Identifying Independent Clauses Practice Questions
Select the answer choice that identifies the independent clause in each sentence.
1. By the time that he arrived at the house, the rest of the group already had left.
- The rest of the group already had left
- By the time that he arrived at the house
- That he arrived at the house
- The rest of the group
2. If it is raining, you should take an umbrella.
- If it is raining
- You should take
- An umbrella
- You should take an umbrella
- When you go
- Be sure to bring sunscreen
- To the beach
- When you go to the beach
4. I know that you still are waiting.
- I know that you
- You are still
- I know
5. This painting is a work that has endured for many centuries.
- This painting is a work
- That has endured
- For many centuries
- A work that has endured
6. She is a lovely person; I have always liked her.
- She is a lovely person
- I have always liked her
- Both answers A and B
- Person; I have always
7. I was born after the Korean War began but before it ended.
- After the Korean War began
- I was born
- Before it ended
- But before it ended
8. The people in her office did not know, so she went to ask somebody else.
- The people in her office
- To ask somebody else
- So she went to ask somebody else
- The people in her office did not know
9. Allen, Pat, and John went together, and Doris, Shirley, and I met them there.
- Allen, Pat, and John
- Doris, Shirley, and I
- And Doris, Shirley, and I met them there
- Allen, Pat, and John went together
10. You will need some basic art supplies, for example, a sketch pad and pencils, to begin.
- You will need some basic art supplies
- A sketch pad and pencils
- For example, a sketch pad and pencils
- Some basic art supplies, for example
Answers – Identifying Independent Clauses
1. A: This is an independent clause, i.e. it could stand alone as a complete sentence. B is not an independent clause because it begins with the subordinating phrase “By the time that,” making this clause subordinate or dependent on clause A. Without this subordinator, “he arrived at the house” by itself would be independent clause. C is another example of a subordinate or dependent clause (a nominative/noun clause), because of the introductory “that.” D contains nouns and includes prepositions and articles but no verb, so it is not a sentence or an independent clause.
2. D: This independent clause has a subject (you), an auxiliary verb (should), a transitive verb (take), an article (an), and the verb’s object (umbrella). “If it is raining” (A) is a dependent or subordinate clause, specifically a conditional clause, a type of adverbial clause stating a condition introduced by the subordinating conjunction “if.” B is incomplete because “take” is a transitive verb requiring an object (an umbrella) to complete it. C has a noun and its article but no verb, so it also is incomplete.
3. B: This is a complete sentence. Its subject is “you understood,” i.e. when the imperative form of a verb (to be) is used, the noun “you” is assumed though unstated. “Be” is a linking verb with the adjective “sure” as its complement. The transitive verb “to bring” modifies “sure” and takes the object noun “sunscreen.” “When you go” (A) is a subordinate clause introduced by the adverb “When” and dependent on the independent clause (B). “To the beach” is a prepositional phrase. “When you go to the beach” (D) is a dependent clause like A, but with the prepositional phrase added.
4. C: This is a complete sentence and hence an independent clause: it contains a subject (I) and predicate (know). Choice A contains both this clause and part of the dependent clause “that you are still waiting.” The dependent/subordinate clause is a nominative clause introduced by the subordinator “that.” Without this subordinator it would be an independent clause (“you are still waiting”). B has a subject (you) and verb (are), but the adverb “still,” indicating manner, requires something to modify which is missing (“waiting”). D is a verb and by itself is not a phrase, clause, or sentence.
5. A: This is an independent clause with an article, subject noun, verb, article, and object. B is a relative clause dependent on the independent clause. It modifies the noun “work” and is introduced by the subordinator “that.” C is a prepositional phrase modifying the verb “has endured.” D is a phrase: it has a noun and relative clause but no predicate (the existing verb is part of the relative dependent clause). It would only be independent without “that.”
6. C: Both of these are independent clauses, separated correctly by a semicolon. Each has a subject and predicate and could stand alone as a complete sentence. An alternative style choice would be to separate them with a period as two sentences. D consists of two incomplete fragments: a noun with no associated predicate and a semicolon, followed by a noun, auxiliary verb, and adverb, but no verb for the auxiliary verb and adverb to modify.
7. B: This is a complete sentence and therefore an independent clause. A is part of a dependent clause made subordinate by the introductory adverb “after.” The entire dependent clause is made up of two smaller dependent clauses linked by the conjunction “but.” C is the second smaller dependent clause. D is the same as C, except that it also includes the conjunction “but,” which connects the two adverbial clauses “after the Korean War began” and “before it ended.”
8. D: This is the only independent clause of the choices offered. It makes a complete sentence on its own. A has a subject and a prepositional phrase modifying the subject (people), but no verb. B has a verb and an object, but no subject. C could only be an independent clause without the introductory conjunction “so.” Because “so” is there, it is a subordinate clause, dependent on the independent clause (D).
9. D: This is the only choice with an independent clause. This sentence is made up of two independent clauses, connected by the coordinating conjunction “and.” (They are correctly separated by a semicolon because there are commas within each independent clause.) A is a series of proper nouns (names) with a conjunction (and) but no verb. B is the same. C is not an independent clause because it includes the coordinating conjunction “and,” which is not part of either independent clause but instead serves to connect them.
10. A: This is an independent clause with a subject (You), verb (will need), and object (art supplies, modified by the adjectives “some” and “basic”). B is a phrase because it has no predicate, only nouns, an article, and a conjunction. C and D also have no verbs and thus are phrases.