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"A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence. Often a dependent clause is marked by a dependent marker word" (Purdue University, n.d., para. 2). For example: "When I left the room..."; more information is required to make this a complete thought.

Dependent marker words

A dependent marker word is "a word added to the beginning of an independent clause that makes it into a dependent clause" (Purdue University, n.d., para. 4). Common dependent marker words include: although, in order to, since, though, unless, until, when, and while.

For more information regarding dependent clauses, dependent marker words, punctuating dependent clauses, and joining dependent clauses with independent clauses, please view the Commas, Semicolons, and Colons video in Punctuation.


Purdue University. (n.d.). Identifying independent and dependent clauses. Purdue Online Writing Lab.