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What is a Clause? Definition

What is a Clause? Definition

A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a predicate. A clause can be either independent or dependent. An independent clause (also known as a main clause) makes sense by itself. A dependent clause (also known as a subordinate clause) cannot stand alone—it must be attached to an independent clause. Now that we know what a clause is, let’s take a more in-depth look at the two types of clauses: independent and dependent.

What is a clause?

A clause is a unit of grammar that consists of a subject and a predicate. A clause can be either independent or dependent. An independent clause (also called a main clause) makes sense by itself, whereas a dependent clause (also called a subordinate clause) does not.

Subjects and predicates can be simple or complex. A simple subject is just one word (usually a noun or pronoun), whereas a complex subject is two or more words. Likewise, a simple predicate is just one verb (usually an action verb), whereas a complex predicate is two or more words ( often including an auxiliary verb).

Here are some examples of clauses:

The boy kicks the ball. [independent clause]

Because the boy kicks the ball, the ball rolls across the room. [dependent clause]

The different types of clauses

There are three main types of clauses: independent, dependent, and subordinate.

Independent clauses are stand-alone sentences. They express a complete thought and can be used on their own. Dependent clauses also express a complete thought, but they cannot be used alone—they must be attached to an independent clause. Subordinate clauses are like dependent clauses in that they cannot stand alone, but unlike dependent clauses, they do not express a complete thought.

Adjective Clauses

An adjective clause is a type of dependent clause that modifies a noun or pronoun in the main clause. Adjective clauses are also known as relative clauses. Relative clauses are so called because they include a relative pronoun (who, whom, whose, that, or which) that refers to an antecedent in the main clause. The most common relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, that, and which. Who and whom refer to people; whose refers to possession; that refers to both people and things; and which refers to things only.

Noun Clauses

A noun clause is a clause that functions as a noun in a sentence. Noun clauses can act as the subject or object of a verb, or they can be embedded within another clause. Noun clauses typically begin with words such as “that,” “what,” “whether,” and “who.”

Verb Clauses

A clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a predicate. In other words, a clause must have both a noun and a verb. A verb clause is a type of clause that contains only a verb. Verb clauses are often used to express action or state the condition of something. The following are examples of verb clauses:

-I am eating lunch.
-He washes his car every Saturday.
-If you go outside, please put on a jacket.

Verb clauses can be either independent or dependent. An independent verb clause can stand alone as a complete sentence, whereas a dependent verb clause cannot. Dependent verb clauses are often introduced by subordinating conjunctions such as “if,” “when,” or “because.” The following are examples of dependent and independent verb clauses:

Dependent: If you finish your homework, you can watch TV.
Independent: I finished my homework, so now I can watch TV.

Pay attention to the word order in each example above! In English, the subject always comes before the predicate in an independent clause, but this word order is reversed in a dependent clause. This is because subordinate conjunctions must come first in order for the clause to be considered dependent.

How to use clauses in a sentence

A clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a predicate. The predicate is the verb (action or being) in the sentence, and the subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about. In English, clauses are often set off by commas.

Here are some examples of clauses:

The boy who was riding his bike down the street fell off when he hit a pothole.
This is a dependent clause because it cannot stand alone as a complete sentence; it needs an independent clause to go with it. The independent clause in this sentence is “The boy fell off his bike.” The dependent clause tells us more information about the boy—in this case, how he fell off his bike.

I adopted the dog from the shelter last week.
This is an independent clause because it can stand alone as a complete sentence; it doesn’t need any other information to make sense.

Conclusion

A clause is a syntactic unit consisting of a subject and a predicate. A clause is typically characterized as either independent or dependent. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence, whereas a dependent clause cannot. The term “subordinate clause” is often used interchangeably with “dependent clause.”

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