So we've got 'I flew all the way home', 'I' is our subject it's what's doing the action, what's 'I' doing, 'I' is flying and then we've got a completion of thought. It's the way I flew all the way home so we've got an independent clause here.
'Since I was on vacation' we've got a subject, 'I' and 'I' was in a state of being they were on vacation but I've got this word 'since' that begs more information. So I've got a dependent clause. An easy way to fix a dependent clause that's starts with one of those subordinating conjunctions, is just to hook it up to an independent clause. So we can say, 'since I was on vacation, I caught up on my sleep'. 'Since I caught up on my sleep' is an independent clause is because it can stand on it's own, once it's hooked up to a dependent clause we're good to go. Alright 'laughter, I often think'; now this is kind of an odd structure but it get's used sometimes. We've got the subject and we've got a verb 'thinking' here but this word at the beginning, 'laughter' posses of just a little bit. So we've got, 'I often think', laughter is an object over here and it requires us to finish the thought. So what about laughter do you often think? So, laughter I often think is the best medicine and that completes the thought there. So we turned a dependent clause into an independent clause by completing the object and the finally, 'and I left'. Now your inclination might be to say dependent clause because I've had teachers who told me I can never start a sentence with the word 'and' or 'but' or 'so' and the truth is, that's not true. 'And' is a coordinating conjunction one of the fanboy's and anytime you start a sentence with it, as long as you have a subject and a verb following it, you're good to go. So this is an independent clause, as it stands.
So hopefully now you've kind of the tools to be able identify independent from dependent clauses and this will help you with your sentence structure, subject-verb agreement and all sorts of things.