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Independent Clause


Clause:
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

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Independent Clause

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An Independent or Main Clause is the one which makes complete sense on its own and can stand alone i.e. it is a complete sentence. It does not need to be combined with any other clause or phrase. It consists of a subject and a verb to make complete meaning. An Independent Clause can be:

a) A Simple Sentence: A sentence formed by a single clause with a subject and a verb.

    Example:
  • Bella sings.
  • Melanie plays badminton every day.
In the first sentence Bella being the subject and sings being the verb expresses a complete thought in itself. Similarly in the second sentence, “Melanie” is the subject and “plays” is the verb.

b) Joined to another Independent Clause with the help of a Conjunction:  A sentence formed by two Independent Clauses which are joined with the help of a suitable conjunction is known as a Compound Sentence. In other words two simple sentences are joined with the help of a conjunction, each of which makes complete sense and can stand on its own. Here the first Independent Clause is followed by a comma before the conjunction.

Example:
  • I tried to learn French, and my brother tried to learn Spanish.
  • Alex was watching TV, so I went to play.
In the above sentences two Independent Clauses are joined with the help of the conjunction “and”. In the first sentence “I tried to learn French” is the first Independent Clause and “My brother tried to learn Spanish” is the other one. Both of them have their own subjects and verbs. “I” being the subject and “tried” being the verb in the first one; “brother” being the subject and “tried” being the verb in the second one. Similarly, the second sentence also consists of two Independent Clauses which have their respective subjects and verbs (have been underlined and italicized in the sentence) joined with the help of the conjunction “so”.

c) Joined to another Independent Clause with the help of a semicolon: Two simple sentences or two Independent Clauses can be joined together with the help of a semicolon in a way that both the clauses make complete sense when stand alone.

Example:
  • Julia cooked; Walt watched TV.
  • Lauren left; Skyler washed her car.
In both the above examples, two Independent Clauses are joined with the help of a semicolon. In the first sentence the first Independent Clause “Julia cooked” is joined with the help of a semicolon to another Independent Clause “Walt watched TV”. In the same way, in the second one “Lauren left” is joined to “Skyler brushed her hair” with the help of a semicolon.

d) Joined to another Independent Clause with the help of an Independent Marker Word: 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:
  • Evelyn 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.
e) A Complex Sentence: A sentence formed by joining an Independent Clause with one or more Dependent clauses (one which cannot make a complete meaning on its own and cannot stand alone and need the help of an Independent Clause to form a sentence) with the help of Dependent Marker word is called 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 Samantha went to the market, it was raining.
  • After Harper told Emily to leave, she washed her car.
  • Allison and Claire are playing because they have a match tomorrow.
  • They went to play after they finished their homework.

Practice Time: 

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

1. Before Walt bought his new book, he remembered that his friend might give him her old one.
a) The Independent Clause is "Before Walt bought his new book."
b) The Independent Clause is “he remembered”.
c) There are two Independent Clauses here.

2. Leah's stomach began to hurt, so her mother took her to a doctor.
a) The underlined part is the only Independent Clause here.
b) The real Independent Clause is the part of the sentence before comma.
c) This sentence contains two Independent Clauses.

3. Walking in her heel shoes, Keisha began to feel, like a celebrity.
a) The underlined part is the Independent Clause.
b) There is no Independent Clause.
c) The Independent Clause begins with "Keisha."

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

5. The Manchester United have begun their journey back to the championship league, working whole heartedly and have attracted new fans too.
a) The sentence is one long Independent Clause.
b) The sentence contains two Independent Clauses.
c) Only the underlined part is the Independent Clause.

6. Jack wanted to spend the night partying, but his girlfriend had different ideas.
a) The sentence contains two Independent Clauses.
b) Only the underlined part of the sentence is an Independent 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 Independent Clause is " The gathering began to hoot and cheer"
c) The underlined part is the Independent Clause.

8. Carter made his way up to the higher management but kept on planning for a better job and company.
a) The underlined part of the sentence is the Independent Clause.
b) The sentence is one Independent Clause.
c) The sentence contains two Independent Clauses.

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

10. Raphael agreed on the contract but never purchased the hard disks.
a) This sentence contains two Independent Clauses.
b) The underlined part is the complete Independent Clause.
c) The sentence is one Independent Clause.

Exercise # 2:  Please check the part which has been underlined in the below sentences and state YES if it is an Independent 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.
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