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From the following sentences, which sentence contains a dependent clause?

  1. Before taking the exam, my nephew studied really hard.
  2. I heard something strange when downloading some movies last night.
  3. The operator directly input the data after knowing about the repaired system.
  4. That my father has worked as a network designer for five years is true

Is option (1) the correct answer?

I'm a beginner in English and I got confused a lot when it comes to identifying dependent clauses. I hope somebody can help. Thank you.

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  • Please edit your question to tell us for each one what you think and why so people can help you better.
    – mdewey
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 16:17
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    I've edited the post. I'm sorry I'm new to this website
    – Qeio29124
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 16:21
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    A dependent clause is defined as a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. By implication, the subject in a dependent clause can't be the same thing as the main subject in a sentence containing a dependent clause (but I've no idea if there are any here). The only subjects in #1, #2, and #3 are "my nephew", "I", and "the operator". But #4 has as its "primary" subject the entire noun phrase [the fact] that my father has worked as a network designer for five years, and within that np is the "embedded" lower-level subject "my father". Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 16:39

1 Answer 1

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[1] Before [taking the exam,] my nephew studied really hard.

[2] I heard something strange when [downloading some movies last night].

[3] The operator directly input the data after [knowing about the repaired system].

[4] [That my father has worked as a network designer for five years] is true.

A dependent (usually subordinate) clause is one that is dependent on some other element in the sentence.

All your examples contain a dependent clause, each surrounded by square brackets.

In [1-3], the ing clauses are dependents of the prepositions "before", "when" and "after". In [4], the subordinate that clause is a dependent one by virtue of being a complement of the verb "be".

Note that traditional grammar takes "before", "when" and "after" as subordinating conjunctions; thus the clauses they introduce are subordinate , i.e. dependent ones.

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