To construct your sentences accurately you must know about the Independent and Dependent Clauses / Main and Subordinate Clauses. If you know about the independent and dependent clauses you can create interesting and complex compound sentence. Before understanding the different types of clauses click here to know the difference between sentence, clause and phrase.
Independent and Dependent Clauses / Main and Subordinate Clauses
There are two major types of clauses Independent and Dependent Clauses / Main and Subordinate Clauses clause.
Main or Independent Clause
Main (or independent) clause is a group of words that expresses a complete thought and can stand as a sentence. Independent clauses have a subject and an action or predicate that contains all the information necessary to be a complete sentence.
- She cried.
(Notice that this sentence only contains two words, it is still a complete sentence because it contains a one word subject and a one word predicate that is also a complete thought.)
- I will play in the final if they invite me.
- When we get there, I would like to meet my friends.
- Though it will rain tomorrow, we still like to go for picnic.
Subordinate or dependent Clause
Subordinate (or dependent) clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence. Often a dependent clause depends of another clause (main clause) to express a complete thought.
- When we get there…
(What will happen when we get there? The thought is incomplete.)
- He likes Chinese rice which tastes good.
- I met the boy who had helped me.
- The teacher asked a question but no one answered.
Dependent Marker Word
Dependent clauses can often be identified by words called dependent markers, which are usually subordinating conjunctions. If a clause begins with one of these words, it is dependent and needs to be attached to an independent clause. Some common dependent markers are: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order to, since, thought, unless, until, whatever, when, who, whenever, whether, and while.
- Since the tire is flat, we had better get it fixed before traveling.
- I would like to leave home early unless the traffic is slow.
Connecting dependent and independent clauses
There are two types of words that can be used to connect dependent clauses with independent or to connect independent clauses with dependent: coordinating conjunctions and independent marker words.
1. Coordinating Conjunction
The seven coordinating conjunctions used as connecting words at the beginning of dependent or independent clause are and, but, for, or, nor, so, and, yet.
2. Independent Marker Word
An independent marker word is a connecting word used at the beginning of an independent clause, and connects the first independent clause with the second.
Some common independent markers are: also, consequently, furthermore, however, moreover, nevertheless, and therefore.
- The teacher asked a question but no one answered. (At the beginning of dependent clause)
- Ali watched the match, and he really enjoyed it. (At the beginning of independent clause)
- He said he had not discussed the matter with her; furthermore, he had not even contacted her. Or
- He said he had not discussed the matter with her. Furthermore, he had not even contacted her.
1. If the dependent clause is used before the independent, a comma is necessary before the independent clause. When the independent clause comes first, we don’t use comma between the dependent and independent.
- Because I was late, the teacher didn’t allow me to sit in the class.
- The teacher didn’t allow me to sit in the class because I was late.
2. When the second independent clause in a sentence begins with a coordinating conjunction, a comma is needed before the coordinating conjunction.
- Ali watched the match, and he really enjoyed it.
3. When the second independent clause in a sentence has an independent marker word, a semicolon is needed before the independent marker word.
- I didn’t like it that much; also it was too expensive. Or
- I didn’t like it that much. Also, it was too expensive.
Note: One or more independent clauses can be added together to form a compound sentence, and independent clauses can be added to dependent clauses to form complex sentences.
What are Compound and Complex Sentences?
1. Compound Sentence
A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses, but does not contain any dependent clauses.
2. Complex Sentence
A complex sentence has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
On the basis of their functions in a sentence depend or subordinate clauses are subdivided into three parts: 1.Noun Clause 2. Adjective Clause 3. Adverb Clause. It can function as a noun, an adjective or an adverb in a sentence.