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Dependent Clauses

Dependent Clauses

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A dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause, is a type of clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. It relies on an independent clause to convey its meaning and function within a sentence.

Here are some key details about dependent clauses:

  1. Relationship to Independent Clauses:

    • Dependent clauses cannot stand alone as complete sentences because they do not express a complete thought.
    • They rely on an independent clause to provide the necessary information for their meaning.
    • Examples:
      • "Because it was raining" (dependent clause)
      • "After she finished her work" (dependent clause)
  2. Types of Dependent Clauses:

    • Noun Clauses: These function as nouns within a sentence, acting as the subject or object of a verb.
      • Example: "What she said" (subject), "I know what she said" (object).
    • Adjective Clauses: These modify nouns or pronouns, providing additional information or describing them.
      • Example: "The book that she is reading."
    • Adverb Clauses: These modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs, providing information about time, place, manner, condition, or reason.
      • Example: "He left when the movie ended."
  3. Subordinating Conjunctions:

    • Dependent clauses are often introduced by subordinating conjunctions, which establish a relationship between the dependent clause and the independent clause.
    • Subordinating conjunctions include words such as "because," "if," "when," "although," "since," "while," and many others.
    • Examples:
      • "Because it was raining, we stayed indoors."
      • "He went to the party even though he was tired."
  4. Placement within Sentences:

    • Dependent clauses can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.
    • When a dependent clause appears at the beginning of a sentence, it is usually followed by a comma.
    • Examples:
      • "After she finished her work, she went for a walk."
      • "She went for a walk after she finished her work."


Dependent clauses add additional information, provide context, or express relationships within a sentence. They are essential for creating complex sentences that convey more nuanced meaning. Understanding the different types of dependent clauses and their functions helps in constructing clear and well-structured sentences.