Dependent Clause – Meaning, Definition & Types with Examples

In this article of English Grammar, we explore the world of dependent clauses, diving into their role as subordinate units within sentences. So, let’s explore how dependent clauses enhance grammar and communication.

Dependent Clause
Dependent Clause

Dependent Clause Definition

This type of clause relies on an independent clause to form a complete sentence. It cannot stand alone because it does not express a complete thought. It functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb within a sentence.

For example:

“Although she sings beautifully” (dependent clause) + “she is shy” (independent clause) = “Although she sings beautifully, she is shy.” (complete sentence).

Examples of Dependent Clauses:

  • Although it was raining, they decided to go for a picnic.”
  • Because she studied hard, she aced the exam.”
  • “I will call you when I reach home.”

Types of Dependent Clauses

Dependent Clauses can be categorized further based on their function within a sentence. Some common types include:

  1. Noun Clauses
  2. Adjective Clauses (Relative Clause)
  3. Adverb Clauses (Adverbial Clause)

Here are brief overview of each type of clause with examples:

Noun Clauses:

These clauses function as nouns within a sentence. For example: I know [that she is talented].

Examples of Noun Clauses:

Noun clauses can function as subjects, objects of prepositions, direct objects, indirect objects, and predicate nouns:

  • “I want to know what all the fuss is about.” (functions in the sentence as the direct object of the verb “know”)
  • “She will listen to whatever you recommend.” (functions as a direct object)
  • “I hope we are going to wherever the source of the river is.” (functions as the object of the preposition “to”)
  • “The parachutist’s only flaw was that she balked when given the signal to jump.” (functions in this sentence as a subject complement.)

Adjective Clauses:

These clauses qualify or describe a noun within a sentence. For example: The book [that is on the shelf] is mine.

Examples of Adjective Clauses:

  • “The house, which is painted blue, belongs to my friend.”
  • “The girl who won the singing competition is my sister.”
  • “I saw a movie that was based on a true story.”
  • “We did not find any cafe that sold vegetarian momos.”

Adverb Clauses:

These clauses modify or describe a verb, adjective, or adverb within a sentence. For example: She sings [when she’s happy].

Examples of Adverb Clauses:

  • My cousins, though they told us that they would not come for the movie, they somehow made it.
  • He remembered, after he left the office, that he had not sent the EOD report.
  • Ramya, since she was not keeping well, decided not to go to work today and tomorrow.
  • She will visit her grandparents when she gets a break from work.
  • I will go for a walk if the weather is nice.
  • He left early so that he could catch the train.
  • If you work hard, you will be able to score good grades.
  • In case you like it, let us know.
  • Although they drove really fast, they could not reach there in time.
  • Before you make your decision, make sure you think this through.
  • As soon as you meet her, call me.
  • The dog got so comfortable with my brother after he cuddled her for a while.
  • We felt time was very slow because we were sitting idly.

In Summary, Dependent clauses cannot stand alone as complete sentences and rely on the main clause for their meaning. They often begin with subordinating conjunctions such as “that,” “which,” “because,” “if,” “when,” or “after,” among others.

Frequently Asked Questions on Dependent Clauses

What is a dependent clause?

A dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause, is a grammatical unit that contains a subject and a predicate but cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. It depends on an independent clause to provide the necessary context or complete the thought.

How do you identify a dependent clause in a sentence?

Dependent clauses can often be identified by the presence of subordinating conjunctions such as “that,” “which,” “because,” “if,” “when,” or “after.” These conjunctions establish a subordinate relationship with the independent clause and indicate that the clause cannot function independently as a complete sentence.

What is the function of a dependent clause?

Dependent clauses serve various functions in a sentence. They can act as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns, providing additional information, describing or modifying a noun, or serving as the subject or object of a sentence. Dependent clauses add complexity and depth to sentence structure by expanding upon or qualifying the information provided by the independent clause.

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