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We all know that communication is key. But what happens when a message isn’t delivered clear enough for a receiver to understand? This can cause conflict and confusion. Misinterpretation in writing is usually caused by different factors, one of which includes poor sentence structure. To understand how this works, we must first get acquainted with the different types of clauses. In this article, we shall tackle the likes of an independent clause.
Imagine how difficult it would be if we all communicated in phrases or broken sentences. Instead of introducing ourselves to strangers in full sentences, we respond with adjectives that describe who we are. Not only does it sound informal, but it all also makes us appear like robots running on a chip formatted by a higher being.
But as simple as it may seem, exercising proper grammar and sentence construction comes as a huge challenge even for those fluent in the language. A sentence is only a sentence, until you realize that this may be broken down into certain parts.
A clause refers to a group of words that consist of both a subject and a predicate. Here, the predicate must contain a verb, and it should say something about the subject being indicated. But what makes a clause different from a phrase is that a phrase does not contain a subject and a verb. Also, a clause may either express a complete thought or an incomplete one, depending on its type.
There are two specific types of clauses: the independent clause and the dependent clause. Understanding the difference and importance of the two can help vastly improve our style of writing. You see, writing a simple sentence and a complex sentence are two different things, with the latter being a lot more challenging than the former. But developing a solid understanding of this slight difference can actually benefit your writing skills in several ways.
For one, this allows you to write more types of sentences to better expound your thoughts. If you think about it, wouldn’t it be awkward (and somehow difficult) to compose the documents for a research project with only simple sentences? Explaining complicated concepts in full detail would be impossible to do due to the limited number of words used per sentence. By learning how a clause functions in a sentence, you can add style to your writing to keep readers thoroughly engaged. This will also help you avoid the common mistakes that writers make such as comma splices, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences.
In particular, an independent clause contains a series of words that express a complete thought. This allows us to stand on its own as a sentence, that is, if it ends with a proper punctuation. A dependent clause, on the other hand, is also a group of words that comprise of a subject and a verb, but does not convey a complete thought. Because of this, the dependent clause cannot stand on its own and would need to be attached to an independent clause to make sense.
Think of it this way: a dependent clause is similar to a caffeine lover, while an independent clause is like a cup of warm coffee. Many caffeine lovers claim that they could only go about with their day if they have their early morning coffee, which makes the caffeine lover “dependent” to coffee. So by joining the caffeine lover with the coffee, they form a cohesive unit that functions properly. Similarly, a dependent clause must be combined with an independent clause in order to make sense.
Let’s take the following as an example:
Notice how this example only contains two words. But despite of its length, it still contains one subject and a one word predicate that delivers a complete thought. The example given is therefore an independent clause.
If I don’t get to school on time…(what will happen?)
As you can see, the example above has left you hanging. It only indicates a cause and not the potential outcome of such action. Apart from expressing an incomplete thought, a dependent clause may also be identified through the use of dependent markers, which are typically subordinating conjunctions.
Examples of commonly used dependent markers are as follows:
But just because an independent clause is able to stand on its own does not mean it has to. This is why compound sentences (one or more independent clauses) and complex sentences (independent clause + dependent clause) have become an important branch of sentence construction, allowing writers to get creative with their words to form well-detailed pieces.
In most cases, writers add a dependent clause to an independent clause to form a complete thought. By properly combining these clauses together, you can create a different sentence structure that goes beyond the typical. And when we say “typical,” we mean the kind of sentences that fits the 2nd-grade learning standards of grade schoolers.
Apart from grammar, the proper use of punctuation marks is another element to focus on. Joining two or more clauses together can be quite tricky, especially if you are unsure of how to punctuate different sentence formations. This could either change the overall thought of the sentence or make it a lot more difficult for a reader to comprehend.
The room smelled like coffee because it was early morning.
The sentence above contains both an independent clause and a dependent clause. If we take away the word because, then it will then form two sentences.
The room smelled like coffee. It was early morning.
We’re now left with two independent (but related) clauses, each creating its own sentences. But since these two thoughts are somewhat related with one another, we can connect the two without altering its clause type.
The room smelled like coffee; it was early morning.
What initially started as a sentence containing an independent clause and a dependent clause has now turned into a sentence with two independent clauses. Here, the use of a semicolon to join clauses, which shall be explained later on, is a simple way to construct a compound sentence.
Besides the use of dependent markers or conjunctions, independent clauses may also be combined by a semicolon. However, this may only be applied if the clauses indicated in the sentence consist of related ideas.
It’s easy to describe clauses for what they are and how they function in a sentence structure, yet some people still struggle when asked to construct their own examples for such. To better understand the use of independent clauses, try studying the following examples:
Other than a conjunction and a semicolon, two or more independent clauses may also be combined through the use of a comma.
Understanding the different branches of our language is vital in improving the way we interact with one another. This allows us to construct clear sentences and avoid fragments for better communication. Proper sentence construction is highly important not just for formal settings, but for casual conversations as well. This way, we can convey a given message with clarity for an audience to grasp. Sentence variety is also a key factor in writing, as it can help captivate readers to keep them connected to your content.