The key difference between main clause and subordinate clause is that the main clause expresses a complete thought whereas the subordinate clause (or dependent clause) doesn’t express a complete thought.
A clause is a group of words that contain a subject and a predicate. Some clauses have the ability to express a complete meaning whereas some don’t. We can divide clauses into two categories according to this ability to express a complete thought: main clause or subordinate clause. Since main clause can convey a complete thought, it can stand independently. However, subordinate clause is dependent on the main clause since it cannot express a complete thought.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Main Clause
3. What is Subordinate Clause
4. Side by Side Comparison – Main Clause vs Subordinate Clause in Tabular Form
What is Main Clause?
A clause is a group of words that contain a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as an independent sentence. Let’s look at the following example:
He wanted to go to France because his mother was born there.
The underlined clause in the above sentence has a subject and a predicate. It also gives a complete meaning and can stand as an independent sentence. Therefore, it is a main clause.
Every sentence has at least one main clause. Some sentences can have two main clauses. We call such sentences compound sentences. The two main clauses in a compound sentence are combined with a coordinating conjunction.