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Grammar and StructureGRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples
Independent and Dependent Clauses

 
 

Examples of dependent and independent clauses used in sentences:

Example

Explanation

after he won the lottery

This is a dependent clause. It is not a complete thought. It is NOT a sentence.

After he won the lottery, the business man retired from his company.

The business man, after he won the lottery, retired from his company.

The business man retired from his company after he won the lottery.

The dependent clause can be placed:

  • at the beginning of an independent clause.
  • in the middle of an independent clause.
  • at the end of an independent clause.

The students had gone to the beach after their class ended.

The verb tense in the dependent clause is often given in a simpler tense than the verb tense in the independent clause.

Independent clause: past perfect tense

Dependent clause: simple past tense

I will call you if I finish my homework early.

I will call you when I finish my homework.

* NOT: I will call you when I will finish my homework.

Use the present tense instead of "will" in the dependent clause when the independent clause clearly shows future.

Do NOT use "will" with "when" or other linking words that indicate time.

The student passed the exam because she had studied hard.

* NOT: The student passed the exam because had studied hard.

Do not omit the second subject in the dependent clause.

When the students finished their class, they went to the beach.

When the dependent clause comes before the independent clause, use a comma.

When ______, ______ .

The students went to the beach when they finished their class.

When the dependent clause comes after the independent clause, do not use a comma.

______ when ______.