Dependent, Independent clauses

Dependent and Subordinate Clauses – Simple, Complex, and Compound Sentences


Understanding the structure of sentences is essential for mastering the English language. Sentences can be classified into three main types based on their structure: Simple, Complex, and Compound sentences. Each type involves different uses of dependent and subordinate clauses.

Simple Sentences

A simple sentence consists of a single independent clause. An independent clause contains a subject and a predicate and expresses a complete thought.


  • The cat sleeps.
  • She walked to the store.
  • John plays the guitar.
  • They are watching a movie.
  • Mary reads every evening.

Complex Sentences

A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent (subordinate) clause. A dependent clause also contains a subject and a predicate but does not express a complete thought on its own and depends on the main clause.


  • Although it was raining, we went for a walk.
  • She left early because she had a meeting.
  • When he arrives, we will start the meeting.
  • After the show ended, we went home.
  • If you finish your homework, you can watch TV.

Compound Sentences

A compound sentence contains at least two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).


  • I wanted to go for a walk, but it was raining.
  • She cooked dinner, and he set the table.
  • We went to the park, yet it started to rain.
  • He was tired, so he went to bed early.
  • She likes to read books, and he enjoys listening to music.

Dependent and Subordinate Clauses

A dependent (or subordinate) clause cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. It provides additional information to the main clause. Dependent clauses can act as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns.

Types of Dependent Clauses:

  • Adjective Clauses: Describe or give more information about a noun.
    Example: The book that I borrowed was interesting.
  • Adverb Clauses: Describe or give more information about a verb, adjective, or another adverb.
    Example: We left when the show ended.
  • Noun Clauses: Act as a noun in the sentence.
    Example: What he said surprised everyone.


Leave a Comment