1. This is because they have already gone home.

In this sentence "because they have already gone home" is an dependent clause of independent clause "this is". Here my doubt is "this is" a main clause?

2.We went to the movie and then we went to restaurant near the theatre.

In this sentence "then we went to restaurant near the theatre" is an independent clause. Here my doubt is, can we start independent clause with "then"?

  • 1) There is does not appear in your first sentence. 2) have gone their home is not idiomatic English: you want have gone home or have gone to their home. Sep 28, 2017 at 13:32
  • This is is your main clause, yes.
    – user231780
    Sep 28, 2017 at 15:11
  • @BlackandWhite Not really. The main clause is This is because they have already gone home. The reason is that the because-phrase here is the complement of the verb be and therefore inside the main clause. However, if the sentence had been This is, because they have already gone home (notice the comma there) then the main clause would indeed have been This is and the because-string would have been an Adjunct. Sep 28, 2017 at 15:15
  • This is can stand alone, though, as it's a complete independent clause. @Araucaria
    – user231780
    Sep 28, 2017 at 15:19
  • @BillJ Well, they can if there is VP ellipsis. So for example: "What's the best beach cabin to use?" "This is, because they have already gone home". In that last sentence, "This is" is a main clause (embedded of course within the matrix clause). Sep 28, 2017 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


In the sentence "This is because they have already gone gone home," the main clause is indeed "This is" with an implicit complement of "true" or "correct." The "this" is being used as a substantive representing something said previously.

"This is because Y" means "[The previous statement] is [true] because Y." No native speaker will wince at "This is because Y."

Although it is grammatical, it is very informal and wordy in style. I would be very unlikely to write (except as realistic dialogue)

"X. This is because Y."

Instead I would be likely to write

"X because Y." But people do not necessarily speak in the way that they should write.

As for the second question, where A and B are independent clauses

"A and then B" is not punctuated as I would like, but "A, and then B" is perfectly proper English. "Then" is being used to indicate a temporal sequence.

  • We went to the movie and then we went to restaurant near the theatre. "Then,now, and after" all here are adverbs. All adverbs that can tell us when we can be placed at the beginning of the sentence to emphasize the time element. Am I right?
    – nanu1
    Sep 29, 2017 at 4:37
  • But because ... home is a Complement of the verb here. So it is inside the clause headed by is, and the clause with is is ungrammatical without it. Therefore this is is not a main clause. Sep 29, 2017 at 13:39
  • This is a good illustration of the grammar of spoken English. This is because written formal English differs from what people actually say. "This is" followed by a clause introduced by when, because, why, how, what, etc. are very common in speech. And I would not get my knickers in a twist over this form.
    – Lambie
    Jun 27, 2018 at 17:35

Sentence 1 is a perfectly good and grammatical sentence. It's evidently an explanation of some sort, but, since it is alone, we don't know what it is explaining. It ought to follow some other sentence, such as "They're no longer at the party." [But that's not what the OP asked about.]

Sentence 2 is also a perfectly good and grammatical sentence. To answer the accompanying question, yes, of course you can begin an independent clause with "then" (which in this case has the meaning of "subsequently").

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