myQBook English Grammar Concepts

Dependent (Subordinate) Clauses

Dependent clauses are also known as subordinate clauses. They are the same as independent clauses (i.e., they have a subject and a predicate) except for one part: they are not complete thoughts. This small change makes a huge difference. Dependent clauses cannot be complete sentences; they need to have an independent clause next to them.

Consider the following example:

After we returned from our exciting vacation at Yellowstone National Park

This is a dependent clause. It has a subject (we) and a predicate (returned from our exciting vacation at Yellowstone National Park), but it is not a complete thought. The reader has a major question about the sentence: “What happens after you return?”

Notice that the subordinate conjunction “after” makes this a dependent clause. Remove the word “after” and the sentence turns into an independent clause. Usually, subordinate conjunctions are responsible for turning independent clauses into dependent clauses.

For information on relative clauses, see the next grade concept explanations.

For information on elliptical clauses, see the 9th grade and above concept explanations.


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Independent Clauses
Differentiating between Phrases and Clauses

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