What Is an Independent Clause? (with Examples)

What Is an Independent Clause? (with Examples)

An independent clause is a clause that can stand alone as a sentence (i.e., it expresses a complete thought).

An independent clause, like all clauses, has a subject and verb.

When there are no dependent clauses in the same sentence as an independent clause, the independent clause is a simple sentence. For example:
  • I like coconut macaroons.
  • (This is an independent clause and simple sentence.)
  • I like coconut macaroons even though I dislike coconut.
  • (This is an independent clause and a dependent clause. This is a complex sentence.)

Examples of Independent Clauses

Here are some examples of independent clauses (shaded). Notice how they could stand alone as sentences. (This is the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause.)
  • Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. (Fran Lebowitz)
  • The best defense against the atom bomb is not to be there when it goes off. (Anon)
  • I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something. (Jackie Mason)
  • Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. (Will Rogers, 1879-1935)
  • My one regret in life is that I am not someone else. (Woody Allen)

See Also

What is a clause? What is a sentence? What is the subject of a sentence? What are verbs? What is a dependent clause? What is a simple sentence? What is a complex sentence? What is a compound sentence? What are coordinate conjunctions? Commas before conjunctions