Rex barks. [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE, also called a MAIN CLAUSE]
An independent clause has:
An independent clause does not have:
- a subordinator or a relative pronoun at the beginning [“I did my homework” is a independent clause. “When I did my homework” is not an independent clause. “I got that at the mall” is a complete sentence. “that I got at the mall” is not an independent clause.]
Rex || barks.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks. [FINITE VERB]
An independent clause is a complete sentence in and of itself. It can “stand alone.”
Rex chases the cat.
Rex seems hungry.
Independent clauses inside compound sentences:
Rex barks, and he growls.
Rex || barks, and he || growls.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks [FINITE VERB], and he [SUBJECT] growls [FINITE VERB].
Rex barks, and Tigger meows.
Rex || barks, and Tigger || meows.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks [FINITE VERB], and Tigger [SUBJECT] meows [FINITE VERB].
Each one of the clauses in the compound sentences above has a subject and a finite verb, so each on can “stand alone” as a complete sentence:
Independent clauses inside complex sentences:
When the postman comes, Rex barks.
Rex is chasing the cat that belongs to my next door neighbor.
Rex seems hungry although I just fed him.
“When the postman comes,” “that belongs to my next door neighbor,” and “although I just fed him” are all dependent clauses. They must be attached to an independent clause in order to be grammatically correct.
They cannot “stand alone.”
• Richard Nordquist defines “clause“
• Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses (OWL)
• Clauses (Richard Nordquist at about.com)
• The Main Clause (chompchomp)
• Dependent Clauses: Adverbial, Adjectival, Nominal (Towson)
• Clauses and Sentences (Internet Grammar of English)
• Sierra College Handout – Combining clauses – Subordinators & relative pronouns