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Grammar tips

Dependent and Independent Clauses…the difference

This topic is in response to the post calling for requests.

There are various types of clauses in the English language, but two of the most confusing are dependent and independent clauses.

To tell the difference between the two, remember the following:

If it can stand by itself as a sentence, it is an independent clause.
Example:  We can go to the meeting.

If it can’t stand by itself as a sentence, it is a dependent clause.  It depends on other content to make a complete sentence.  Dependent clauses often begin with words such as when, because, if, who, or that.
Example:  We can go if the secretary gets back in time.

When it comes to punctuation of a dependent clause, that is determined by how it functions (as an adverb, adjective, or noun).  A good rule of thumb: if the dependent clause is at the beginning of the sentence, it should be followed by a comma.

Hope this helps!

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About Jill Heisterkamp

Jill Heisterkamp is Owner and Director of Heiste Communications and offers clients over 12 years of marketing and writing experience for a variety of projects - basically, if it has words, she writes it.


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