What is Independent Clause

What is Independent Clause

It is important to understand the meaning of the term clause before moving on to discuss independent clauses.  A clause is a group of words that consist of a subject and a predicate. It is a unit of grammatical organization that is ranked below a sentence. There are two types of clauses: dependent clauses and independent clauses. Although both types of clauses contain a subject and a verb, dependent clauses cannot convey a complete meaning whereas independent clauses can give a complete meaning and can stand alone as a sentence. Therefore, an independent clause can be defined as a group of words that contain both subject and predicate and expresses a complete thought.

Every sentence contains, at least, one independent clause. Without an independent clause, a group of words cannot express a complete thought. When there are no dependent clauses with the independent clause, the independent clause is just a simple sentence.

She lives in Melbourne. – This is an independent clause and a simple sentence.

She lives in Melbourne even though her husband lives in Sydney. – This is an independent clause combined with a dependent clause.

Examples of Independent Clause

Given below are some examples of independent clauses. You can note that some independent clauses function as sentences.

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land.

I didn’t go to school today because I wasn’t feeling well.

The new restaurant serves delicious Italian dishes.

Even though the beach is fun, she hates the beach.

Although the police officers warned him of the danger, he went inside the house.

You can’t enter the club unless you show proof of your identity.

You were a little boy when I last saw you.

He prepared the dinner early since he wanted to have an early night.

I can hardly wait to see the new dinosaur movie.

The teacher always comes to the class fully prepared.

In the above sentences, you might have noticed that an independent clause can be turned into a dependent clause when a subordinating conjunction or a dependent marker (because, although, since, when, after, whereas, etc.) is added to the beginning of the clause. For example,

The police warned him. → Although the police warned him,

He wanted to eat ice-cream. → Because he wanted to eat ice-cream

What is Independent Clause

Although I like the color of this flower, I don’t like its smell.

Combining Independent Clauses

There are several methods of including two independent clauses in the same sentence. Let us take the following two independent clauses as an example.

He likes this book.

He finds it very interesting.

You can use a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so) to combine these two clauses. In fact, the main function of a coordinating conjunction is to combine two independent clauses.

He likes this book, and he finds it very interesting.

Or you can use a semicolon to combine these two clauses.

He likes this book; he finds it very interesting.

It is important to notice that you can’t use a comma to combine two independent clauses together. This is called a comma splice, and you can avoid this use by changing the comma to a semi-colon.

Independent Clause – Summary

  • Independent Clause contains a subject and predicate and expresses a complete thought.
  • Every sentence contains, at least, one independent clause.
  • Two independent clauses can be combined with the use of a semicolon or a coordinating conjunction.

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