Independent and Dependent Clauses

While I was walking to school this morning. After my class started. As soon as I get home this afternoon.

These sentences do not make sense because they are incomplete sentences. One of the most important skills in both speaking and writing is producing a complete sentence. Knowing the difference between a dependent and an independent clause can help you effectively communicate your ideas.

Independent Clauses
What does "independent" mean? In the United States, a person becomes legally independent at age 18. People who are considered "independent" can provide for themselves. They earn their own money, they make their own food, and they drive by themselves. An independent clause is very similar. Just as an independent person can cross the street alone, an independent clause can communicate a complete idea alone.

An independent clause contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete idea.

I fell on the sidewalk.
My teacher collected our homework.
I will eat lunch.

Dependent Clauses
"Dependents" are children or other people for whom an independent person is responsible. Dependent people need someone else to feed them and drive them places. A dependent clause is similar. Just as a child (a dependent person) needs a parent (an independent person) to help him or her cross the street, a dependent clause needs an independent clause to make sense.

A dependent clause contains a subject and a verb, but it also begins with a subordinating conjunction.

I fell on the sidewalk while I was walking to school this morning.
My teacher collected our homework after my class started.
I will eat lunch as soon as I get home this afternoon.

Subordinating Conjunctions
When you imagine a child crossing the street with a parent, the child and the parent are usually holding hands. This connection makes sure the child can safely cross the street. A subordinating conjunction is a similar connection between an independent and a dependent clause. Here are some examples of subordinating conjunctions:

even though

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