Clauses: Definition, Types & Examples

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Clauses: Definition, Types & Examples

A clause is comprised of a group of words which includes a subject and a finite verb. A clause contains only one subject and one verb. The subject of a clause can be mentioned or hidden, but the verb must be apparent and distinguishable.

A clause “a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex or compound sentence. ” – Merriam-Webster

Example:

  • I graduated last year. (One clause sentence)
  • When I came here, I saw him. (Two clause sentence)
  • When I came here, I saw him, and he greeted me. (Three clause sentence)

 

Types of Clause

Clauses are mainly of two types:

Independent Clause

An independent clause functions on its own to make a meaningful sentence and looks much like a regular sentence.

In a sentence two independent clauses can be connected by the coordinators: and, but, so, or, nor, for*, yet*.

Example:

  • He is a wise man.
  • I like him.
  • Can you do it?
  • Do it please. (Subject you is hidden)
  • I read the whole story.
  • I want to buy a phone, but I don’t have enough money. (Two independent clauses)
  • He went to London and visited the Lords. (Subject of the second clause is ‘he,' so “he visited the Lords” is an independent clause.)
  • Alex smiles whenever he sees her. (One independent clause)

Dependent Clause

A dependent clause cannot function on its own because it leaves an idea or thought unfinished. It is also called subordinate clause. Dependent clauses help the independent clauses complete the sentence. A dependent clause alone cannot form a complete sentence.

The subordinators do the work of connecting the dependent clause to another clause to complete the sentence. In each of the dependent clause, the first word is a subordinator. Subordinators include relative pronouns, subordinating conjunctions, and noun clause markers.

Example:

  • When I was dating Daina, I had an accident.
  • I know the man who stole the watch.
  • He bought a car which was too expensive.
  • I know that he cannot do it.
  • He does not know where he was born.
  • If you don’t eat, I won’t go.
  • He is a very talented player though he is out of form.
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