Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

Coordination and Subordination (main and subordinate clauses)

Independent clause: A clause—a grammatical construction containing a subject and predicate (basically, a verb) that can stand by itself as a sentence.

Dependent clause: A dependent clause cannot stand by itself as a sentence, and functions as a noun, adjective or adverb.

Begonia should stifle her lunatic impulses and stop drinking.

Dependent clause: Begonia should stifle her lunatic impulses.
Independent clause: and stop drinking.

Compound sentence
A compound sentence contains two or more coordinate independent clauses but no subordinate clauses. “Coordinate clause” means the main clause.

I love crack, but I hate Camel filters.
I love sweet dreams, so I treasure my Swedish massage bed.

“but” and “so” are coordinating conjunctions (along with and, or, nor, for, and yet), often used to introduce independent clauses.

Complex sentence
A complex sentence contains one independent clause and one or more subordinate clauses. A subordinate clause is an independent clause that modifies the main clause.

Although my eyes had serious dark circles, I celebrated Mark’s birthday by going with him to the secret place under the stairs.

Whenever I clip my toenails and floss my molars, I think of Zelda.

Although and whenever are two examples of subordinating conjunctions—conjunctions that introduce subordinate clauses.

Compound-complex sentence (contains two or more independent clauses and one or more subordinate clauses)

Although her lips put me in a state of white heat, I vowed to escape her clutches, and I shredded her phone number.

Next to each of the following sentences, write compound, complex, or compound-complex.

a. Although RBD started out as a Mexican soap opera, it evolved into a group of six, sickeningly cute Latin pop singers.


b. She was modeling a Dior dress made of ruffled tulle and sheer gossamer and ostrich feathers, and she looked like a turkey wrapped in aluminum foil.

Beyonce in Dior

c. Because I am trying to drop seventy pounds, I am giving up candy forever, but I must eat one of these limited-edition Hershey Kisses.

d. Alladin had a lamp, but even he couldn’t make me fall for Calixta.