Difference Between Independent and Dependent Clause

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Independent and Dependent Clause

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A sentence is described in the dictionary as "a unit of language that represents a complete thought." A phrase is, to put it simply, a sequence of words that together fully express an idea. The syntax, or structure, of sentences, differs from writer to writer; some prefer the active voice, while others prefer the passive voice. Instead of writing "Our DPP is indefatigable," another person is likely to write "Indefatigable is our DPP" or "Indefatigable is what our DPP is." The message is the same in both scenarios. Clause act as the fundamental building blocks of sentences, much to how bricks or other building materials are used to construct structures. There are always a subject and a predicate in a clause (something that shows what a subject is doing, thus, must contain a verb).

Only by having a better understanding of the syntax and rules of a language can language be studied to its fullest potential. Many different rules, tenets, and theories make are many different rules, tenets, and theories that make up the English language, along with several important terminology and definitions. One of the most essential parts of this language is the clauses. However, it also includes provisions in other languages in addition to English. The two basic types of clauses that differ significantly from one another are independent and dependent clauses. To properly comprehend the two, it is essential to make a distinction between the two. English grammar and sentence construction depend heavily on knowing and understanding the distinctions between independent and dependent clauses. You may occasionally need to blend dependent and independent clauses to create grammatically sound phrases for essays or academic assignments to prevent choppy ideas. When writing concisely, you may need to separate sentences with commas or semicolons.

The fundamental units of sentences are independent and dependent clauses. A single independent clause can stand alone as a sentence and communicate a complete thought. Although they don't represent a complete notion, dependent clauses provide additional details to a phrase. Independent and dependent clauses can be combined with conjunctions and appropriate punctuation to form compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences that are enjoyable to read. A basic sentence in English consists of a subject and a predicate. To put it another way, one may say that a sentence is made up of clauses. You will learn about clauses in this article, including what they are, what they mean, how to use them in sentences, and the different sorts of clauses. To get a lot better notion of the same, you may also look at the provided examples.

A clause is made up of many words called a clause. It contains both a subject and a predicate. An additional claim is that a clause must have both a subject and a verb. Examine the definitions of clauses offered by several dictionaries to learn what a clause is. A clause is described as "a set of words that comprises a subject and a verb and forms a sentence or portion of a sentence" in the Oxford Learner's Dictionary. A sentence is described as "a set of words, consisting of a subject and a finite form of a verb" by the Cambridge Dictionary. A clause, as defined by the Collins Dictionary, is a collection of words that includes a verb. A clause is described as "a set of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a part of a complicated or compound sentence" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Different Clauses

Two sorts of clauses can be distinguished based on how they function within a sentence. As follows:

Main Clause or Independent Clause

The major clause, also known as an independent clause, is a set of words that includes both a subject and a verb. It is entirely logical and stand-alone. It is called an independent clause for this reason.

Dependent or Subordinate Clause

The words that make up a subordinate clause are a subject, a verb, and subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. Contrary to main clauses, subordinate clauses are unable to stand on their own or express the whole meaning of the sentence they are a part of. Based on their purpose, dependent clauses can be categorized into several sorts. Noun clauses, adjective clauses, adverb clauses, conditional clauses, relative clauses, comparative clauses, verbless clauses, and complementary clauses are examples of dependent clauses.

Dependent vs. Independent Clauses

A group of words known as a clause is composed of a subject and a predicate. Clauses make up every phrase. Some clauses can fully convey an idea, whereas others cannot. Clauses are divided into dependent and independent clauses based on their capacity to express entire thoughts. Dependent clauses and independent clauses vary primarily in that independent clauses can represent a complete notion whereas dependent clauses cannot.

The fundamental distinction between an independent clause and a dependent Clause may be seen in how stable each of them is by themselves. Unlike the latter, which needs another clause to be employed in a sentence, the former can be used in a sentence all by itself with no additional structure.

Difference Between Dependent and Independent Clauses in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison    Independent clause    Dependent Clause
Definition A clause that can be used in a sentence on its own without needing any other clauses to support it. A clause that is dependent on another clause and cannot be used alone.
State The full intent or concept behind anything.  It just expresses a portion of an idea, not the entire notion.
Located in Almost all sentences, whether they be short, long, or a combination of the three. In the majority of sentences, this clause goes unnoticed.
Combined clauses The conjunctions And, but, neither, nor, or, etc. are used to connect one independent clause to another independent or dependent clause. If, because, then, and other conjunctions are used to connect this phrase to other independent or dependent clauses.
Nature Given that it is self-sufficient, this clause is powerful. This clause needs another phrase to express the entire notion, making it relatively weak.

What is Independent Clause?

An independent clause is a full concept that has a subject, a verb, and conveys the entire idea. Since they don't depend on other clauses to function, independent clauses can stand alone in sentences. For instance, "I decided to go for a morning jog along the shore." Search for independent marker words at the beginning of sentences, such as "therefore," "however," and "consequently," to identify independent clauses.

