Imagine living in a world where people communicated not with phrases or sentences, but with one-word dialogues. We’d probably be living in an age of robots instead of humans!
We use sentences every day. When we converse with friends and family, or when we write to relatives and colleagues. We use sentences when we send formal emails, text messages, letters, and even when we develop reports and other documents for school or work. Written communication wouldn’t function the way it does without the presence of various sentence structures.
Sentences help develop paragraphs, in which a collection of paragraphs turn into an essay, and these essays then become our written voice. This written voice serves as a platform that allows us to communicate our inner thoughts. You may also see subordinate clause examples.
So how does this whole cycle begin? With clauses, of course.
A clause refers to a group of related words that contain both a subject and a predicate (verb). There are different types of clauses that enables us to formulate different sentence structures to properly convey a message in a detailed manner. By joining these clauses together, we can easily express our point of view, thoughts, feelings, and opinions regarding a topic. You may also like what is an example of a dependent clause?
There are two types of clauses: the independent clause and the dependent clause. Each type is comprised of its own unique characteristics that differentiates one from the other. When discussing clauses, it’s important that we learn how they are used in developing a sentence. To do so, let’s take a deeper look at these types:
An independent clause is a type of clause that can stand alone as a sentence.
Apart from containing both a subject and a verb, it can also express a complete thought. Even so, we can still connect independent clauses together to form another type of sentence, but only with the use of the right punctuation. Once two independent clauses are joined together, the audience is then presented with two related statements that are equally important to the writer’s message. You may also check out adverb clause examples.
There are two ways to join independent clauses together: with a semicolon and with a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction.
A coordinating conjunction is a word that is usually placed between two independent clauses to show the relationship being shared. Using the acronym ‘FANBOYS’, coordinating conjunction comprise of the words for, and, but, or, yet, and so. You might be interested in fused sentence — examples and corrections.
In this example, the comma and the coordinating conjunction were used to connect the two clauses together and to show their relationship. In this case, the writer used the coordinating conjunction but, which indicates comparison.
The second way to join two independent clauses together is with a semicolon. Rather than using a period, you can use a semicolon to emphasize how closely related two statements are with each other. You can also use a semicolon, a transition, and a comma to connect the clauses together. You may also see cumulative sentence examples.
Keep in mind that using a semicolon to join two clauses together is only acceptable if both statements convey a complete thought.
Other Examples of Independent Clauses:
If an independent clause is left as is, then it’s considered to be a simple sentence. However, one way to enhance your writing abilities is to formulate compound or complex sentences out of these clauses. To do so, you can either join two independent clauses together to form a compound sentence, or combine an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses (which shall be discussed later on) to create a complex sentence. Using new techniques to improve your writing style enables you to express your thoughts in a comprehensive manner.
Unlike an independent clause, a dependent clause cannot stand by itself, and it does not convey a complete thought. Therefore, this type of clause must rely on another clause to make the thought complete.
A dependent clause typically begins with a subordinate conjunction, which is a word that connects two clauses. These words may represent time, place, comparison, cause, or condition, depending on how they are used in the general statement.
A dependent clause can also play a variety of roles in a sentence. It can be a noun clause, an adjective clause, or an adverb clause.
An adjective clause, which is also called a relative clause, is a type of dependent clause that functions as an adjective in a sentence. It usually starts with a relative adverb (when, why, where) or a relative pronoun (who, whom, which, that, whose) which often functions as the subject of the clause. It also comes after the noun it modifies in the clause. You may also see parallel sentences — structure and examples.
You might be wondering why some examples contain a comma before and/or after the adjective clause while others do not. That’s because the adjective clause may either be restrictive or non-restrictive.
A restrictive adjective clause provides information that defines the noun in the sentence. In other words, it’s a necessary statement used to properly identify the noun. You can use the words that or which for non-human nouns, or that or who for human nouns. Here, the use of commas must be avoided when joining the clauses together. You may also like what is a sentence fragment?
Although the sentence above expresses a complete thought, it does not indicate what books the writer likes. But once an adjective clause is added to the statement:
By adding the adjective clause to the main clause, readers can clearly identify what is being referred to in the sentence.
As opposed to a restrictive adjective clause, this type of adjective clause merely acts as an accessory in the sentence. It provides extra information that the audience may find useful. It may be quite interesting to know about, but it does not play an essential role in identifying the noun. Commas should also be present at the beginning and/or end of the adjective clause. You may also check out run-on sentences – examples & corrections.
A group of words that contain a subject and a verb but do not convey a complete thought does not qualify as a sentence. Instead, it becomes a sentence fragment.
Many people make the mistake of including sentence fragments in their writings. Not only does this depict poor writing skills, but it also makes it difficult for a reader to understand the message of the writer. To avoid fragments, you must connect the adjective clause to the main clause of the sentence. You might be interested in balanced sentences — usage and examples.
Punctuating adjective clauses in a sentence can be quite tricky at first. The only way to decide whether the clause requires a comma or not is to identify if the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive.
As previously mentioned, restrictive clauses do not require commas, while non-restrictive clauses do.
Notice how the two sentences differ. In the first example, the adjective clause carries important information that the speaker needs to properly portray the situation at hand. While in the second sentence, it uses a non-restrictive adjective clause to provide further information about the noun. But if we eliminate the clause from the simple statement, the sentence would still express a complete thought.
Learning how to use clauses in constructing sentences can be beneficial for any writer. This allows you to paint a picturesque scene for your audience to remember for a smooth and clear communication. You may also see clause examples.