A Review of Clauses

In review, an independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb, and expresses a complete thought, which enables it to stand alone as a sentence; whereas, a dependent clause is a group of words that, though it contains a subject and a verb, does not express a complete thought because it begins with a subordinating conjunction.

Here are the types of sentences that can be constructed from independent and dependent clauses.

  • A simple sentence contains one independent clause.
    • She threw the ball.
  • A compound sentence contains at least two independent clauses.
    • She threw the ball, and he caught it.
  • A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
    • When she threw the ball to him, he dropped it.
    • When she threw the ball, he dropped it because he lost it in the sun.
  • A compound-complex sentence contains at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
    • He wanted to ask her to go to the dance when he saw her yesterday, but he was too nervous.
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