Grammar and Punctuation: Dependent Clauses and Introductory Words

A dependent clause is a group of words that have a subject and verb, but do not form a complete thought and cannot stand alone. Introductory words change an independent clause (a complete sentence) to a dependent clause. Take the sentence "I ran." There's a subject and verb, but the absence of an introductory word allows it to be an independent clause. If you add an introductory word like "after," you get "After I ran." That's not to say a fragment like that won't ever wind up in a transcript, but it's still important to know in the editing process.

There are two types of introductory words: relative pronouns and subordinate conjunctions. There are far too many subordinate conjunctions to list here, but here are some of the most common ones:

Relative pronouns on the other hand are not as numerous. There are only five relative pronouns: who, whom, whose, which, and that.

Tomorrow we'll get in to how you can connect independent and dependent clauses.

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