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Independent Clause






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Breaking Free with Independent Clauses

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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What is an independent clause? How is this self-sufficient sentence component packing a punch in English? Edulyte’s English tutors, with their comprehensive resources and customised classes, help you navigate the intricacies of English concepts like independent clauses and more. Discover your potential to excel in English and handle it like a native speaker. 

What is an Independent Clause: Get the hang of its definition and use

An independent clause is a fundamental component of sentence structure in the English language. Understanding the concept of an independent clause with independent clause examples is essential for all English learners. 

Subject and Verb

An independent clause consists of two essential elements: a subject and a verb. The subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action or is being described in the sentence. It tells us who or what the sentence is about. Conversely, the verb is the action word that expresses what the subject is doing or the state of being. It is the core element that gives the sentence its meaning and completeness. To understand better, check out the independent clause examples below.

For example:

  • She sings beautifully.In this sentence, “she” is the subject, and “sings” is the verb.

Complete Thought

In addition to having a subject and a verb, an independent clause expresses a complete thought. It provides a clear and self-contained idea that can stand alone as a sentence. An independent clause can convey a complete idea without additional information or dependent clauses.

For example:

  • He studied for his exam. This sentence contains a subject (“he”) and a verb (“studied”), and it expresses a complete thought. It can stand on its own as a sentence.

Characteristics of an Independent Clause: Mind-blowing facts about Independent Clauses

An Independent clause possesses distinct characteristics that set them apart within the sentence structure. 

Stand-alone Sentences

One of the primary characteristics of an independent clause is its ability to function as a stand-alone sentence. It has the necessary components to form a complete thought and can exist independently without additional clauses or information. This autonomy allows independent clauses to be used as simple, concise sentences, providing clarity and direct communication.

For example:

  • She walked to the store.

This independent clause is a complete sentence that can stand alone and convey a specific action.

Complete Meaning

Independent clauses have the inherent quality of providing complete meaning. They express a self-contained idea or thought and do not rely on other clauses for clarity or comprehension. When reading or hearing an independent clause, the audience receives all the essential information required to understand the message.

For example:

  • The sun was shining brightly.

This independent clause conveys a complete thought about the weather condition and does not require additional clauses to provide context or meaning.

Independence from Other Clauses

Another characteristic of independent clauses is their independence from other clauses. While they can be combined with dependent or independent clauses to form compound or complex sentences, independent clauses can function independently without altering their intended message.

For example:

He finished his work, and she went for a walk. In this compound sentence, each independent clause (“He finished his work” and “she went for a walk”) can stand independently and convey its respective idea without dependence on the other.

Examples of Independent Clauses: Say Goodbye to Boring Sentences with their Aid

Independent Clause Examples

Independent clauses are versatile components of sentence structure that can express various ideas, actions, or statements. Let’s explore some independent clause examples that highlight the diverse ways in which independent clauses can be used.


  • I enjoy reading books.
  • The concert starts at 8 p.m.


  • Are you coming to the party?
  • Did you finish your homework?


  • Clean your room.
  • Be kind to others.


  • The sky was filled with vibrant colours.
  • The house is located on a beautiful hill.

Expressing Actions:

  • He ran to catch the bus.
  • They danced all night.

Expressing Emotions:

  • I am so excited about my vacation.
  • He felt disappointed after the game.

Making Comparisons:

  • She is taller than her sister.
  • The red dress is more expensive than the blue one.

Types of Independent Clauses: The Game-Changing Guide to Independent Clauses

A quick view of the types of independent clauses allows you to use them skillfully, upgrading your communication skills. 

Simple Independent Clauses: definition and examples

A simple independent clause is a clause that contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It can stand alone as a sentence, conveying a specific idea or information without relying on other clauses for clarity or completeness. Simple independent clauses are straightforward and concise, providing clear and direct statements.


  • She laughed.

In this example, “she” is the subject, and “laughed” is the verb. The simple independent clause expresses the action of laughter performed by the subject.

  • They studied for the test.

Here, “they” is the subject, and “studied” is the verb. The simple independent clause conveys the action of studying performed by the subject in preparation for a test.

Compound Independent Clauses: definition and examples with handy explanations

Compound independent clauses are formed when two or more independent clauses are combined in a single sentence. Each independent clause within the compound structure can stand alone as a separate sentence, expressing a complete thought. The coordinating conjunctions serve as connectors, joining the independent clauses to show their relationship.

Role of Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are crucial in connecting independent clauses within a compound sentence. They establish a relationship between the ideas or actions expressed in each independent clause. The most common coordinating conjunctions are:

  • For: used to indicate a reason or cause.
  • And: used to add information or actions.
  • Nor: used to indicate a negative choice or exclusion.
  • But: used to express contrast or opposition.
  • Or: used to present alternatives.
  • Yet: used to convey a contradiction or surprise.
  • So: used to indicate a consequence or result.


  • I love to read, and my sister enjoys painting.

In this example, two independent clauses, “I love to read” and “my sister enjoys painting,” are joined by the coordinating conjunction “and.” The compound independent clause expresses two related actions.

