An independent clause is a group of words with a noun or pronoun as a subject and a verb as a predicate. We have been calling it a sentence. When two clauses are put together and linked, they become a compound sentence (basically, two sentences in one).
The bell rang to end the last session.
We left the school.
The bell rang to end the last session, and we left the school.
Each clause could stand independently.
We also have subordinate clauses. They do not stand independently. They still have a subject and a predicate, but because they start with words such as when, which, that, and as, they are dependent (or subordinate) to another clause.
Here are examples of subordinate clauses and independent clauses. You’ll see that the blue ones could stand alone.
As we climbed higher up the mountain, the weather became worse.
When my dog sees a cat, she wants to chase it.
She called for help which was the sensible thing to do.
We also have clauses which act as other parts of speech. Some groups of words act as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.
Here are some examples where noun clauses act as:
a subject: That I am old is easy to see.
a direct object: Emma knows which bowl is hers.
a predicate noun: The answer is whatever you want it to be.
That is the dish that ran off with the spoon.
The show ended when the rain began to pour onto the stage.
I suppose you could call these other little clauses Santa’s Helpers. He’s the big Claus and these are all the little clauses.