Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses

Practice Exercises

An independent clause (also known as a main clause) is a word group that has both a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence. A dependent clause (also known as a subordinate clause) is a word group that has both a subject and a verb but can't stand alone as a sentence. This exercise will help you recognize the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause.


For each item below, write independent if the group of words is an independent clause or dependent if the group of words is a dependent clause.

The details in this exercise have been loosely adapted from the essay "Bathing in a Borrowed Suit," by Homer Croy.


  1. ____________________
    I went to the beach last Saturday
  2. ____________________
    I borrowed an old bathing suit from a friend
  3. ____________________
    because I had forgotten to bring my own bathing suit
  4. ____________________
    while the waist on my borrowed suit would have been tight on a doll
  5. ____________________
    my friends were waiting for me to join them
  6. ____________________
    when suddenly they stopped talking and looked away
  7. ____________________
    after some rude boys came up and began to make insulting remarks
  8. ____________________
    I abandoned my friends and ran into the water
  9. ____________________
    my friends invited me to play in the sand with them
  10. ____________________
    although I knew that I had to come out of the water eventually
  11. ____________________
    a large dog chased me down the beach
  12. ____________________
    as soon as I got out of the water


    1. independent
    2. independent
    3. dependent
    4. dependent
    5. independent
    6. dependent
    7. dependent
    8. independent
    9. independent
    10. dependent
    11. independent
    12. dependent