What Is a Dependent Clause?

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A dependent clause, or subordinate clause, is a phrase that has its own subject and verb, but is not a complete sentence by itself. Find out about different types of dependent clauses with information from a writer and English tutor in this free video on grammar and punctuation.

Part of the Video Series: Grammar & Punctuation
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm here to talk about what a dependent clause is. A dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause, is a phrase that has its own subject and a verb, but it's not a complete sentence by itself. And there are a couple different kinds of dependent clauses. An adjective clause modifies a noun or a pronoun. For example, "The person who finishes first wins the race." "Who finishes first" describes person, which is the main subject in that sentence. An adverb clause modifies a verb, an adverb, or an adjective. So for example, "She smiled when he gave her the news." "When he gave her the news" describes when she smiled, and smiled is the verb in that sentence -- the main verb. A noun clause acts as a subject, an object, or a complement. So for example, "Do you remember where my house is?" In this sentence, "Where my house is" is acting as the object.


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