As I understand it, an independent clause can make sense without depending on another clause or sentence.

However, in the example I'm looking at, they've stated that these are independent clauses, but they do not appear to be:

Mr. Potato Head eats them for breakfast every day, but I don't see the attraction.

It appears to me that the above sentence is not filled with two independent clauses, because:

  1. What Mr. Potato Head eats for breakfast (the direct object of eats) is not stated.
  2. It is not stated who "I" is.

Unless there is another sentence somewhere, before this sentence, these two clauses are not independent ones.

Am I missing something?

  • Independent as far as being able to stand alone (as sentences) does not mean each one alone is as completely understood when written as separate sentences. If you replace every day, but I don't with every day. I don't, you will see that each clause can stand alone as a sentence. – Davo Jan 8 '18 at 18:19
  • @Davo Can you please, define stand alone a bit better than I have? – leeand00 Jan 8 '18 at 18:26
  • Mr. Potato Head eats them for breakfast every day. - this is a complete sentence. I don't see the attraction. - this is also a complete sentence. Since they can each stand alone, they are independent clauses. – Davo Jan 8 '18 at 18:28
  • @Davo Can you define stand alone vs. not stand alone? – leeand00 Jan 8 '18 at 18:33
  • 1
    "Stand alone" means "be a complete grammatical sentence". – John Lawler Jan 8 '18 at 18:45

"What makes the two clauses in this sentence independent clauses?"

Both have the subject: Mr.Potato / I

and the predicate: eats them for breakfast every day / don't see the attraction

Both express the complete thought. He eats them for breakfast every day. I don't see the attraction.

Predicate - the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject.

but - coordinating conjunction connecting independent clauses; for dependent clauses we use subordinating conjunctions (while, although, as, etc ...).

  • This would be a better answer if you pointed readers to references. – Davo Jan 8 '18 at 21:34

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