Types of Clauses in English Grammar
What is a clause?
A clause is a part of a sentence.
A clause is a group of words that has subject and predicate. Every complete sentence is made up of at least one or more clause(s). Following are clause examples:-
John bought a new car. (One sentence, one clause)
John bought a new car, but he is using his old car. (One sentence, two clauses)
Types of Clauses.
Every clause has at least a subject and a verb. Clauses have some characteristics that help to distinguish one type of clause from another. Clauses are of following types:-
- Independent Clauses (Main Clause)
- Dependent Clauses (Subordinate Clause)
- Relative Clauses (Adjective Clause)
- Noun Clauses
An independent (or main clause) is a complete sentence. It contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in context and meaning. It expresses a complete thought.
Independent clause structure: Subject + Verb = Complete Thought.
For example: She walked. (This sentence contains only two words but it is still complete because it has subject and predicate)
Main clauses can be joined by a coordinating conjunction to form complex or compound sentences.
For example: He bought new car but he is still using old one. “but” is used to combine two independent clauses.
A dependent clause (or subordinate clause) is part of a sentence; it contains a subject and verb but does not convey complete sense. They can make sense on their own, but, they are dependent on the rest of the sentence for context and meaning. A dependent clause is joined to an independent clause to form a complex sentence. It often starts with a subordinating conjunction.
|before||even if||even though||if|
|once||provided that||rather than||so that|
Dependent clause structure: Subordinate Conjunction + Subject + Verb = Incomplete Thought.
Examples: Whenever I go to superstore, I buy chips.
A relative clause starts with the relative pronoun at the start of the clause like who, which, whose etc. To make distinction between an antecedent that is a human “who(m)” and an antecedent which is a non-human “which”. Following will make it clear further.
Who(m) is used when the antecedent is a person.
That is used to refer to either a person or thing.
Which is used to refer to anything except a person.
(It is noteworthy that whom is not used much in spoken English.)
Relative Clauses Examples
- I met my friends yesterday. The friend, who had curly hair, was very intelligent.
- The race was the one that I lost.
RESTRICTIVE RELATIVE CLAUSES AND NON-RESTRICTIVE RELATIVE CLAUSES
Restrictive relative clauses are sometimes called defining relative clauses, or identifying relative clauses. Similarly, non-restrictive relative clauses are called non-defining or non-identifying relative clauses and is preceded by a pause in speech or a comma in writing.
Restrictive Clause Example:
The programmer who develops web applications will make a large profit.
Non-Restrictive Clause Example:
The programmer, who develops web applications, will make a large profit.
|Subject||who, that||which, that||who||which|
|Object||who, whom, that||which, that||who, whom||which|
|Possessive||whose, of whom||whose, of which||whose, of whom||whose, of which|
Noun Clauses: It is a dependent clause that works as noun. Noun clauses can act as subject, direct or indirect objects or predicate nominatives. Some examples are as under:-
- Tell me who left his book on the table. (direct object)
- I shall tell whoever will listen my interesting story. (indirect object)
- Whoever is the last one to leave turns off the lights. (subject)
- The boy with the curled hair is who I want on my team. (predicate nominative)
Noun clauses often begin with pronouns or other words. That particular word usually has a grammatical function in the sentence.
- Relative pronouns: that, what, who, which, whom, whose
- Indefinite relative pronouns: whoever, whomever, whatever, whichever, whether, if
- Interrogative adjective: what
- Interrogative adverb: how
- Interrogative pronoun: who
- Subordinating conjunctions: whenever, how, when, if, where, whether, why