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main clause



A group of words made up of a subject and a predicate. A main clause (unlike a dependent or subordinate clause) can stand alone as a sentence. A main clause is also known as an independent clause.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible."
    (Oscar Wilde)

  • "When liberty is taken away by force, it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default, it can never be recovered."
    (Dorothy Thompson)

  • "The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe."
    (H.L. Mencken)

  • "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
    (Ernest Hemingway)

  • "[A main clause is a] clause which bears no relation, or no relation other than coordination to any other or larger clause. Thus the sentence I said I wouldn't is as a whole a single main clause; in He came but I had to leave two main clauses are linked in coordination by but."
    (P.H. Matthews, "main clause," The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, Oxford University Press, 1997)

  • "An intelligence service is, in fact, a stupidity service."
    (E. B. White)

  • "This is the sixth book I've written, which isn't bad for a guy who's only read two."
    (George Burns)

  • "Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own."
    (Carol Burnett)

  • "Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try."
    (Fran Lebowitz)

  • "What's another word for 'thesaurus'?"
    (Steven Wright)

  • "A schedule defends from chaos and whim."
    (Annie Dillard)
Also Known As: base clause
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