To get the best deal on Tutoring, call 1-855-666-7440 (Toll Free)
Top

Dependent Clause

Clause:

What is a Clause? Let us begin with understanding the term , a Clause is nothing but a group of words which at times might form part of a sentence or might be a complete sentence in itself. It consists of a subject and a verb and is considered to be the smallest grammatical unit which makes sense. They can be mainly classified under two heads based on their meaning:

  1. Independent or Main Clause
  2. Dependent or Subordinate Clause

Related Calculators
Dependent T Test Calculator
 

Dependent Clause

Back to Top
A Dependent or Subordinate Clause is a group of words which contains subject and verb but still cannot stand on its own as a sentence since it does not express a complete thought. Along with the subject and verb, a Dependent Clause also has Subordinating Conjunctions or Marker Words at its beginning which means that the clause is not capable of standing on its own and does not express complete meaning. It requires some additional information to complete or finish the thought. Now, since it is not capable of standing on its own, it depends on an Independent Clause (one which expresses complete meaning and can stand on its own) to form a sentence and thus are mainly found in Complex Sentences. They cannot form a Simple or Compound Sentences as they cannot express the complete meaning on their own.

Example:
  • Since I woke up late today….
  • When I reached the office….
  • If he does not apologize to me…

All the above examples, express an incomplete meaning. The first one says “Since I woke up late ….” What happened after that? As it does not answer our question and does not give complete information it is an incomplete sentence. In order to complete it we need to add an Independent Clause. So, we can complete the sentence by saying “Since I woke up late, I missed the first lecture at college today.” As soon as we inserted an Independent Clause here it made complete sense and also completed the sentence. In a similar manner, we can make meaningful sentences with the help of the other two Dependent Clauses. So in other words we can say that a Dependent Clause can be a part of a sentence but cannot form a sentence on its own.

A Dependent Clause mainly consists of Subordinating Conjunctions or Marker Words. They can be of two types:

a) Independent Marker Words: An Independent Marker Word is used as a connecting word at the beginning of an Independent Clause. The sentences which begin with an Independent Marker word can express complete meaning. If the second Independent Clause has an Independent marker word, a semicolon is added before it. Some of the common Independent Marker Words are consequently, however, also, moreover, nevertheless, furthermore and therefore.

Example:
  • Rihanna went to the market for shopping; however, she had to come back as it was raining.
  • It was raining cats and dogs yesterday; therefore, she could not go to play.
b) Dependent Marker Words: A sentence formed by joining an Independent Clause with one or more Dependent clauses with the help of Dependent Marker word is known as a Complex Sentence. A Dependent Marker word is a word which is added before the Independent Clause to turn it into a Dependent Clause. It is always placed at the beginning. Some of the common Dependent Marker Words are after, although, because, while, in order to, if, since, unless, until, when, as if, before, as, even if, though, even though, whatever, whether and whenever. In this case, if the dependent marker word is added to the first clause, then it is always followed by a comma but if the dependent marker word is added in between both the clauses then no comma is required.

Example:
  • When Janet went to the market, it was raining.
  • After Annabelle told Sharon to leave, she washed her car.
  • Maria and Stella are playing because they have a match tomorrow.
  • They went to play after they finished their homework.

Types of Dependent Clauses

Back to Top
A Dependent Clause is divided into three categories based upon their function in a sentence:

a) Noun Clause: A Dependent Clause acting as a noun in a sentence is known as a Noun Clause. It can name a person, place, idea or thing. It can function like a subject, direct object, indirect object, preposition or an appositive. Words that can introduce Noun Clause can be who, why, whom, what, that, whether, how, when, whoever, where, and whomever. Note that some of these words also introduce adjective and adverbial clauses, so a clause works as a Noun Clause only if we can substitute a pronoun (he, she, it, they) in its place. 

