independent clause – proposition indépendante


Let's Define It!

What's an *independent clause*?

An independent clause , known as proposition indépendante in French, is a clause which does not depend on any other clause and which has none under its control; it is self-sufficient because it has a complete meaning.

Please keep in mind that the premise of my definition uses the verb and its subject(s) as the basis for a clause. A clause traditionally has been defined as a group of words clustered around a verb.

A sentence can include just one independant clause --> Jean est déjà arrivé / John has already arrived.

A sentence can include several independant clauses with various subjects with an implied common verb --> Le ciel est bleu, le soleil jaune et les nuages blancs. / The sky is blue, the sun yellow and the clouds white.

A sentence can include several independant clauses with the same subject repeated in the each clause --> Il parle, il se tait et ensuite, il se remet à parler encore. He talks, he remains silent and then again he resumes talking.

A sentence can include several independent proposals with a common subject --> Chris écoute de la musique, regarde la télé, fait ses devoirs et va au lit. / Chris listens to music, watches TV, does his homework and goes to bed.

A sentence can include several independant clauses with different subjects in each clause --> Charles toussait dans son fauteuil, Christine parlait au téléphone, Alex faisait un gâteau au four. /Charles was coughing in his armchair, Christine was talking on the phone and Alex was baking a cake in the oven.


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Some examples of independant clauses follow below:

  • c'est une maison confortable. / It's a cozy house
  • Il mangea, se reposa un peu et reprit son travail.  He ate, rested a little and resumed his work. 
  • Le feu est chaud, la neige froide, l'eau tiède et moi brulant de fiève. / Fire is hot, snow cold, water lukewarm and I burning up with a fever.


Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?