What oh what do I do with sentences that can’t stand-alone? I’m talking about Dependent clauses. What is a dependent clause? It is a group of words with a verb (Conveys action) and a subject. Unlike Independent clauses that can stand on their own, dependent clauses don’t express a complete thought and therefore they’re not a complete sentence. They must be joined to another clause to avoid making a sentence fragment.
Dependent clauses are often indicated by the presence of words such as; because, before, after, although, since, whenever, though, even if, while, even though, whenever, wherever. They often contain conjunction words such as; Nor, yet, but, and, or.
Because I lost my umbrella.
Because? Why? What? This is a sentence fragment if it doesn’t have a clause explaining what happened. So it should be joined with a clause explaining or justifying the ‘because’.
Because I lost my umbrella, I got wet from the rain.
‘I got wet from the rain’ is an independent clause. Joining a dependent clause with an independent clause assures thought is expressed and it is now a sentence.
Dependent clauses can become more complex if we add subjects, objects, and modifying phrases:
Dale, who likes eating salty snacks, ate some potato chips.
Dale is the subject. ‘Who likes eating salty snacks’ is a dependent clause that modifies Dale. It contains ‘likes’ and ‘ate’ which are verbs. The potato chips are the object.
There are three types of Dependent clauses. Noun, adverb and adjective.
Noun – They describe a thing or a person. Such as; living creatures, objects, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.
Adjective – They a describe noun such as; good, big, blue and fascinating.
Adverb – They describe a verb, adjective or adverb. Such as; quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really. (Don’t forget, a lot of filter words are adverbs)
Dependent Adverb Clauses
Adverb clauses will modify verbs and begin with subordinating conjunctions (join clauses, sentences or words. Like these; and, but, when.)
- When the baby arrives
- Because I can’t wait for the train
- Since you don’t have enough time
- Whenever you go to play
- As if she knew what was going to happen
- Until the tide turns
- While children continue to learn
- Supposing that he really wanted to stay
- Before the cheese gets moldy
- Although I never tried it
- Unless I have the right combination
- How he got the job
- As the cars were moving
- If you can rest on Sunday
- No matter how you look at it
- Than his friend can
Dependent Adjective Clauses
Adjective clauses modify nouns and often begin with a pronoun, (They replace a noun with words such as; I, you, he, she and some.) and sometimes with a subordinating conjunction.
- That I gave him
- Why the cake was terrible
- Who is dumb
- That was a deal
- When the flowers bloom and grow
- Which is located downstairs
- Where I went to play basketball
- Whom we met before the party
- Who live by the office
- Whose singing is always amazing
Dependent Noun Clauses
Noun clauses can act as a noun and name a place, person, thing or idea.
- How he would get there
- Why she did that
- That you are talking
- Whomever I like
- If the ice-cream is on sale
- Whoever stands in line
- Who let the rooster in the henhouse
- What he expected
- Whether he can drink that much
- Whatever makes you comfortable
Dependent Clauses In Sentences
These highlighted dependent clauses could easily be found accidentally on their own pretending to be sentences.
- What Amber did.
- After hours of revision.
- While Scott was at work.
- Why Scott said that.
- Whatever is necessary.
- That was in my desk?”
- Nobody wanted to drink it.
- That you took.
- Whenever I go to the movies.
- Where I was hired.
- Whom I have for Math.
- Since nobody offered.
- Whereas Dale has only one.
- If you can explain why.
- Until the bar closes.
- Whoever has the better layout.
Corrected Dependent Clauses
- What Amber did was not very smart.
- Dale finally finished his project, after hours of revision.
- While Scott was at work, the neighbour’s dog peed on his door.
- Amber can’t figure out why Scott said that.
- Scott will do whatever is necessary.
- “Where is the natty purple inked pen that was in my desk?”
- After Scott coughed on the coffee pot, nobody wanted to drink it.
- That set of car keys that you took belong to Dale.
- Whenever I go to the movies, I will sit in the middle.
- The place where I was hired is on Main street.
- The teacher, whom I have for Math, is a total jerk.
- Since nobody offered, Dale didn’t get any cake.
- Scott has two lovers, whereas Dale has only one.
- If you can explain why, you can borrow the car.
- You may drink beer until the bar closes.
- The job goes to whoever has the better layout.
My advice about dependent clauses.
They are usually found during editing and revising. When read aloud they sound unusual or incomplete. They are easy to fix and when they are, it makes for easier reading.
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