  • She went to the store, but it was closed.

Here, the independent clauses “She went to the store” and “it was closed” are connected by the coordinating conjunction “but.” The compound independent clause contrasts the action of going to the store and the outcome of it being closed.

  • He studied for the exam, yet he didn’t perform well.

In this sentence, the coordinating conjunction “yet” connects the independent clauses “He studied for the exam” and “he didn’t perform well.” The compound independent clause contradicts the effort put into studying and the poor performance outcome.

Complex Independent Clauses: With Definition and Examples Explained

Complex independent clauses are formed when independent clauses are combined with subordinate clauses in a single sentence. We see an independent clause and a dependent clause in the same sentence. The subordinate or dependent clause depends on the main independent clause for its meaning and cannot stand alone as a sentence.

Function of Subordinate Clauses

Subordinate clauses serve various functions within complex independent clauses. They provide additional information, modify the main independent clause, or indicate the relationship between ideas. Subordinate clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns and act as dependent elements within the complex structure.

Dependent Clause and Independent Clause Examples

  • She went to the library, where she studied for hours.

In this example, the independent clause “She went to the library” is followed by the subordinate clause “where she studied for hours.” The subordinate clause provides information about the location and duration of the studying.

  • He couldn’t find his keys because he had misplaced them.

The independent clause “He couldn’t find his keys” is connected to the subordinate clause “because he had misplaced them.” The subordinate clause explains the reason for the inability to find the keys.

Relationship Between Independent and Dependent Clauses: How do Independent Clause and Dependent Clause combine to form complex sentences?

You may spot an independent clause and a dependent clause, combine to create a complex sentence, working together to convey information and build structured, coherent expressions. We can understand each clause’s roles and interactions to form complex sentences. 

Independent Clauses

Independent clauses are complete sentences that can stand alone, expressing a complete thought. They consist of a subject and a verb and can convey a clear message independently. Independent clauses are the main building blocks of complex sentences, providing the core ideas or statements.


  • She went for a walk.

Dependent Clauses

Dependent or subordinate clauses cannot stand alone as complete sentences. They rely on independent clauses for context and meaning, serving as supporting elements within complex sentences. Dependent clauses contain a subject and a verb but require additional information from an independent clause to form a complete thought.


  • When it stopped raining, she went for a walk. 

Roles of Independent and Dependent Clauses

  • Conveying Information: Independent clauses present a sentence’s primary information or main ideas. 

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, offer additional information, context, or subordination to the main idea expressed in the independent clause. 

  • Creating Sentence Structures: Combining independent and dependent clauses allows for creating complex sentence structures. Dependent clauses modify or depend on independent clauses, expanding the sentence structure and adding depth to the conveyed message.


  • She went for a walk when it stopped raining.

In this example, the independent clause “She went for a walk” presents the main idea, while the dependent clause “when it stopped raining” provides the condition or timing under which the action occurred.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Never Make These Errors, Try Out Our Tips and Avoid Them

When it comes to independent and dependent clauses, there are some common errors and misunderstandings that writers and speakers often encounter. By being aware of these pitfalls and following helpful tips, you can avoid these errors and improve your writing and communication skills. 

Run-on Sentences: A common mistake is creating run-on sentences by incorrectly joining independent clauses without appropriate punctuation or conjunctions. It can result in long, confusing sentences that lack clarity and coherence.

Example :

  • She studied all night she still didn’t feel prepared for the exam.


  • She studied all night but still didn’t feel prepared for the exam.

Tip: Use appropriate punctuation (commas, semicolons, periods) or coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or) to properly join independent clauses or consider separating them into separate sentences.

Fragmented Sentences: Fragmented sentences occur when a dependent clause is used as a complete sentence, lacking an independent clause to provide the necessary context or complete thought.


  • Although she studied diligently.


  • Although she studied diligently, she didn’t perform well on the test.

Tip: Ensure that dependent clauses are always accompanied by an independent clause to form complete and meaningful sentences.

Misuse of Subordinating Conjunctions: Misusing subordinating conjunctions can lead to confusion or change the intended meaning of a sentence. Understanding the appropriate use of these conjunctions is essential to convey the desired relationship between independent and dependent clauses.


  • Because I studied, but I failed the test.


  • Although I studied, I failed the test.

Tip: Familiarise yourself with the meanings and appropriate contexts of subordinating conjunctions to ensure proper usage and convey the intended relationship between clauses.

Lack of Parallel Structure: Parallel structure is essential when combining multiple independent clauses or items within a list. Failing to maintain parallel structure can result in sentences that sound awkward or grammatically incorrect.


  • She enjoys reading, hiking, and to swim.


  • She enjoys reading, hiking, and swimming.

Tip: Ensure that the structure and form of multiple independent clauses or list items are consistent and parallel in construction.

Overuse of Dependent Clauses: Using excessive dependent clauses in a sentence can make it convoluted and difficult to follow. It can lead to wordiness and hinder the clarity of your message.


  • While I was studying, and after I finished my dinner, before I went to bed, I realised I had forgotten to submit my assignment.


  • While studying, I realised I had forgotten to submit my assignment.

