In English grammar, there are various parts of speech. These parts of speech are the key elements that help us form clauses by combining each other. These clauses become the different layers or parts of a sentence that ultimately gives the sentence its complete form.
Now, clauses can be divided into two broad categories, independent clauses, and dependent clauses. In this post, we will focus on the first type i.e. independent or main clause. Each sentence must consist of at least one independent clause for it to be complete. So, independent clauses are principally the part of a sentence that holds the principal combination of a subject and a predicate.
However, people often confuse an independent clause with a dependent one. It is because sometimes it can get tricky considering which clause is supporting which. So, to have a better understanding, refer to the explanations given below.
What are independent clauses?
By definition, we can simply state that an independent clause is a part of a sentence that consists of at least one subject and a predicate. It is basically a clause that expresses a complete thought by itself and can stand alone. Hence, independent clauses are also known as main clauses or principal clauses.
In short, independent clauses are the group of words that consist of both a subject and a predicate that is enough to stand alone as a sentence. That means they can single-handedly express a complete thought without the help of any subordinate clause. However, it has the capability to join with other clauses, which are dependent clauses, and make sentences more complex and meaningful with added information.
Let us look at an example to have a better understanding:
The car crashed into the pole.
Here, this particular clause is an independent one. It is because it has both a subject car and a predicate crashed into the pole that indicates a complete idea.
Similarly, there are other examples such as;
- I bought a new dress.
- I love eating ice creams and chocolates.
- Our house is full of pet dogs and cats.
- The house captain sang the anthem melodiously.
Difference between Independent and Dependent Clause
Many people often confuse the difference between the two types and fail to identify them correctly. But they can be easily differentiated if the basic concept is clear.
To begin with, their definition, as the name already suggests, an independent clause is one that is independent and can stand alone. On the other hand, dependent clauses are the ones that cannot exist by themselves and are always reliant on an independent clause.
So, a dependent clause is a clause that basically aims to provide extra or additional information regarding the main verb. And the main verb is usually present in the independent clause. Dependent clauses are therefore always connected to an independent clause through subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun.
I like drinking coffee after I complete my work. Here, the first half is an independent clause connected to the latter half with the conjunction after. As we can notice, the independent clause is complete in itself. However, without the first half, the second half, the dependent clause, would seem meaningless.
Hence, we have independent clauses that can express complete thoughts even without the help of any additional clauses.