Dependent Clause: Definition and Examples of Dependent Clauses

What is a dependent clause? One of the common grammatical elements you are likely to come across in the English language is a dependent clause. Hearing this phrase, it might be difficult to understand what exactly it is. In this article, we are going to take a look at the definition of what a dependent clause is as well as seeing some examples to show how this clause works within a sentence.

Dependent Clause

What Is a Dependent Clause?

A dependent clause is one that relies on being used with another clause, usually another type of clause, the independent clause. When used on its own, a dependent clause will not create a full sentence and needs further information to turn it into one.

Dependent Clause Examples

We are now going to take a look at a few examples of these dependent clauses in order to further understand how they work. The following sentences will show the dependent clause highlighted in bold.

  • When the aeroplane lands we will get off it.
  • Because I cannot go to the concert, you can have my ticket.
  • He can write much more neatly than his girlfriend can.
  • If you work on Saturday, I will look after your children for you.
  • You can sleep in my spare room, whenever you are in town.
  • Though I had never thought about it until now the song did sound like one I had heard before.
  • I am not totally certain how he won the race.
  • This is the cat who has gone missing.
  • Autumn is the season when the leaves fall from the trees.
  • My sister is the one who lives in that cottage.
  • These are the people who we met on holiday.
  • My father didn’t tell me why he said those things.
  • They were lost and were not sure how they would find their way.
  • What she believed was not what happened.
  • My brother doesn’t know if he can drive there.
  • We will give the best seats to whoever arrives the earliest.
  • What the man did was not useful to the situation.
  • The prize will be given to whoever wins the race.
  • She finally finished her college course after many years of studying.
  • Where is the milk which was in the fridge?
  • The actor, who starred in the film, was very talented.
  • The bicycle which you saw belongs to my son.
  • Whenever I am in Rome I speak Italian.
  • If you can give me a good reason, I will let you borrow my car.
  • When the car returns, we can go home.
  • Because my alarm did not go off this morning, I was late for work.
  • When we arrived at the party, we were offered a drink.
  • If I do not pay my tax bill, I will be charged a fee.
  • If the weather is hot tomorrow we can go to the beach.
  • When I read this book I feel happy.
  • Does anybody know how long the train will be?
  • My husband no longer plays football because he hurt his leg.
  • The event cannot start until the president arrives.
  • I am trying to think about what will happen next in the drama series.

Dependent Clause Infographic

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Last Updated on October 22, 2023

3 thoughts on “Dependent Clause: Definition and Examples of Dependent Clauses”

  1. I was just looking up the meaning of ‘independent/ dependant clauses’ and ‘modial verbs’, I am ashamed to say. Ashamed, as I am English..born in England…and I even have an English degree . I am SOOO glad English is my 1st language because I’m rubbish at learning languages and would never have been able to learn it as a 2nd one!
    One thing all students learning English should know…Most people who speak English as a first language DO NOT KNOW how to speak it properly. Do not know the terms (or that there even ARE terms!) for different word and sentence forms and structures. I imagine we know less words / have a smaller vocabulary than you already do, after being a student for 6 months.
    As is probably the case in your first language, no-one actually speaks English the way it is is more colloquial and slang ..which is fine ..but what really isnt that most (1st Lang) English speakers use tenses incorrectly or get them muddled, NEVER use borrow/lend the correct way round (personal peeve!) , always say “can” instead of “may” …which is more than just about ‘polite wording’
    and in general have NEVER had ONE single lesson at school in regards to using grammar correctly! How bad is that?! So congratulations to all ‘students’ of the English Language. No matter how badly u may think you speak will be better than most English people!!


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