If you beginning throwing out words like “Clause” and “Comma”, people will start to accuse you of using foul language. Worse yet, you might be labeled as a Grammar Nazi. Yikes!
Well, here is a little motivation for you: 95% of commas are extremely easy to remember. They are also the most important commas. I end this comma series of posts with “Miscellaneous Commas” and attempt to clarify the 5% of commas, but it is a bonus. That means 5 easy-to-remember rules will cover 95% of commas.
I remember thinking that clauses were confusing and complicated. Then, I revisited them. They couldn’t be more simple, and the best part is that they tell you where the most important commas of all go! They are also one of the most frequently used commas. That means this is the singly most useful post in this series. It is also the most simple!
Independent Clause. It takes less time to describe an independent clause that it takes to say, “independent clause.” An independent clause can stand as a sentence.
Ex: He ran.
Dependent Clause. Dependent clauses are just as easy to find, because they cannot stand as a sentence because they imply more content, even though they have a subject and verb.
Ex: When he ran.
Independent dependent. When the Independent comes first, it does not depend on the comma.
Ex: I jumped when he screamed.
Ex: When he screamed, I jumped.
Independent, CONJ independent – but remember, we cannot put independent clauses in a list. Applies to any conjunctions that are FANBOYS. For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So
He screamed, so I jumped.
He screamed, and I jumped.
He screamed, but I yelled.
He screamed; we jumped.
Independent; CONJUNCTIVE ADVERB, independent
He screamed; therefore, we jumped.
He screamed; then, we jumped. (NOTE: “He screamed, and, then, we jumped.” is also correct.)
Dependent, independent; independent. The most Complicated™ example I have.
When I ran, I tripped; my head hit the table.
That’s it, clause I said so.