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What are independent clauses, dependent clauses, coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive...

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andrewmezzo | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted September 22, 2010 at 10:37 AM via web

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What are independent clauses, dependent clauses, coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, subordinating conjunctions? Please explain in detail.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 22, 2010 at 12:01 PM (Answer #1)

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I will give you an answer in short to each piece, but you really must not ask so much in one question. I would be more thorough and you would have a greater understanding if you asked them separately.

An independent clause is a subject and a verb that CAN STAND ALONE, essentially a simple sentence, but it can be anywhere in a sentence. An example in this sentence is italicized:

I went shopping after my mother decided she was going to take the car from me.

A dependent clause is a subject and verb that CAN NOT STAND ALONE. It depends on an independent clause.

I went shopping after my mother decided she was going to take the car from me.

Coordinating Conjunctions connect sentences: and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so.

Conjunctive Adverbs are adverbs that perform the job of conjunctions. They connect ideas, often sentences.

We wanted to go to the park, unfortunately, it was raining.

Subordinating conjunctions have a dependent feel, like they need something on one side or the other of them or they don't work. They often introduction dependent clauses: because, if, since, when, unless.

Good luck with your homework.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM (Answer #2)

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While you are asking a lot of questions here, the answer to any of your terms involves a discussion of the other terms, so I will try to give you a few examples to illustrate how those terms can work together when writers craft sentences.

Overview:  Coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs are used to join clauses.  Independent clauses are complete sentences that can stand alone.  Dependent clauses "depend" on being joined to an independent clause in order to have a grammatically complete sentence.  If you join two clauses with a subordinating conjuction, then one of the clauses will be independent and the other dependent.  If you join two clauses with either a coordinating conjunction or conjuctive adverb, then both clauses are independent.  One of the most essential reasons to recognize the difference is because necessary punctuation depends on how clauses are joined.

Independent Clause :  has a subject and a verb plus any modifers and compliments.  It can stand alone.

Example:  Jim and Sue bought cookies at the store.

Dependent Clause :  has all of the same elements as listed above EXCEPT it can't stand alone because it starts with a subordinating conjunction. 

Example:  Because Jim and Sue bought cookies. (fragment) 

Correct Sentences with explainations.

Jim and Sue bought cookies at the store, and they came to the party a bit later.  There are two clauses here, each could stand alone, but they are joined by a coordinating conjunction and therefore, there needs to be a comma before the conjunction to clarify the sentence.

Because Jim and Sue bought cookies, they came to the party a bit late.  Here the first clause is dependent because it can't stand alone.  That first clause starts with a subordinating conjunction, "because."  To make the sentence correct, it is joined to an independent clause with a comma to set off the introductory dependent clause.  Note that if the order of the clauses was reversed you would not need a comma.  Jim and Sue came to the party late because they stopped to buy cookies.

Jim and Sue bought cookies; however, they arrived late to the party for other reasons.  Here there are two independent clauses joined by the conjunctive adverb "however."  Conjunctive adverbs usually require a semicolon in front of and a comma after them to separate them from the rest of the clause.  The semicolon makes it clear that there are two independent clauses that need proper punctuation, just like you would need if the conjunctive adverb where not being used at all.

Creative and appropriate use of conjunctions allows writers to clarify and illuminate the connection between various ideas.  If used correctly, combined clauses offer the opportunity to vary the syntax used in writing.

It would be helpful for you to research lists of the most common coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs. Below is good website.

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