Independent sentences are a collection of words with a subject, predicate, and verb that completely express a thought. An independent sentence is capable of standing alone since it can convey a complete thought. Every sentence contains at least one distinct clause. When separating two separate clauses in a sentence subject, use coordinating conjunction or a semicolon. Independent clauses on one side don't need any further clauses to be complete. They fully explain the meaning and provide all the necessary information. For instance, "I awoke this morning early." Without further explanation, the information provided is sufficient to make the complete point. An Independent Clause is, by definition, a short phrase that expresses the complete meaning of the underlying idea. It can be considered a sentence in the literal sense because it has a verb and a subject. Nothing is lacking, and no further clause or sentence is needed to support it.

For instance,

  • When it's raining, I prefer to have a latte. (Separate clause)
  • Outside, it is pouring. (Separate clause)

These two statements are separate clauses when taken literally. Both of these can express exactly what they mean to say without more explanation. However, some conjunctions can be used to link these together. For instance, "I prefer to sip a latte when it rains and it is raining outside." Additionally, a dependent clause is connected to an independent clause in the following examples:

  • He spoke (Dependent clause)
  • She asserted (Dependent clause)

These dependent clauses, however, cannot be employed on their own since they raise issues like, "What did he say?" and "What did she claim?" Such questions have independent clauses as their solutions. For instance,

  • It is raining outside (independent clause) what + he said (dependent clause) = what he said is raining outside.

By definition, an independent clause is a sentence fragment that includes at least one subject and one predicate. In essence, it is a clause that may stand alone and communicate a complete notion. Therefore, primary clauses or principal clauses are other names for separate clauses.

In a nutshell, an independent clause is a group of words that includes both a subject and a predicate and is sufficient to function as a sentence on its own. This means they are capable of fully expressing a notion on their own, without the aid of any subordinate clauses. However, it has the power to combine with other dependent clauses and provide extra information to the phrase to make it more complicated and meaningful.

What is Dependent Clause?

Dependent clauses are word clusters that do not constitute whole thoughts but include a verb and a subject. Dependent clauses are not sentences on their own because they are not complete thoughts. To create sentences, they must affix themselves to separate clauses. A clause that is inserted within a complex sentence is known by various names, including subordinate clause, dependent clause, subclause, and embedded clause. For instance, the word "that Bette is a dolphin" does not appear as a freestanding sentence in the English statement "I know that Bette is a dolphin." Rather, it is the complement of the verb "know." Content clauses, relative clauses, and adverbial clauses are examples of dependent clause subtypes.

Dependent clauses include, but are not limited to, adverb, adjective, and noun clauses. At any point in a phrase, they can commence with a signal word and appear. Adverbial sentences react to wh-questions such as when something happened, where it happened, why it happened, how it happened, and to what extent it happened. They start with a subordinating conjunction. For instance, "Her cousin earns money cleaning the neighbours’ driveways as soon as winter starts." It answers the question "when" and contains the verb "hits" with the subordinating conjunction as soon as. The verb's subject is winter, but because the clause is incomplete, it cannot be read as a whole sentence. When used to describe a noun, an adjective phrase begins with a relative pronoun, as in the sentence, "Her nephew, who is diligent, shovels neighbours’ driveways to earn money in the winter." The clause begins with a relative pronoun, mentions the nephew, and contains the verb "is" (who).

In a sentence, a noun clause serves as a noun, as in "That seems scrumptious. I would like some of what she is eating." The clause has a subject (she) and a verb (is having) and serves as a noun in the sentence (it might be substituted by a noun or noun phrase, such that cake), but it is insufficient on its own. Relative pronouns and subordinating conjunctions like what, whoever, whether, that, which, how, and why are some signal words for dependent noun clauses.

A dependent clause is a specific group of words that needs the support of an independent clause to completely express its meaning. You will comprehend this better if you consider the examples below:

  • After she has completed her education (Dependent clause)
  • Given how gloomy it was (Dependent clause)

Even though these clauses are a collection of words, it is hard to determine their whole meaning from them. They consequently require an independent clause to sustain them. For example,

  • She departed for London when (independent clause) she finished her studies (dependent clause), which = she left for London after finishing her studies.
  • She was unable to see clearly since it was so dark (independent clause) and because she could not see well in general (dependent clause).

The Difference Between Dependent and Independent Clauses In Points

  • A group of words that may completely convey the meaning of the phrase on their own is referred to as an independent clause. While "dependent clause" refers to a set of words that are insufficient on their own.
  • When compared to a dependent clause, which merely communicates a portion of the overall meaning and calls for further support, an independent clause expresses the full meaning that the author or speaker intended to convey.
  • We notice independent clauses in practically every sentence regularly because they are essential to expressing the entire notion. While not all of the sentences must have a dependent clause.
  • The conjunctions And, but, neither, nor, or, etc. are used to connect one independent clause to another independent or dependent clause. If, because, or then conjunctions are used to link one sentence to another when there is a dependent clause.
  • The Dependent Clause is somewhat weak in comparison to the Independent Clause, which is strong.


Independent and dependent clauses are the diamonds of grammar. Knowing both is essential so that the issue can be met with the most appropriate and adequate response. A Dependent Clause, as the name suggests, is dependent on other clauses to complete its structure, but an Independent Clause does not need anyone's help to finish its creation.



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"Difference Between Independent and Dependent Clause." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 24 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-independent-and-dependent-clause-923>.

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