English Language
Independent Clause

Independent Clause

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The Fundamentals of Independent Clauses in English

In the English language, clauses are fundamental elements that make up sentences. In this article, our focus will be on independent clauses, which are the building blocks of complete sentences. We will define independent clauses, explain how they are formed and joined, provide examples, and compare them to dependent clauses.

Definition of Independent Clauses

An independent clause, also known as the main clause, expresses the main idea of a sentence, whether it be an action, thought, idea, or state. It is called "independent" because it can function on its own without relying on any other parts of the sentence. In fact, an independent clause can even stand alone as a sentence.

Forming an Independent Clause

An independent clause must have a subject, which is the focus of the sentence (a person, place, thing, etc.), and a predicate, which contains a verb or information about the subject.

Example: She (subject) + ate an apple (predicate).

While most independent clauses have a subject and a verb, they can also include an object and/or a modifier, but these are optional. For instance, "She ate an apple" is a complete independent clause and sentence on its own.

Examples of Independent Clauses

Here are a few examples of independent clauses:

  • The bird sang a beautiful melody
  • He laughed uncontrollably
  • Lisa, Tom, and Sarah went on a hike

These independent clauses vary in length, but each one has a subject and a predicate, and some have multiple subjects.

Joining Independent Clauses

While independent clauses can stand alone as sentences, it may be necessary to combine them to create longer and more complex sentences. When two independent clauses are joined, they form compound sentences.

This can be achieved in two ways: using a conjunction and/or punctuation. Independent clauses can be joined with a semicolon (;) or a comma (,) and a coordinating conjunction (e.g. for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

The Importance of Independent Clauses

Independent clauses are essential in sentence construction, as all sentences are composed of at least one independent clause. There are four types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex, and each one includes at least one independent clause. Some types of sentences may even contain multiple independent clauses.

We use independent clauses to convey a complete idea, which is necessary to form a sentence. For example, sentences like "But Emma doesn't" and "Although I use plain flour" are incomplete ideas (dependent clauses) until an independent clause is added to complete them.

The Role of Independent Clauses in Different Types of Sentences

Independent clauses play a vital role in forming different types of sentences. Let's take a closer look at how they are used in each of the four sentence types:

  • Simple sentences consist of one independent clause.
  • Compound sentences are formed by connecting two or more independent clauses with conjunctions and punctuation.
  • Complex sentences contain an independent clause and a dependent clause linked together. The independent clause conveys the main idea, while the dependent clause offers additional information.
  • Compound-complex sentences have multiple independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

What You Need to Remember

Independent clauses form the foundation of all sentences. They express a complete idea and can function as sentences on their own. They are formed with a subject and predicate and may optionally include an object and modifier. Independent clauses can be linked together with conjunctions and punctuation to create compound sentences. They play a crucial role in constructing various types of sentences in the English language.

What is an Example of an Independent Clause?

An example of an independent clause is "Samantha rode her bike." It is an independent clause because it has a subject and a predicate, making it a complete and independent idea that can stand alone as a sentence.

How are Two Independent Clauses Joined?

Independent clauses can be combined by using punctuation marks or conjunctions. They are typically joined with a comma and conjunction word or a semicolon.

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