Dependent Clause


A dependent clause is a group of words that include a subject and a verb, but this type of clause does not impart a complete meaning. Hence, a dependent clause cannot stand alone. However, adverb clauses, noun clauses and adjective clauses come under the dependent clause.

Dependent Clause Examples:
  1. What the boy did with his brother was not helpful.
  2. While I was asleep, the thief stole the money from my bag.
  3. I will take the steps whatever is necessary.
  4. The writer, whom I met in the book fair, is very talented.

Dependent Clause Definition

Dependent clause is a type of clause with a subject and a verb along with an incomplete thought. This type of clause depends on the independent clause for meaning and hence, it is also known as ‘subordinate’ clause.

  • Since it is important, you must join the spoken English class.
  • Could you please give me your pendrive because I need it for work?

Dependent Clause Types

Dependent clause acts in different ways in the sentences. Three types of dependent clauses are available in English grammar.

Noun Clause: This clause acts as a noun and it creates the subject of a sentence. This clause can be a subject, object, subject complement or object complement.

  • What I do is my own responsibility.
  • Here, ‘what I do’ is the dependent clause and it is subject. 
  • Whomever you like, you can choose.
  • Whatever makes you happy, you can do.

Adjective Clause: This type of clause acts as an adjective in the sentences and hence, it modifies the noun.

  • The grapes that we bought from the fruit market have been finished.
  • Here, ‘that we bought from the fruit market’ is a dependent clause and it modifies the noun ‘grapes’. However, adjective clause is also referred as relative clause. Relative clause usually starts with the relative pronoun including that, who, which, whose, whom, why, etc.
  • I want to visit Bishnupur, which is located in West Bengal.
  • I met with a person, who lives by the sea.

Adverb Clause: This type of clause imparts more information about the action occurred in the sentence. Adverb clause modifies the verb and it starts with the subordinating conjunctions.

  • I took a taxi because I cannot wait for the bus.
  • Here, ‘because I cannot wait for the bus’ is the adverb clause.
  • I have to wait till the time when the principal arrives.
  • He pretends as if he knows what is going to happen.

Dependent Clause Examples

Some examples of dependent clause
  1. Do you know the person who is taking English tuition?
  2. Do you know any good lawyer who can handle the criminal case?
  3. I will be waiting here till my father comes.
  4. The glass table, which I bought last year has broken down.
  5. I cannot complete my word unless my mentor helps.
  6. The dress which my husband gifted me has lost.
Dependent Marker Word:

A dependent Marker Word is a word that is added to the beginning of an independent clause and makes it into a dependent clause.
After we got down from the bus, we ran to the school gate.

Some common dependent markers are mentioned here.
Although, after, as if, before, even though, though, since, in order to, until, unless, whatever, etc.

Differences between Dependent Clause and Independent Clause

Differences between Dependent Clause and Independent Clause
  • Dependent clause comprises a group of words, including a subject and a verb and it does not impart a complete thought. On the other hand, an independent clause also contains a group of words along with a subject and a verb and it provides a complete thought.
  • Dependent clause does not express an entire idea, whereas an independent clause expresses a complete idea.
  • Dependent clause cannot stand alone, whereas an independent clause can stand on its own.
  • A dependent clause cannot make a sentence, whereas an independent clause can stand as a sentence.
  • A dependent clause usually starts with a dependent markers, whereas an independent clause does not.