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Clause Types

Independent & Dependent and

Lets start with a simple sentence


I bought a book.
This sentence has the three basic elements required of either a simple sentence or a clause:

Subject = I Verb = bought Object = a book

Now, lets add another clause


While my mother drank her coffee, I bought a book.

Now we have a two clause sentence, but these clauses are not the same. The original clause I bought a book can stand on its own as a simple sentence. It expresses a complete thought by itself. Therefore, it is called an independent clause.

Independent Clause (IC)


An independent clause is a S + V / O bject or C omplement or A dverbial unit that expresses a complete thought and could stand on its own as a simple sentence. Whether you find an independent clause by itself as a simple sentence or joined with other clauses, you will be able to identify it because it:

is a S+V/ unit that expresses a complete thought

But what about the other clause?


While my mother drank her coffee, I bought a book.
If we only consider the first clause,

mother drank her coffee, we are left with a


question in our minds, What happened while your mother drank her coffee?! This clause can not stand on its own as a simple sentence. It requires another clause to a complete its meaning. Therefore, it is called an dependent clause.

while my

Dependent Clause (DC)


A dependent clause is a S + V / O bject or C omplement or A dverbial

unit that does not express a complete thought and can not stand on its own as a simple sentence. A dependent clause must always be connected to an independent clause. You will be able to identify it because it: is a S+V/ unit that does not express a complete thought on its own

Dependent Clauses
There are

3 different types of dependent clauses.

Noun Clause (NC) Adjective Clause (AdjC) Adverb Clause (AdvC)

Noun Clause (NC)

[S+V/] that acts like a noun


Example: I think [you are sick].
S V O
Objects are nouns; this entire clause acts like a singular noun, so it is a noun clause.

NCs usually follow verbs as objects or complements Answers the question What? Example: Q: What do you think? A: I think Spiderman is the best superhero.

Noun Clause (NC) -- continued


NCs can begin with that that is a subordinating conjunction that joins it to an IC makes the clause it begins depend on the IC to complete its meaning. that is often omitted by native speakers: Example:

I I think Spiderman is the the best superhero. think that Spiderman is best superhero.

Adjective Clause (AdjC)

[S+V/] that acts like an adjective


Example: The story [that I am reading] is sad. [that am reading]

S
relative pronoun

This entire clause acts like an adjective, so it is an adjective clause.

AdjCs follow nouns Often start with relative pronouns but the relative pronoun can be omitted if the clause has another noun to serve as the subject

EX: The story [I am reading]is sad.

Adverb Clause (AdvC)

[S+V/] that acts like an adverb Example: [After we drove to the mall] , we looked
for a bookstore.
This clause gives information about how or why the action happened, so it acts like an adverb.

AdvCs always begin with a subordinating conjunction after although if as since because unless before until

even though when