Dependent and independent clause

Having a sound knowledge of independent and dependent clause is crucial for constructing a complete sentence without a fragment. Before understanding dependent and independent clauses let’s have clear idea about the clause first.

What is clause?
A clause is a group of related words that consists both subject and verb. So if you find a group of related words without subject attached to verb then, be assured that is a phrase not a clause.

Dependent clause: Use your intuition to indentify dependent clause. It is a group of related words which cannot stand on its own because it does not give a complete thought even if it contains both subject and verb. Dependent clause requires an independent clause to give a complete thought.

Examples:

  1. Although it was cold (What happened?)
  2. When she arrived at the hospital (What occurred?)
  3. If you don’t study hard (What will happen?)

Dependent clauses can easily be identified by dependent markers / subordinating conjunctions.  Some dependent markers are: because, before, even though, if, once, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, whereas, while, although.  If any sentence begins with these words it is dependent clause and it needs independent clause to give a complete thought.

Independent clause: A group of related words which can stand on their own as a sentence is known as independent clause. It contains both subject and verb and also expresses a complete thought.

Examples:

  1. John slept.
  2. There are four test formats in IELTS.
  3. There are four test formats in IELTS listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Notice there are simply two words in first example but it is a complete sentence as it contains both subject and predicate to give a complete thought.

Remember:
Independent clauses can stand on its own but adding dependent clause in it help to create complex sentence. Furthermore, one or more independent clauses can be added to make compound sentences.