GRAMMAR - Independent and dependent clauses

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GRAMMAR - Independent and dependent clauses

Post  TEFL Teacher on Thu May 03, 2012 11:38 am

GRAMMAR - Independent and dependent clauses:

Independent and dependent clauses are the building blocks of sentences. A single independent clause can be a sentence, by itself. However, dependent clauses are used to make sentences more complete and more interesting. Using conjunctions and proper punctuation, dependent and independent clauses can be joined together to create interesting and complex compound sentences that are fun and engaging to read.

What is an Independent Clause?
In independent clause is a clause that can stand on its own, by itself. It does not need to be joined to any other clauses, because it contains all the information necessary to be a complete sentences.

Independent clauses have three components:

They have a subject- they tell the reader what the sentence is about
They have an action or predicate- they tell the reader what the subject is doing
They express a complete thought- something happened or was said.

An independent clause can be as simple as a subject and a verb:
Ex: "Jim reads."

"Jim" is the subject. "reads" is the action or verb. A complete thought was expressed- something was said, and the reader now knows that Jim likes to read.

Independent clauses can also become more complex if we add subjects, objects, prepositions, and modifying phrases:
Ex: "Jim, who likes to read, read a book."
"Jim" is the subject. "Who likes to read" is a prepositional phrase that modifies "Jim". "Read" is the action. "A book" is the object

Independent clauses can also be joined to other independent clauses, if the independent clauses are related. However, they MUST be joined using the proper punctuation.

"Jim read a book; he really enjoyed the book."
The first clause is an independent clause- "Jim" is the subject, "read" is the action, "book" is the object.
The second clause is an independent clause- "He" is the subject, "enjoyed" is the action and "the book" is the object.
The independent clauses are related, so they can be joined to create a complex sentence. They are correctly joined by a semicolon.
Ex: "Jim read a book, he really enjoyed the book."
Again, we have two independent clauses, but the independent clauses are not joined properly. When two independent clauses are joined only be a comma, it is a grammatical error called a comma splice.

Independent clauses can be quite complex, but the important thing to remember is that they stand on their own and make sense alone.

What is a Dependent Clause?

A dependent clause is a clause that is lacking either a subject or an action, or does not express a complete thought

A clause can be dependent because of the presence of a:

- Marker Word (Before, after, because, since, in order to, although, though, whenever, wherever, whether, while, even though, even if)
- Conjunction (And, or, nor, but, yet)

Dependent clauses MUST be joined to another clause, in order to avoid creating a sentence fragment.
Ex: "Because I forgot my homework."

This is a sentence fragment. We have a "because" but not a "why"or anything accompanying and following what happened "because" they forgot.

"Because I forgot my homework, I got sent home."
Here, the error is corrected. "I got sent home" is an independent clause. "I" is the subject, "got" is the verb, "sent home" is the object. A complete thought is expressed.
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