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What is the Difference Between an Independent and a Subordinate Clause?
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Hi,
A simple answer is this.
An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. A subordinate clause can't.

Consider 'Tom has a car that he wants to sell'.

'Tom has a car' can be an independent sentence.

'That he wants to sell' can't be an independent sentence. It's a subordinate clause.

Best wishes, Clive
CliveHi,
A simple answer is this.
An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. A subordinate clause can't.

Consider 'Tom has a car that he wants to sell'.

'Tom has a car' can be an independent sentence.

'That he wants to sell' can't be an independent sentence. It's a subordinate clause.

Best wishes, Clive

Maybe I'm just too much immersed in Romance languages, but I see your definition of subordinate clause to be what I would call a dependent clause. A subordinate clause is one which is somehow "goverened" by the dependent claus, such as requiring the use of the subjunctive in the subordinate clause because of something in the dependent clause. Do we make these distinctions in English?
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Hi,
I don't, but I'm sure lots of people do.
I've seen sentence analyses here that boggle my mind.

Clive
CliveHi,
I don't, but I'm sure lots of people do.
I've seen sentence analyses here that boggle my mind.

Clive

I'm sure your mind isn't nearly as easily boggled as mine. That's why I asked you the question.
An independent clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. A dependent clause has a subject and a verb, but it does not express a complete thought.
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Hi,
I agree with you that, as I said earlier, an independent clause can stand as a complete sentence.

However, I have some reservations about saying that 'it expresses a complete thought'. I don't know about you, but my thoughts tend to be all mixed up with one another, and I'm not sure where one ends and another starts.

Let's just consider a very simple example. Here's an independent clause. 'He gave it to her'. Would you consider this a complete thought? Surely the speaker's knowledge of what the pronouns represent is an essential part of the thought?

Or do we mean that a complete thought is defined as what can be represented by an independent sentence? This would be a rather circular line of argument, wouldn't it?

Best wishes, Clive
AnonymousWhat is the Difference Between an Independent and a Subordinate Clause?

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Hi,

In what way did the previous discussion not answer your question?

Clive
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