Independent clauses can stay alone and they are used as a whole meaningful sentence. In this lesson, we will learn about them.
What Are Independent Clauses?
Types of Independent Clauses
Independent clauses can form different types of sentences. Check them on the list:
Simple sentences are made up of only one independent clause. Here is an example:
I am a doctor.
Compound sentences are made up of two independent clauses joined together with a coordinating conjunction. Here is an example:
I am a doctor, but I am not happy about it.
Complex sentences are made up of an independent clause followed by at least one dependent clause. They are joined together with a subordinating conjunction. Here is an example:
I will call you
Complex-compound sentences are made up of at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause. Here is an example:
Sentences Vs. Independent Clauses
Each independent clause is considered a sentence, but all sentences are not independent clauses. An independent clause is made of a subject and verb but a sentence can be made up of more than one clause. Consider the examples:
This is not the problem. → an independent clause which is considered a sentence
Those animals were safe
Independent Clauses Formation
Independent clauses start with a subject followed by a predicate. The subject can be a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun. A predicate consists of a verb and it states something about the subject. Check out the examples:
In this example, 'she' is the subject and 'made a cup of coffee' is the predicate.
How to Connect Two Independent Clauses?
There are different ways to connect two independent clauses. Here are the methods on the list:
- using coordinating conjunctions
- using semicolon
- using a comma and a semicolon with conjunctive adverbs
Using Coordinating Conjunctions
There are seven coordinating conjunctions that are used to connect two independent clauses. check them out on the list:
When we are using coordinating conjunctions to connect two independent clauses, we have to use a comma before them. Consider the examples:
I was waiting for her,
You have made up your mind,
Remember, coordinating conjunctions can be subordinating conjunctions at the same time. Among these seven coordinating conjunctions 'so' is used as both coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. For example:
She was angry,
I am studying really hard
Semicolons (;) are used to separate two independent clauses. By using semicolons, there is no need to use a coordinating conjunction. Here are the examples:
I was not ready to go abroad; I decided to go anyway.
I found her; she was playing with the kids in the garden.
Using a Comma and a Semicolon with Conjunctive Adverbs
You can use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb followed by a comma to link two independent clauses to each other. Here are the most common conjunctive adverbs:
- accordingly, also, besides, consequently
- furthermore, however, moreover, nevertheless
- otherwise, then, therefore, thus, still
Check out the examples for more clarification:
I was tired;
I called John;
What Is a Comma Splice?
A comma splice is when you link two independent clauses with each other using only one comma which is grammatically wrong. To avoid this problem add coordinating conjunction after the comma. Check out the examples:
✗She was cute, she behaved nicely as well.
✓She was cute,
Independent clauses can stand alone as a meaningful sentence. Here are the parts of an independent clause: