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Linguistic Definition of Dependent Clause

Dependent clauses in English grammar are grammatical structures that consist of a subordinating conjunction followed by a subject and a predicate and that cannot function independently as complete sentences.

Dependent clause is a grammatical form.

Dependent clauses are either finite, meaning that the clause contains a conjugated verb functioning as a predicate, or nonfinite, meaning that the clause lacks a conjugated verb.

Noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverb clauses are the three dependent clauses in English grammar.

Some grammars use the terms subordinate clause for dependent clauses.

Dependent clauses contrast with independent clauses.


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman & Nina Hyams. 2006. An introduction to language. Boston: Wadsworth Publishing.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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