Independent and Subordinate Clauses What They Are and How to Use Them By: Kalli Bradshaw Do you remember the difference between a subject and
a predicate? Identify the subject and predicate in this sentence: Mary decided to go home after school. Mary
Divide the sentence into these parts: Mary / decided to go home after school. Mary is the subject of the sentence because the sentence is describing something Mary did. Decided to go home after school is the predicate because it describes what it is
that Mary did. So If you can find the subject and predicate of a sentence then you should have no trouble picking out the clause of the sentence. A sentence clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate and is used as a part of a
sentence. There are two main types of clauses . No! Not this kind of Claus! .
These types of clauses: Independent and Subordinate An independent clause can stand alone if removed from the sentence. When by itself an independent
clause becomes a simple sentence. Example of two independent clauses: Mary went straight to the bus stop after school, but she forgot to take her homework with her. and Mary went straight to the bus stop after school, but she forgot to take her homework with her.
A subordinate clause does not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone if removed from the sentence. A subordinate clause is always combined in some way with an independent clause. look for key words: when, which, as, while, since, because, who Example: When she finally reached home, Mary remembered that her
homework was in her desk at school. The subordinate clause in red cannot stand by itself without the independent clause after the comma. Can you identify the independent clauses in these sentences? Mary called Bob, and he gave her the next days homework assignment.
Independent Clause #1: Mary called Bob Independent Clause #2: he gave her the next days homework assignment Note how these clauses can be sentences all on their own. Can you identify the independent and subordinate clauses in these sentences? After Mary finished her homework, she ate dinner. Independent Clause: she ate dinner
Subordinate Clause: After Mary finished her homework Another Example: I decided to make hamburgers for dinner, which everyone in the family enjoys. Independent clause? I decided to make hamburgers for dinner Subordinate clause? which everyone in the family enjoys
Once you understand the difference between independent and subordinate clauses, youll be ready to learn about other types of clauses such as: The Adjective Clause The Noun Clause The Adverb Clause
References Griffith, Francis and John E. Warriner. English Grammar and Composition. Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. New York: 1965.
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