Independent Clauses

Independent clauses can stay alone and they are used as a whole meaningful sentence. In this lesson, we will learn about them.

Independent Clauses in English Grammar

What Are Independent Clauses?

Independent clauses consist of a subject and a verbs. They can be considered as stand-alone sentences. Independent clauses are phrases that are used beside each other and imply a meaningful concept.

Types of Independent Clauses

Independent clauses can form different types of sentences. Check them on the list:

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences are made up of only one independent clause. Here is an example:

I am a doctor.

Compound Sentences

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

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 when I get home.

Compound-Complex Sentences

Complex-compound sentences are made up of at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause. Here is an example:

Hanna cried when her friend got sick, but he got better soon.

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 when they were put in the zoo. → a sentence with a dependent and independent clause

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:

She made a cup of coffee.

In this example, 'she' is the subject and 'made a cup of coffee' is the predicate.

Sam stayed at home yesterday.

using an independent clause in a sentence

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:

  1. and
  2. but
  3. for
  4. or
  5. nor
  6. yet
  7. so

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, but she never showed up.

You have made up your mind, so I guess, we are done.


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, so I gave her a present. → coordinating conjunction

I am studying really hard so I can enter university. → subordinating conjunction

Using Semicolons

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; therefore, I decided to go home early.

I called John; however, he seems to be really angry with me.

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, and she behaved nicely as well.


Independent clauses can stand alone as a meaningful sentence. Here are the parts of an independent clause:

  1. subject
  2. predicate


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Relative Clauses

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Nominal Relative Clauses

Nominal relative clauses are used as different parts of speeches and act as a noun or a noun phrase. Click here to learn more!

Dependent Clauses

Dependent clauses are clauses that cannot form sentences on their own. In this lesson, we will learn all about dependent clauses.

Restrictive and Non-restrictive Clauses

Restrictive clauses and phrases are necessary while non-restrictive clauses are not necessary for the sentence to have a meaningful thought.

Participle Clauses

To get to know participle clauses, first of all, you have to be familiar with the concept of participles and clauses separately.


If-clauses are used to express that the action of the main clause. There are three types of if-clauses. In this lesson, we will discuss them.

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