- An independent clause is a group of words that can stand alone as a sentence (i.e., it expresses a complete thought). An independent clause, like all clauses, has a subject and verb. When there are no dependent clauses in the same sentence an independent clause, the independent clause is a simple sentence (a sentence lacking multiple clauses). An independent clause can also stand on its own as a sentence.
Ex: "Santa makes his Christmas deliveries in a single night."
- A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence, and it cannot stand on its own. Often, a dependent clause is marked by a dependent marker word (mentioned further).
Ex: "Although Santa climbed down the chimney [...]"
Dependent Marker Words
- A dependent marker word is defined as a word added to the beginning of an independent clause; making it a dependent clause.
- Common dependent marker words: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order to, since, though, unless, until, whatever, when, whenever, whether.
Ex: "Because Santa ate too many cookies, he could not fit down the chimney."
Pertaining to the example above, the first part of the sentence is a dependent clause ("Because Santa ate too many cookies[...]"), as it begins with a dependent marker word (because).
Independent Marker Words
- An independent marker word can be defined as a connecting word used at the beginning of an independent clause. These words may always begin a sentence that can stand alone.
- Common independent marker words: also, consequently, furthermore, however, moreover, nevertheless, therefore.
Ex: "Santa could not fit through the chimney, however, he could enter through a window."
In the example above, the second part of the sentence ("[...] however, he could enter through a window.") is an independent clause, as it begins with an independent marker word (however).
Coordinating Conjunction Words
- Coordination conjunction words are most often utilized to connect an independent and dependent clause together. However, an independent marker word, as well as a semi-colon, can be used additionally.
- There are seven coordinating conjunction words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (FANBOYS).
Ex: "Santa Claus collected his presents, and took off in his sleigh."
The sentence above contains two clauses: an independent clause ("Santa Claus collected his presents [...]"), and a dependent clause ("[...] took off in his sleigh."). The word connecting these two clauses is a coordinating conjunction (and).