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Identifying Clauses Exercise
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Review: Complex sentences consist of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. This is just a way of saying that complex sentences combine unequal thoughts. There is a connection between the thoughts, but one of them is more important. Conjunctions such as although, if, because, who, whenever, and since are used to introduce the dependent clause. What's really important is for you to find the two thoughts, determine which thought is more important, and decide how the two thoughts are related.

The conjunctions used in complex sentences are:






even though




so that











Directions: Print a copy of this exercise. Use the conjunctions listed above to identify the less important thought, the dependent clause. Put brackets [ ] around the dependent clause. Then underline the more important thought, the independent clause.

Example: Since stress can affect your health] , it is important to develop techniques for coping with stress .

Explanation: The dependent clause is introduced by the conjunction since. The independent clause—the thought the author most wants readers to understand and remember—is it is important to develop techniques for coping with stress.

  1. College is stressful, although it is very exciting.
  2. Before they can cope with stress, college students must first identify their sources of stress.
  3. While fact that college is stressful is not a new discovery, a 1999 UCLA study found college students feel more overwhelmed than ever with responsibility and the pressure to excel.
  4. Although both male and female students experience stress, twice as many female students as male students report they frequently feel overwhelmed.
  5. Even though students report stress over grades and exams, many college stressors have little to do with academics.
  6. When they list sources of stress, college students identify leaving home, relationship difficulties, and financial concerns as significant causes of stress.
  7. More financial stress is experienced by female students, who are concerned they will not have enough money to finish their education.
  8. Once they master the skill, effective time management reduces college students' stress.
  9. College students can prepare themselves for both the excitement and the stress of college, if they enter it with realistic expectations.
  10. Whenever they feel stress, college students can remind themselves that coping successfully with stress in college is good training for career and life.


Elder, J. Entryways into College Reading and Learning. Copyright © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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