HOT GRAMMAR TIP
Many dependent clauses begin with a subordinate conjunction, so if you recognize the common subordinate conjunctions, you will be able to determine if a clause is dependent or independent.
- What is a clause?
- A clause is a group of words in a sentence that may contain a subject and a verb.
- What is a dependent clause?
- A dependent clause is a group of words that cannot stand by itself; it needs an independent clause to make a sentence.
- What is an independent clause?
- An independent clause is a group of words that can stand by itself to make a complete sentence.
Since I have been in college
Explanation: This is a dependent clause because it cannot stand on its own. It is not a complete sentence.
I have learned so much.
Explanation: This is an independent clause because it can stand on its own. It is a complete sentence because it contains a subject, a verb, and a complete thought.
Putting Clauses Together
When a sentence begins with a dependent clause, it is ALWAYS followed by an independent clause, and there is ALWAYS a comma in between the two clauses.
The reverse is not true: If a sentence begins with an independent clause, it need not be followed by a dependent clause although it may be. If it IS followed by a dependent clause, there is no comma between the two clauses.
Dependent clause + a comma + an independent clause.
- Since you went away, I feel sad.
- Because I am late, I will not bother running an errand.
- If I don't talk to you tonight, I will call you tomorrow.
Independent clause + a dependent clause.
- I feel sad since you went away.
- I will not bother running an errand because I am late.
- I will call you tomorrow if I don't talk to you tonight.