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Independent Clauses

An independent clause could stand by itself as a sentence. But, if it did, it would be a sentence and not a clause. When an independent clause is included in a sentence, it is usually separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. Being able to recognize when a clause is acting as an independent clause is essential to knowing when to use commas in avoiding sentence fragments and run-on sentences.

Two independent clauses can be combined into a single thought. For example, "Charlie didn't mean to run away, but he did it." In this example, two independent clauses are separated by a comma and a coordinating conjunction but. If the word but was missing, this example would be a comma splice.


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