Hi. In this quick video I will define a clause
and explain the differences between an independent and a dependent clause using several examples.
A clause is a group of related words that consist of both a subject and a verb. The
following sentence is a clause: “The student studied in the Library.”
You can see that the sentence contains a subject (the student) and a verb (studied).
It is important to note that both the subject and the verb is required to form a clause.
If you only have either a subject OR a verb, the group of words may form a phrase, but
not a complete clause. For example, the group of words “studies
Biology” is not a clause, because it does not contain a subject. To be a clause there
needs to be a subject in the sentence, you need to identify who it is that studies Biology.
For example, a complete clause would be “Jane studies Biology”.
Clauses can be independent or dependent. Understanding the difference between independent and dependent
clauses can help you to avoid fragments in your writing, and to vary the lengths of your
sentences. This helps you to improve your writing, and can also make your writing sound
more academic. An independent clause makes sense on its own,
it is a complete thought. In other words, an independent clause is a group of words
that can stand alone as a complete sentence. Here are two examples.
The teacher explained the difference between an electron and a proton; and
the research demonstrates that the new vaccine effectively eliminates viral load
in patients. Each of these sentences form a complete thought
and can stand alone as a sentence. Therefore, each of these sentences represents an independent
clause. A dependent clause is not a complete thought,
and needs more information to be complete. In other words, a dependent clause cannot
stand alone as a complete sentence, it needs to be attached to an independent clause to
be complete. Here are two examples.
While I was studying in the Library… If the teacher does not provide the class
notes on time… In both examples, the sentence is not complete.
You do not know what happened while the person was studying in the library, or what will
happen if the teacher does not provide the notes on time. As such, these clauses are
dependent, as they need more information to be complete.
There are certain clues that can help you identify the dependent clauses in a sentence.
You can look for punctuation clues such as commas or brackets, and you can look for certain
words that are commonly used to mark a dependent clause. Examples of these words include: While,
if, unless, although, because, since, and when. Use of any of these words indicate a dependent clause.