Clauses: Learning Clauses in English Grammar

A clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express complete proposition and it consists of a subject and a predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers.

  • Independent clause (Subject + verb)

    • Example, My dog loves pizza crusts: dog = subject and loves = verb)

  • Dependent clause ( before, after, because, since, in order to, although, though)

    • Example, Because my dog loves pizza crusts, he never barks the delivery man

  • Relative clause (relative pronouns: who, whom, whose, which, that), (relative adverbs: when, where, why)

    • Example, Who loves pizza crusts

    • Where he chews and drools with great enthusiasm.

    • Complete sentence: My dog Angie, who loves pizza crusts, eats them under the kitchen table, where he chews and drools with great enthusiasm.

Here are some practice questions:

1. My cat loves grain free biscuits. Identify the type of clause in the sentence.

(A) Main or Independent Clause

(B) Subordinate or Dependent Clause

(C) Adjective or Relative Clause

(D) None of these

Answer: a

Why? Main or Independent Clause follows the pattern: Subject+Verb. Every sentence must have at least one main clause.

  • Cat is subject and loves is verb.

2. Because my mother heard songs, she never gets bored. Identify the type of clause in the sentence.

(A) Main or Independent Clause

(B) Subordinate or Dependent Clause

(C) Adjective or Relative Clause

(D) None of these

Answer: b

Why? Subordinate or Dependent Clause follows the pattern: SubordinateConjunction+Subject+Verb. Subordinate Clause can never stand alone as complete sentences. To complete the thought, we have to attach each subordinate clause to a main clause. Subordinate conjunctions are like ‘whenever, because, as, before, after, since, in order to, although, though, etc.’

  • Because is subordinate conjunction, my mother is subject and heard is verb.

3. Where Ms. Patel threw the ball? Identify the type of clause in the sentence.

(A) Main or Independent Clause

(B) Subordinate or Dependent Clause

(C) Adjective or Relative Clause

(D) None of these

Answer: c

Why? Adjective or Relative Clause begins with relative pronouns like who, whose, whom, which, that or relative adverbs like when, where, why.

  • This sentence starts with relative adverb ‘where’, so it contains relative clause.

4. Her brother became first ranker all over the city. Identify the Main clause from the sentence.

(A) First ranker

(B) Brother becomes

(C) All over the city

(D) Her brother

Answer: b

Why? Main or Independent Clause follows the pattern: Subject+Verb. Every sentence must have at least one main clause.

  • Brother is subject and becomes is verb.

5. Find the sentences which contain subordinate clause.

(1) I felt weakness because fever spreads in whole body.

(2) Neha ran till she reached to the end line.

(3) Whenever you got free, call me for study.

(A) (1) and (2)

(B) (2) and (3)

(C) (1) and (3)

(D) All of these

Answer: c

Why? Subordinate or Dependent Clause follows the pattern: SubordinateConjunction+Subject+Verb. Subordinate Clause can never stand alone as complete sentences. To complete the thought, we have to attach each subordinate clause to a main clause. Subordinate conjunctions are like ‘whenever, because, as, before, after, since, in order to, although, though, etc.’

  • “I felt weakness because fever spreads in whole body”, here because is subordinate conjunction, fever is subject and spreads is verb.

  • “Whenever you got free, call me for study”, here whenever is subordinate conjunction, you is subject and got is verb.

6. Find the sentence which contains Adjective Clause.

(A) Misha marks the place where she went in rainy days.

(B) I am curious as my brother prepares surprise for me.

(C) My school is selected winner from all other schools.

(D) None of these

Answer: a

Why? Adjective or Relative Clause begins with relative pronouns like who, whose, whom, which, that or relative adverbs like when, where, why.

  • So, the first sentence “Misha marks the place where she went in rainy days” which contains relative adverb ‘where’, so it contains adjective or relative clause.

  • “I am curious as my brother prepares surprise for me” contains subordinate or dependent clause “as my brother prepares” where ‘as’ is subordinate conjunction, ‘brother’ is subject and ‘prepares’ is verb.

  • “My school selected winner from all other schools” contains main or independent clause “My school is selected winner” where ‘my school’ is subject and ‘selected’ is verb.