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Sep 2, 2022

A clause is a sentence component that includes a subject and some sort of predicate. 


  • We will start early since there will be traffic in the evening. 
  • I was taking a shower when you called. 

These sentences are made up of two clauses each.  

The clauses in sentence 1 are: We will start early and since there will be traffic in the evening. 

The clauses in sentence 2 are: I was taking a shower and when you called. 


Let’s remove one clause each from the sentences now. From sentence 1, let’s remove the clause since there will be traffic in the evening. Now, all that remains is the clause we will start early. Even after removing the other clause, this clause still makes complete sense when left in isolation. 

Similarly, from sentence 2, let’s remove the clause I was taking a shower. All that remains now is the clause when you called. But unlike the previous instance, after the dismissal of the companion clause, the one that remains, i.e., when you called, is not capable of making any complete sense when left alone. 

Let us take a look at these in detail:

Independent Clauses

An independent clause, also known as the main clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a predicate that can express a complete thought. An independent clause is capable of standing alone as a sentence. 


  • We arrived late at the party. 
  • I was able to finish the paper on time. 
  • I will be in Canada next week. 

Dependent Clauses

Read the sentence: 


I will call you after I finish my homework. 

In this sentence, the main clause is I will call you, which is a complete idea and can also stand on its own as a sentence. But the group of words that follow- after I finish my homework – acts as a subordinate to the main clause. Though they contain a complete idea within themselves, including a subject and corresponding predicate, the presence of the subordinating conjunction indicates that the clause cannot stand alone as a sentence. It is determined by the main clause. 

Now let us define a dependent clause: 

A dependent clause is a group of words that has a subject and a predicate but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause is incapable of standing alone as a sentence as it always needs a main clause to depend upon. Conjunction is frequently used to identify a dependent clause. 

In many cases, the presence of a conjunction is the only thing that distinguishes an independent clause from a dependent clause. 


  • Since the exams are beginning tomorrow, we need to cover all the chapters by evening. 
  • The crowd went berserk when their team scored a goal. 
  • I will accompany you if you promise to buy me ice cream. 


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