Difference Between Independent and Dependent Clause (With Table)

A language can only be studied in its best form if one understands the grammar and rules of that language more effectively. English as a language is a wide range of rules, principles, and theories, including a number of significant terms and definitions. 

Clauses are one of this language’s most integral components. However, its provisions are not just in English but also in other languages. The two main categories of clauses that differ significantly from each other are the Independent clause and the Dependent clause. It is crucial to differentiate between the two in order to understand them fully.  

Independent Clause vs Dependent Clause 

The difference between Independent Clause and Dependent Clause can be marked in terms of how stable these both are on their own. While the former can be used in a sentence all by itself and with no additional structure, the latter requires another clause to get utilized in a sentence.  

Independent Clauses on one side are complete in themselves and require no other clause to accompany them. They convey complete meaning and do not lack anything when it comes to meaning and information. For example- “I woke up this morning early”. This sentence is complete in itself and does not need any additional information to convey the whole idea. 

While on the other hand, Dependent Clauses cannot be used without any other clause attached to them. They can only convey half the idea, and a different clause is required with them. For example- “in the morning”. It does not tell the whole point behind the sentence. Thus, it requires another clause such as I ate, I ran. The end result shall be I ran in the morning, or I ate in the morning.  

Comparison Table Between Independent and Dependent Clause 

Parameters of Comparison Independent Clause Dependent Clause 
Definition  A clause that can be used in a sentence without any clause having to accompany it.   A clause that can only be used with another clause and is not independent in itself. 
Also called Main Clause Subordinate clause 
States  The complete meaning or idea behind something. It states only a part of an idea and not the whole idea. 
Found in  Almost all the sentences, whether they are simple, complex, or a mixture of both. This clause is not noticed in most of the sentences. 
Used conjunctions  Certain specific conjunctions are used to join one independent clause with another independent or dependent clause, and those are- And, but, neither, nor, or, etc. The conjunctions which are used to join this clause with other independent or dependent clauses are- If, because, then, etc. 
Nature  This clause is strong in nature as it is complete in itself.  This clause is relatively weak in its nature as it needs another phrase to convey the complete idea.  

What is Independent Clause? 

By definition, an Independent Clause is one that comprises a few words and coveys the complete and whole meaning of the idea behind it. It contains a verb along with its subject and can be termed a sentence literally. It does not lack anything and requires no back support from any other clause or sentence.  

For example- 

  • I like to enjoy latte when it rains. (Independent clause) 
  • It is raining outside. (Independent clause) 

These two sentences given here are independent clauses in literal meaning. These both can convey the complete meaning that they intend to state and require not support. However, these can be joined together by certain conjunctions.  

For example- “It is raining outside, and I like to enjoy latte when it rains”. Not only this, but an independent clause is also joined with certain dependent clauses, such as- 

  • He said (Dependent clause) 
  • She claimed (Dependent clause) 

Now, these dependent clauses cannot be used independently as they arise questions like- what did he say or what did she claim. An Independent clause is the one that answers such questions. For example-  

He said (Dependent clause) + It is raining outside (Independent clause) = He said that it is raining outside.  

What is Dependent Clause? 

A Dependent Clause demonstrates a specific group of words that happens to be unable in conveying its complete sense and requires the assistance of another independent clause. This can better be understood by the following examples- 

  • When she completed her studies (Dependent clause) 
  • Because it was so dark (Dependent clause) 

These clauses are constituting a group of words, but a complete meaning cannot be derived out of them. Therefore, they require the assistance of an independent clause. For example-  

  • She left for London (Independent clause) + When she completed her studies (Dependent clause) = She left for London when she completed her studies. 
  • She could not see properly (Independent clause) + Because it was so dark (Dependent clause) = She couldn’t see properly because it was so dark.  

Main Differences Between Independent and Dependent Clause 

  1. The term Independent Clause stands for a group of words that are completely sufficient in themselves to convey the meaning of the sentence. While the term Dependent Clause refers to the group of words that happen to be incomplete in themselves.  
  2. An Independent Clause states the complete meaning which the writer or the speaker wanted to convey, while the Dependent Clause only conveys a part of the whole meaning and requires additional support. 
  3. Independent Clauses are found in almost each and every sentence, which we notice daily; this is because this clause is crucial to convey the whole idea. While it is not necessary for the Dependent Clause to appear in all of the sentences.  
  4. Certain specific conjunctions are used to join an Independent Clause with another independent or dependent clause, and those are- And, but, neither, nor, or, etc. While to join a dependent Clause with another clause, if, because or then conjunctions are used.  
  5. Independent Clause happens to be strong in nature, while Dependent Clause happens to be comparatively weak in nature.  


Grammar’s gems are independent clauses and dependent clauses. It is vital to be familiar with both so that the most appropriate and suitable one can be employed according to the situation. 

While an Independent Clause does not require anyone’s assistance to complete its construction, a Dependent Clause, as the name implies, is reliant on other clauses to complete its structure.  


  1. https://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?docid=P20180321001-200312-201803230011-201803230011-107-117
  2. https://digilibadmin.unismuh.ac.id/upload/752-Full_Text.pdf
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