Tip: Aim for a balanced mix of independent and dependent clauses to maintain clarity and coherence in your sentences. Avoid unnecessary repetition or excessive reliance on dependent clauses.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: An independent clause is a group of words that forms a complete sentence and can stand alone, expressing a complete thought.
  2. Structure: Independent clauses contain a subject and a verb and can function as stand-alone sentences.
  3. Expressing Complete Thoughts: Independent clauses convey complete ideas or statements, providing clarity and impact in writing.
  4. Stand-alone Sentences: Independent clauses can be used independently as separate sentences, expressing a whole idea independently.
  5. Sentence Variety: Incorporating independent clauses helps vary sentence structures, adding depth and rhythm to your writing.
  6. Coordinating Conjunctions: Independent clauses can be joined by coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) to form compound sentences, connecting equal and related ideas.
  7. Enhancing Communication: Effective use of independent clauses improves the coherence, emphasis, and impact of your writing, engaging readers and conveying information more effectively.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of sentences with independent clauses?
  1. I love to read books.
  2. He walked to the park.
  3. She sings beautifully.
  4. They cooked dinner together.
  5. The sun is shining brightly.

In these examples, the independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence, expressing a complete thought. It contains a subject and a verb, conveying a clear message.

How can I use an independent clause to make my writing more effective?

Using independent clauses effectively can significantly enhance your writing. Here are some tips on how to utilise independent clauses to make your writing more impactful:

Express main ideas: Independent clauses are perfect for conveying your main ideas or key points clearly and concisely. 

Example: Climate change poses significant challenges. 

Vary sentence structure: Combining sentence structures adds variety and rhythm to your writing. Independent clauses allow you to create diverse sentence structures, adding depth and engaging your readers.

Example: She danced with joy. Her laughter filled the room. 

Create emphasis: Placing independent clauses strategically within your writing can create emphasis and draw attention to specific ideas or actions. Consider starting sentences with independent clauses to make them more impactful.

Example: In the face of adversity, she persevered. She never gave up.

Build coherence: Independent clauses provide the backbone of your writing, allowing you to connect related ideas and create a coherent flow of information. Use appropriate transitions and coordinating conjunctions to link independent clauses together.

Example: I enjoy hiking in the mountains, and the fresh air invigorates my senses.

Make concise statements: Independent clauses are concise and self-contained. Use them to make clear and concise statements, avoiding wordiness and unnecessary elaboration.

Example: The results were astonishing. The team achieved a record-breaking performance.

What is the structure of a compound sentence with independent clauses?

The structure of a compound sentence with independent clauses follows a specific pattern. It typically consists of two or more independent clauses joined together by coordinating conjunctions or punctuation marks.

Independent Clause 1 + Coordinating Conjunction + Independent Clause 2.


Independent Clause 1 + Semicolon + Independent Clause 2.

The coordinating conjunctions commonly used to connect independent clauses are:

and, also, furthermore, but, yet, however, or, nor, so, therefore, thus.

Examples of compound sentences with independent clauses:

  1. I went for a walk in the park, and she stayed home.

  2. She studied hard for the exam but didn’t perform well.
Are there any specific punctuation rules when using independent clauses?

Comma before coordinating conjunction: When joining two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction (such as “and,” “but,” “or,” “nor,” “for,” “so,” or “yet”), use a comma before the conjunction.

Example: She went for a walk in the park, and he stayed home.

Semicolon between independent clauses: Instead of using a coordinating conjunction, you can use a semicolon to join two closely related independent clauses.

Example: I love to read books; they transport me to different worlds.

Can an independent clause be used in combination with a dependent clause?

Yes, an independent clause can be combined with a dependent clause to form a complex sentence. A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. The independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence, while the dependent clause relies on the independent clause for its meaning.

Example: Although she was tired (dependent clause), she continued working (independent clause).

What is the role of an independent clause in creating sentence variety?

Here’s how independent clauses contribute to sentence variety:

  1. Expressing Different Ideas: Independent clauses allow writers to convey various ideas, actions, or statements in separate sentences. 
  2. Providing Clear Breaks: Independent clauses offer natural breaks in the flow of a text. They help avoid long, run-on sentences and allow readers to pause and digest the information. 
  3. Enhancing Rhythm and Flow: By using independent clauses, writers can establish a rhythmic pattern. 
  4. Adding Emphasis: Independent clauses can be strategically positioned within a sentence to emphasise specific ideas or actions.
How can I avoid run-on sentences when using independent clauses?
  1. Use Punctuation: Properly punctuate your sentences using appropriate punctuation marks to separate independent clauses. 
  2. Periods: Instead of joining independent clauses with commas or conjunctions, consider ending one independent clause with a period and starting a new sentence with the following independent clause.
  3. Commas with Conjunctions: If you want to connect independent clauses within a single sentence, use commas along with coordinating conjunctions (such as “and,” “but,” “or,” “nor,” “for,” “so,” or “yet”) to establish a clear separation between the clauses.
  4. Semicolons: Another option is to use semicolons to join closely related independent clauses. 
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