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main clause

noun, Grammar
1.
a clause that can stand alone as a sentence, containing a subject and a predicate with a finite verb, as I was there in the sentence I was there when he arrived.
Also called independent clause.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for independent clause
Historical Examples
  • Sentence form—putting into an independent clause what is most important—has already been discussed under clearness.

    News Writing M. Lyle Spencer
  • And last, if it deserves such a distinction, the thought may demand an independent clause or a sentence for itself.

    English: Composition and Literature W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
  • A principal, main, or independent clause is one making a statement without the help of any other clause.

    An English Grammar W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell
  • A complex sentence is one containing an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

    Plain English Marian Wharton
  • The complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause.

    Public Speaking Clarence Stratton
  • Subordinate, joining a subordinate or dependent clause to a principal or independent clause.

    An English Grammar W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell
  • There is no independent clause or sentence which prohibits the States from exercising it.

    The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
British Dictionary definitions for independent clause

independent clause

noun
1.
(grammar) a main or coordinate clause Compare dependent clause

main clause

noun
1.
(grammar) a clause that can stand alone as a sentence Compare subordinate clause
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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independent clause in Culture

independent clause definition


A clause that can stand alone as a sentence. The following sentence consists of two independent clauses joined by but: “The farmers complained of the low price of food, but the office workers did not complain.” (Compare dependent clause.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for main clause

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for independent

15
19
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