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I'm trying to determine whether a clause with an implied subject can be considered independent - specifically in the case of compound sentences.

For example: "I was tired, but went to the party anyway."

To my thinking, the second clause is an independent clause because the reiterated "I" is implied, but I can't find much to back this up. Thoughts?

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This is of course a bit different from your example, but imperative clauses are definitely independent clauses that have, mandatorily, a null subject. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 12 at 10:21
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Traditionally, you would not write that comma (although I agree it often looks better or easier to parse if you do add one). You would either write I was tired but went to the party anyway or I was tired, but I went to the party anyway. –  Cerberus Jan 13 at 19:02
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4 Answers

Bill J puts it clearly (I admit I've tidied a bit):

‘They have appeared on message boards and in blogs, and have been spread by word of mouth’.

...

Concerning your question about the conjoining of clauses: although ... the second clause above may seem dependent because it appears to have no subject, that’s not actually the case. ‘They’ is the subject of both clauses, but it is left out of the second clause because it would otherwise repeat what has been said in the first clause. This process is called ellipsis. [Both] the clauses [here] are independent. Bill J

As usual, accepted terminology can hide some of the facts. You'd never say 'I went to the party anyway' without previous context showing that this was a rather unexpected course of action. 'I went to the party', yes. So 'independent' is perhaps a not totally accurate label here. However, it's the accepted one, and addresses the syntactic structure rather than the semantics involved.

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I'm trying to determine whether a clause with an implied subject can be considered independent - specifically in the case of compound sentences.

For example:

  • "I was tired, but went to the party anyway."

To my thinking, the second clause is an independent clause because the reiterated "I" is implied, but I can't find much to back this up. Thoughts?

*

Your example sentence is not a compound sentence, nor is the 2nd clause an independent clause.

A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses. Your example only has one independent clause. Your example has a compound verb phrase or it can be seen as a coordination of verb phrases. The two verb phrases are: "was tired", "went to the party anyway".

An independent clause can stand on its own as an independent sentence. Your expression "but went to the party anyway" cannot do that. (Well, not without surrounding context being understood and the use of ellipsis.)

EDITED: Here are examples of compound sentences with two independent clauses:

  • "I was tired, but I went to the party anyway."

  • "Get off the grass and go home!"

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Hmmmm, I'm not sure that I agree, but I am no expert here. To my way of thinking, the compound element, in both sentences above, is a compound verb:

"I was tired, but went..." (the comma here would be used to signify contradiction or opposition, but not a compound sentence)

"they have appeared... and have been spread." (here, if a comma is needed at all, it is only to make more visible the second coordinate element because the word "and" was included in the first one.)

The purpose of parallelism is to reduce repetition and strengthen otherwise flabby writing, and that might mean making compound sentences simple ones.That ellipsis is what makes these sentences non-compound, I believe.

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The last post is correct. In order to be considered (and perhaps "classified" would be a better term) independent, there must be a subject and verb present in the clause, and the clause must express a complete thought. The first example above is not a compound sentence structure combining independent clauses; it is an independent clause with a subject and two verbs (S+V+V). Properly considered, the comma is a punctuation error.

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Welcome to ELU. This site does not work in the same way as a forum. The answer section is for answering the question, not commenting on other posts. Please take time to read the tour section located above under the help tab. I believe there is an answer here, so I'm not flagging it. But, knee jerk would be to flag this as not an answer. –  David M Mar 11 at 20:32
    
Also, the claim that the comma is a punctuation error is wrong. –  virmaior Mar 11 at 20:34
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