In order to improve your writing skills, you need to know whether the sentences you are writing are actually sentences and not just fragments. You need to be able to determine if your sentences express a complete thought or not, that way you can easily know what to do to correct it and how to do it effectively. Not only will this help you in your essays, research, and any writing activities, it can also help you make better written outputs that can affect your chances of getting hired for a job in the future.
A dependent clause, sometimes also called as a subordinate clause, is a group of words with a subject and verb. However, it does not express a complete thought unlike that of a sentence. Since it is basically not a sentence, it cannot stand on its own, meaning you will not understand the context of a dependent clause by itself. By its name, you can easily determine the a dependent clause depends on being attached to an independent clause to form a sentence.
Usually, dependent clauses can be identified by words called dependent markers. These dependent markers are usually subordinating conjunctions. If a clause begins with any of these words, it is a dependent clause that needs to be attached to an independent clause to express a complete thought:
|after||in order (that)||unless|
|as far as||lest||whenever|
|as soon as||no matter how||where|
|as if||now that||wherever|
|even if||so that|
|even though||supposing (that)|
|in case (that)||till|
Here are some examples of a dependent clause:
Based on their function on a sentence, a dependent clause is generally divided into three categories. Here are the three main types of dependent clauses:
A noun clause is a dependent clause that acts as a noun. It can basically be a name of a person, place, idea, or thing. In addition, it can also function as a subject, direct object, preposition, or an appositive. Here are some words that can be used to introduce a noun clause: who, why, whom, what, that, whether, how, when, whoever, where, and whomever. However, you need to remember that some of these words can also be used to introduce adjective and adverbial clauses; therefore, a clause can only be considered as a noun clause only if you can replace/substitute a pronoun (he, she, it, they) in its place.
In the same sense as the first one, the adjective clause is a dependent clause that acts as an adjective in a sentence. This type of dependent clause is also known as Relative Clause which basically functions similarly to an adjective that in essence also modifies a noun or pronoun. In addition, since an adjective clause acts as an adjective, it answers to questions such as which, what, whom, who, etc. Aside from that, it also generally begins with a relative pronoun like that, who, which, whose, whom or a relative adverb such as when, why, where. Usually, an adjective clause immediately follows the the person, place, or thing they describe.
Similar to an adverb, an adverbial clause is an dependent clause that modifies a verb, an adjective clause, or another adverb clause in a sentence. It adds information or modifies a verb of the main clause in terms of time, frequency, condition, cause and effect, and intensity. For time, an adverbial clause uses these subordinating conjunctions: when, whenever, since, until, before, after, while, as, by the time, as soon as, etc. These conjunctions are used in an adverbial clause signifying a cause and effect: because, since, now that, as long as, as, so that, etc. Meanwhile, the following subordinating conjunctions are used for adverbial clauses of contrast: although, even, whereas, while, though. And these conjunctions for condition: if, unless, only if, whether or not, even if, providing or provided that, in case, etc.
Listed below are some examples of an adverbial dependent clause:
It is important that you know how to identify the differences between an independent and dependent clause, not only because it is necessary but also because it can improve your communication skills. It can make you write and say things better and that will be easier to understand for the people you are communicating with. We hope that the explanations as well as the examples made it clear for you what a dependent clause is.