Following last week’s introduction to the independent clauses, here we have the younger brother: the dependent clause.
A dependent clause, on its own, doesn’t make much sense. It’s an incomplete thought, or a half-baked idea. It can’t survive on its own: a dependent clause ‘depends’ on his big, independent brother to help make sense of the world.
You can spot a dependent clause by the words it wears: if you find a when, while, if, that, or who then you’re staring a dependent clause in the face.
To make a dependent clause, you need a subordinator, a subject and a verb:
Subordinator Subject Verb (complement)
…when I start writing …
…because you learn quickly.
…if we practice every day.
Need to know the most commonly used subordinators?
After although as, just as, as if as soon as because before even though how if since so that that though unless until what when whenever where wherever whether which while who whom whose
And as a special treat, dependent clauses are also know as subordinate clauses.