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What is a clause?

Grammar Worksheets | 7-14 yrs | Learning Pod, Interactive

Definition of clause

A clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a predicate. Every complete sentence is made of atleast one clause.

Examples: Michelle runs every morning.
The sentence has both :
Subject – Michelle
Predicate – runs
The sentence has one subject – Michelle. It speaks about Michelle, who runs every morning. So the sentence has one clause.

Different types of clauses with examples

Independent clause

These clauses can complete a sentence independently.

Examples
Tara is a marathon runner.
This sentence has one clause. It is a simple sentence. You don’t need another clause, to complete it to speak about Tara’s action.
If we need to describe more about Tara, then we need to add more clauses. This makes the sentence compound, complex or compound – complex. The clause that we add will then be a dependent clause or clauses.

Most sentence we use in our language are complex. These sentences are complex.
Michelle runs every morning, but she has never run a marathon.
Tara runs the marathon, because she is fit and strong.
It has one subject and two clause. Can you find them and identify which is the main clause and which is the sub-ordinate clause?

Michelle runs every morning, but she has never run a marathon.
Michelle runs every morning.
Answer : Main Clause
she has never run a marathon
Answer: Subordinate Clause

Tara runs the marathon, because she is fit and strong.
Tara runs the marathon
Answer : Main Clause
because she is fit and strong.
Answer : Subordinate Clause

Dependent clause

A dependent clause cannot complete a thought to be communicated on its own. It will need another clause to complete the sentence.

Dependent or sub-ordinate clause are of three types:

1. Noun clause

The noun clause plays the role of a noun in a sentence. Noun clauses contain a subject and a verb. They cannot stand on their own because they are not a complete thought and must be paired with the main clause. When using a noun clause, no commas are used.

Noun clause use words like Who, Whom, Whose, Which, Whoever, Whatever, Whenever, Whether, That if, What etc, to complete a thought when a single noun is not enough.

2. Adjective clause

The adjective clause plays the role like an adjective and modifies a noun or pronoun. it contains a subject and a verb that provides a description. Adjective clauses do not change the basic meaning of the sentence. They use commas if they are adding information to the sentence.

Adjective clause use words like That, When, Where, Who, Whom, Whose, Which and Why to provide information that is necessary for identifying the word it modifies. It provides additional meaning to a word which is already clear and always contains a subject and a verb.

3. Adverb clause

The adverb clause plays the role of modifying a verb, a clause, another adverb or any other phrase with the exception of determiners and adjectives that directly modify nouns.

Adverb clauses contain subordinate conjunctions that prevent them from containing complete thoughts and becoming full sentences. Adverb clause always answer the questions When, Why and How in a sentence.

Identify the type of clause

1. Is this the white dress you wore last week?
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

2. The doctor said she was ill and that she should take her medicine.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

3. You may practice piano till 7 pm daily.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adverb clause

4. Whatever you choose will be fine.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

5. The house that I once lived in is for sale.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

6. Please sit down whenever you drink water.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adverb clause

7. The lady who drives the red car lives next door.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

8. The magical frog disappeared whenever someone appeared.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

9. They have a cat that likes boiled fish.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

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