What Is a Clause?

Third installment of Anabelle’s Minute Writing Workshop.

As promised, this week, we’re discussing the concept of clause.

As I have mentioned in the first post, a sentence is a clause, but not all clauses are sentences. A clause usually has a subject and a predicate, although sometimes the subject can be implied by a relative pronoun (examples to come in further posts).

There are two types of clauses:

  • Dependent clause
  • Independent clause

The simplest is the independent clause. In “The baby cried; I took it in my arms”, there are two independent clauses. An independent clause is, simply put, a clause that could stand on its own as a sentence. For example: “The baby cried. I took it in my arms.”

A dependent clause is a clause that does not make sense on its own. In “The baby cried, so I took it in my arms”, “The baby cried” is still an independent clause, while “so I took it in my arms” is a dependent clause. It cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence, because the coordinating conjunction “so” implies a previous cause.

Next week, we’ll discuss the different types of independent clauses. This will become really useful when we start discussing punctuation (especially commas), so stay tuned!


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