Study It:

The Basic Idea
There are two possibilities for combining clauses within a single sentence.
We can connect independent clauses within a single sentence.

We can combine an independent clause with a dependent clause within a single sentence.
How We Do It: Connecting Independent Clauses


There are several ways to connect independent clauses within a single sentence.
  1. use a coordinating conjunction
  2. use a semicolon



Coordinating Conjunctions


There are seven coordinating conjunctions.
and or but nor yet so for
independent clause + coordinating conjunction + independent clause
Hamlet sings in a deep voice and Ophelia dances beautifully.
There are two independent clauses in this sentence: Hamlet sings and Ophelia dances. These independent clauses are connected by the coordinating conjunction, and.



Look at these Examples
I always forget a name, but I always remember a face.
List the independent clauses in this sentence.

How are these independent clauses connected?

Punctuation Hint
If the sentence is long and the coordinating conjunction is connecting two independent clauses, then you should put a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

If the sentence is short and the coordinating conjunction is connecting two independent clauses, then the comma is optional.
Semicolon
Link two independent clauses with a semicolon only when the ideas in the two clauses are very closely related.

independent clause + ; + independent clause
The word generation means thirty years; in the microcomputer industry it can mean six months.
There are two independent clauses in this sentence: word means and it can mean.
These two independent clauses are connected by a semicolon.


Look at these Examples
A backache can feel terrible; stretching can relieve the pain.

The flea market was cheap; they bought an oak dresser for forty dollars.

Ivory Coast has a diverse population; over 60 languages and dialects are spoken here.


How We Do It: Connecting Independent Clauses and Dependent Clauses
There are three ways to combine independent clauses and dependent clauses within a single sentence:
  1. subordinate clause
  2. relative clause
  3. noun clause
Subordinate Clause
Any clause that begins with a subordinate conjunction is a subordinate clause.

A subordinate clause is a dependent clause. Therefore, a subordinate conjunction connects an independent clause to a dependent clause.


Here is a list of some of the more commonly used subordinate conjunctions:
because even though whether by the time
if as after until
although in order that before as soon as
since where/wherever when/whenever whereas
You'll have more energy if you take vitamins.
There are two clauses in this sentence: you'll have and you take. Because the clause you take begins with a subordinate conjunction, it is a dependent clause.
You'll have does not begin with a subordiante conjunction; it is an independent clause. We can say that the independent clause you'll have is connected to the dependent clause you take by the subordinate conjunction if.
Look at this Example
Some people behave erratically whenever the moon is full.
List the clauses in this sentence.



How are the clauses combined?




Punctuation Hint
When the independent clause precedes the dependent subordinate clause, there is no comma.
Example: You'll have more energy if you take vitamins.


When the dependent subordinate clause precedes the independent clause, you must place a comma after the subordinate clause.


Example: If you take vitamins, you'll have more energy.



Relative Clauses
Any clause that begins with a relative pronoun is a relative clause. A relative clause is a dependent clause.
Here is a list of relative pronouns:
that when
which where
who whom
why


I enjoy the films that Spike Lee makes.
There are two clauses in this sentence: I enjoy and Spike Lee makes. Because Spike Lee makes begins with a relative pronoun, it is a dependent clause. I enjoy does not begin with a relative pronoun; it is an independent clause. We can say that the relative pronoun is the connecting point for the independent and dependent clauses.


Look at this Example
We traveled to the Netherlands to visit the city where Rembrant was born.
List the clauses in this sentence.


How are these clauses combined?

Punctuation Hint
Figuring out when and where to place a comma with relative pronouns can be tricky.
click here if you want more details on relative pronouns.


Noun Clauses
A noun clause is a dependent clause. Noun clauses always begin with a noun clause pronoun.
Here is a list of the noun clause pronouns:
that how
which/whichever why
who/whoever when/whenever
whom/whomever where/wherever


Jake eats whatever his mother cooks for him.
There are two clauses in this sentence:
Jake eats and his mother cooks. His mother cooks begins with the noun clause pronoun whatever. Therefore, whatever his mother cooks for him is a dependent clause. Jake eats does not begin with a noun clause pronoun; it is an independent clause.


Look at this Example
The detective has discovered where the secret plans are hidden.
List the clauses in this sentence.



How are these clauses combined?

Punctuation Hint
Never use a comma with noun clauses.

Beware
A comma is not a strategy for connecting clauses.
NEXT STEP: PRACTICE
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