Example:
  • She knows who said that? (Here “Who” can be easily substituted with any of the pronoun)
  • I know she did it.

b) Adjective Clause:  A Dependent Clause acting as an adjective is known as an Adjective Clause. Also known as Relative Clause functions similar to an adjective i.e. it also modifies a noun or pronoun. It will satisfy the below conditions, i.e.
  1. It acts as an adjective and thus answers the questions like which, what, whom, who, etc.
  2. It generally begins with a relative pronoun (that, who, which, whose, whom) or a relative adverb (when, why, where). 
Example:
  • My sister, who is a doctor, sponsored my education.
  • This is the book that I was reading.
c) Adverbial Clause: A Dependent Clause acting as an adverb is known as an Adverb Clause. Similar to an adverb it modifies a verb. It satisfies the below conditions:
  1. It begins with a subordinating conjunction (although, after, as if, if, even though, as soon as, while whatever, since, whether, until, unless, as far as, in order to, etc.)
  2. It gives information about what exactly is going on in the independent or main clause, It answers the questions like why, how, where, when, to what extent. 
Example:
  • I went to visit the fort when I was in India.
  • I have to rush because I can’t wait any longer.

Practice Time: 

Exercise # 1:  Select the correct option from the ones given below and answer each question. 

1.  Before Walt bought his new book, he remembered that his friend might give him her old one.
a) The Dependent Clause is "Before Walt bought his new book."
b) The Dependent Clause is “that his friend might give him her old one”.
c) There is no Dependent Clause here.

2.  Leah's stomach began to hurt, so her mother took her to a doctor.
a) The underlined part is the Dependent Clause.
b) The Dependent Clause is the part of the sentence before comma.
c) There is no Dependent Clause here.

3.  My teacher knows that I will pass the exam.
a) This sentence contains an Adjective Clause.
b) This sentence contains an Adverb Clause.
c) This sentence contains a Noun Clause

4.  Although Kennedy had taken several courses in hardware, he couldn't solve the problems with his desktop.
a) The underlined part is the Dependent Clause.
b) The Dependent Clause begins with the word " Kennedy."
c) The Dependent Clause is the part which is not underlined.

5.  You are capable of achieving everything provided that you work hard for it.
a) This sentence contains an Adjective Clause.
b) This sentence contains an Adverb Clause.
c) This sentence contains a Noun Clause.

6.  Jack wanted to spend the night partying, but his girlfriend had different ideas.
a) The sentence contains no Dependent Clause.
b) The underlined part of the sentence is a Dependent Clause.
c) The sentence is one long Independent Clause (with a compound verb).

7. The gathering began to hoot and cheer as the band entered the stadium.
a) The sentence contains two Independent Clauses.
b) The Dependent Clause is " The gathering began to hoot and cheer"
c) The underlined part is the Dependent Clause.

8. Unless you study hard, you cannot pass.
a) This sentence contains an Adjective Clause.
b) This sentence contains an Adverb Clause.
c) This sentence contains a Noun Clause.

9.  Mr. Taylor began to jump in the room when his mother gave him the spicy salad.
a) The Dependent Clause is the part of the sentence not underlined.
b) The Dependent Clause is the part of the sentence that is underlined.
c) The sentence contains two Independent Clauses.

10. I met the girl who had danced with me.
a) This sentence contains an Adjective Clause.
b) This sentence contains an Adverb Clause.
c) This sentence contains a Noun Clause.

Exercise # 2: Please check the part which has been underlined in the below sentences and state YES if it is a Dependent Clause and NO if not.
  1. Suzanne was worried that she has gained a lot of weight.
  2. Before I begin studying for the test, I would probably want to take some rest.
  3. I can’t go to the party since I am out of cash.
  4. Whether he goes to the concert or not, I will surely attend it.
  5. I will give you a chocolate tomorrow if you go to sleep now.
  6. I took an umbrella while going out because it seemed to rain.
  7. I refuse to talk to him, until he apologizes.
  8. I went to the museum last week.
  9. Chloe has decided to visit a doctor because he is worried about his health.
  10. I enjoy music concerts.
*AP and SAT are registered trademarks of the College Board.