(Click on the words and above for further help with their use.)
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Clauses are combined in three different ways: coordination, subordination, and by means of a semicolon. Coordination involves joining independent clauses with one of the coordinating conjunctions: and sometimes* Clauses thus connected are usually nicely balanced in length and import.
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Learning the various terms used to define and classify clauses can be a vocabulary lesson in itself. This digital handout categorizes clauses into independent and dependent clauses. This simply means that some clauses can stand by themselves, as separate sentences, and some can't. Another term for dependent clause is subordinate clause: this means that the clause is subordinate to another element (the independent clause) and depends on that other element for its meaning. The subordinate clause is created by a or dependent word.
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Some relative clauses will refer to more than a single word in the preceding text; they can modify an entire clause or even a series of clauses.
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A relative clause that refers to or modifies entire clauses in this manner is called a sentential clause. Sometimes the "which" of a sentential clause will get tucked into the clause as the determiner of a noun:
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Independent Clauses could stand by themselves as discrete sentences, except that when they do stand by themselves, separated from other clauses, they're normally referred to simply as sentences, not clauses. The ability to recognize a clause and to know when a clause is capable of acting as an independent unit is essential to correct writing and is especially helpful in avoiding and .