"> Skip to Main Content Site Map

The Roadrunner's Guide to English: Identifying Dependent and Independent Clauses


The practice exercises on this page were developed by Dr. Mary Nielsen, Dean of the Dalton State College School of Liberal Arts. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Identifying Dependent and Independent Clauses - Practice 1

An independent clause, also known as a simple sentence, includes a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.

                            Example: Juliet, a border collie puppy, prefers to chase apples and pears.
                                               Subject                                                  Verb

A dependent clause has a subject and verb, is introduced by a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun, but does not express a complete thought.  A dependent clause is not a complete sentence.

                           Example: Because the heavy rains flooded the entrance to the subdivision.
                                                Sub. Conj.                       Subject      Verb

                                   Example:  After Laura carefully read the assigned chapter.
Sub. Conj.  Subject                    Verb

Determine whether the underlined word groups are dependent clauses, independent clauses, or not a clause.

1. Although it was raining, Maria went for a jog at Civitan Park.

2. Brianna eats chocolate whenever she gets a poor grade in math.

3. After the flood, the family moved into a temporary shelter.

4. While walking at the park, John saw a raccoon eating potato chips.

5. Students enrolled in bachelor's and associate's degree programs must pass the Regents' Test as a graduation requirement.

6. Students who fail to show up for the Regents' test must enroll in the Regents' remediation courses.

7. When you finish your homework, please take the dog for a walk.

8. After Juan completed the assignment, he swam laps at the gym.

9. Christa left home at 4:00 a.m. since she had to drive to Atlanta for a meeting.

10. Before completing the assignment, Evan decided to eat a quick lunch.

Identifying Dependent and Independent Clauses - Practice 2

Determine whether the underlined word groups are dependent clauses, independent clauses, or not a clause.

1. Juan continued playing although he injured his knee.
2. I thought that the offer was too good to be true.
3. While I was scrubbing the floors, Juliet was watching television.
4. Although tired and grumpy, Laura agreed to babysit for her sister-in-law.
5. Inspired and energized, Sean solved the case of the missing energy drink.
6. While driving home from spring break, Maria saw a tornado touch down.
7.  People who drink and drive should be arrested.
8.  Ever since my daughter purchased a ferret, I have noticed that authors describe their bad
     guys as ferret-like.
9.  Such descriptions are not fair to ferrets.
10. Since I could not go to the Pancake Breakfast, I gave away my tickets.