Does it seem like the above sentence lacks something?
As if there was supposed to be a punctuation mark somewhere, but you can’t figure out where?
In the case you can, Congratulations!
It means you belong to category 1.
People in this category either have a good knowledge of independent and dependent clauses or have developed an intuitive understanding through practice.
In the case you can’t and belong to category 2, this is how the sentence should look.
People in this category find it hard to fragment the above sentence due to inadequate knowledge of the different types of clauses.
So, if you are from category 2, below are the important ways of identifying dependent and independent clauses, including how they influence the placement of punctuation marks.
Table of Contents
PHRASES AND CLAUSES
Before jumping to the types, let’s understand the meaning of a clause and its difference from a phrase.
PHRASE: It stands for a group of words which lack a subject-verb combination.
As shown in the above examples, phrases act as a part of speech, but unlike a clause, can’t act as a complete sentence.
CLAUSE: Stands for a set of related words containing both a verb and a subject.
Unless there are specific identifiers (dependent clause markers as explained below), the clauses can function as a complete sentence.
If the answer to ‘what’s a clause?’ is clear, let’s move onto Dependent and Independent Clauses.
A dependent clause is a group of related words that contain a subject and a verb (since it’s a clause), but do not reflect a complete thought.
As they don’t describe a whole idea, they cannot function as a stand-alone sentence. Instead, they need to be linked to an independent clause for forming a complete sentence.
COMMON IDENTIFIERS OF DEPENDENT CLAUSE
All dependent clauses can be recognized by dependent markers, which are generally made of subordinating conjunctions. In the case a clause starts with one of the below-mentioned identifiers, it means it’s a dependent clause and needs to be linked to an independent clause.
Other words: As if, Even though, Even for, In order to, Once, Rather than, etc.
An Independent Clause is a set of related words containing a subject and a verb and capable of expressing a complete thought. Therefore, an independent clause often functions as a stand-alone sentence.
PUNCTUATION ADDED TO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES
Sometimes, in the beginning of an independent clause, certain words called connectors are used, which indicate the need for a punctuation mark. There are two kinds of words which function as connectors.
Such markers include words like also, furthermore, consequently, moreover, however, therefore and nevertheless.
When a sentence has one of the above connectors followed by an independent clause, a semicolon should be put before the independent marker and a comma after the independent marker.
Example: He left early for the office; however, he could not reach on time due to heavy traffic.
There are seven coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so) which function as connecting words before an independent clause.
When a sentence has one of the above connectors followed by an independent clause, a comma should be put before the coordinating conjunction.
Example: He left early for the office, but could not reach on time due to heavy traffic.
An independent clause should be able to reflect a complete thought and not leave any doubt regarding the action in the sentence.
Independent clause Example : He left early for the office.
A dependent clause does not reflect a complete thought, can be recognized by a subordinating conjunction and leaves the readers with questions, unless linked with another independent clause.
Dependent clause Example: Although he left early for the office (you may ask, so what?)
Complete thought: Although he left early for the office, he could not reach on time.