Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • - [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians.

  • Hello, Rosie.

  • - [Voiceover] Hello, David.

  • - [Voiceover] We're gonna talk about dependent

  • and independent clauses.

  • Full disclosure, this is a relatively advanced

  • part of grammar, but it is important to understand,

  • because mastering dependent and independent clauses

  • and being able to say

  • why a clause is dependent or independent

  • will help you become a better writer,

  • will help you become a stronger writer,

  • and give your sentences vim and vigor and strength.

  • So with all that out of the way.

  • Let's start with independent clauses,

  • because an independent clause is basically a sentence.

  • We established previously that all a clause is

  • is just a collection of phrases with a subject and a verb.

  • So, for example, the sentence, I ate the pineapple, period,

  • is an independent clause.

  • So, it's a couple of phrases, we've got this noun phrase I,

  • we've got this verb phrase ate the pineapple,

  • and together that becomes a subject

  • and verb or a predicate.

  • So, Rosie, what is a dependent clause?

  • - [Voiceover] So dependent clause is different

  • from an independent clause in that

  • it can't stand on its own as a sentence.

  • So it includes a subject and a verb,

  • but it can't be its own sentence.

  • And sometimes it might look like a sentence,

  • it could start with something

  • like a subordinating conjunction, like the word because,

  • for example, because it was delicious.

  • - [Voiceover] Okay.

  • And let's be clear here, you know,

  • obviously, this is an utterance that people say.

  • You know, if you ask me why did you eat the pizza,

  • I would respond by saying, because it was delicious.

  • Why do we climb the mountain?

  • Because it is there, you know.

  • I'm not saying that this is not,

  • not an utterance that is made

  • by native speaking English speakers.

  • It is, of course it is.

  • But you have to be aware that it is a dependent clause

  • and therefore a sentence fragment.

  • And part of natural informal speech

  • is that we do use a lot of sentence fragments.

  • And sentence fragments are not as common

  • in formal writing.

  • You may sometimes use them for effect,

  • but I want you to remember that these videos are

  • about standard American English,

  • and a kind of formal version of standard American English.

  • And so, we're trying to teach you to distinguish

  • between independent and dependent clauses

  • so that you can use them skillfully

  • in the full knowledge and mastery of your choices.

  • You gotta learn your scales before you can improvise.

  • - [Voiceover] Right.

  • - [Voiceover] Dig?

  • - [Voiceover] Dig.

  • - [Voiceover] So because it was delicious, not a sentence.

  • This is a dependent clause, because it begins

  • with this subordinating conjunction because.

  • You could also work in something like although,

  • or while, and any of these would make it a dependent clause.

  • Now, if it was just on its own, it was delicious,

  • yeah, of course, that is a sentence.

  • The part that makes it dependent is

  • this subordinating conjunction.

  • You put that onto the front of it

  • and all of a sudden it needs an independent clause

  • to lean up against.

  • I know this is confusing, so let's take a look

  • at a couple more examples

  • of independent and dependent clauses.

  • So, the following are independent clauses, Rosie.

  • - [Voiceover] The bear roared.

  • Maureen pointed out the monster.

  • That's not our pet rabbit.

  • - [Voiceover] And let's do some dependent clauses,

  • and then you can see

  • that we'll be able to combine them into sentences.

  • - [Voiceover] While the salmon flopped.

  • That she saw last night.

  • Unless I'm mistaken.

  • - [Voiceover] So you can see that these are all clauses,

  • right, we've established that, you know,

  • each one has a subject and a verb.

  • The bear roared, the salmon flopped.

  • But all of these have some kind of,

  • everything in orange has something

  • that's either a subordinating conjunction

  • like while or unless, or a relative pronoun like that.

  • So while the salmon flopped.

  • You can see in this context

  • the bear roared while the salmon flopped,

  • you can kind of understand why this is called

  • the dependent clause, because by the context

  • of this sentence, while the salmon flopped,

  • something else was going on, right.

  • This is kind of like background information.

  • And it's in fact not necessary

  • for comprehending the first sentence or the first clause,

  • the independent clause, the bear roared.

  • And if we did combine these, you would realize

  • that the salmon flopped is just background information.

  • - [Voiceover] Right.

  • - [Voiceover] Right.

  • But we need to know what else is going on

  • for there to be a while.

  • - [Voiceover] So the bear roared

  • is a perfectly sensical sentence on its own.

  • - [Voiceover] Right.

  • - [Voiceover] And while the salmon flopped is providing us

  • with this extra information.

  • The bear is roaring while the salmon flopped.

  • But if we were just to see the sentence

  • while the salmon flopped on its own,

  • like say, we didn't have the bear roared,

  • it would make less sense.

  • - [Voiceover] Right, because the presence of this word while

  • indicates that something else is also going on,

  • that's what makes it dependent.

  • So we need to have the bear roared.

  • Likewise, Maureen pointed out the monster,

  • that sentence works fine on its own.

  • That she saw last night, sure there's a subject

  • and there's a verb, she and saw, right,

  • she saw something, she saw that,

  • but this relative pronoun needs to refer back to something,

  • and that makes it dependent on the monster.

  • So this last one's a little tricky, right,

  • because you might be looking and saying,

  • well, unless I'm mistaken, where's the verb?

  • Well, the verb is kind of hiding in here.

  • So unless I am mistaken, right.

  • So, the presence of this subordinating conjunction unless

  • makes this into a dependent clause.

  • So unless means it's kind of hinging

  • on some other information.

  • So the other information is that's not our pet rabbit,

  • unless I'm mistaken.

  • I feel that there should be a comma here,

  • so I'm gonna put one in.

  • That's not our pet rabbit, unless I'm mistaken.

  • I hope this has cleared some stuff up.

  • So an independent clause is a subject and a verb

  • and it can be a sentence.

  • A dependent clause is a subject and a verb,

  • but also a subordinating conjunction

  • and it cannot be a sentence.

  • You can learn anything, David out.

  • - [Voiceover] Rosie out.

- [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 clause dependent sentence independent salmon independent clause

Dependent and independent clauses | Syntax | Khan Academy

  • 71 5
    Amy.Lin posted on 2017/06/25
Video vocabulary