I'm going to keep this simple because I'm up to my eyeballs in sawdust (see yesterday's post.)
There are two types of clauses in English--the independent and the dependent.
Before your click finger goes rogue (out of boredom) and clicks on the nearest shiny thing, stick with me.
An independent clause is simply a sentence--it expresses a complete thought:
Bob went to the store for a drink of water.
A dependent clause is an incomplete thought and often preceded with a "dependent marker word".
When Bob went to the store for a drink of water...
See? What happens when Bob went to the store for a drink of water? Huh? Don't leave us hanging. The dependent marker word often makes a clause dependent. Notice how our complete thought (the independent clause) was actually shorter than the incomplete thought? Nobody said language was supposed to make sense.
Oh wait--yes, it should make sense.
Many dependent marker words (a fancy way of saying adverbs and conjunctions) are lurking out there, waiting for you...
Next week, I'll tackle conjunctions (the matchmakers of clauses) and help fix "dependent clause-itis". That is, if I'm not buried in house rubble.