Clause

For English 101

Main Clauses

  1. main clause. a clause that can stand alone as a sentence, containing a subject and a predicate with a finite verb, as I was there in the sentence I was there when he arrived. As may be used as a relative pronoun when such stands in the main clause. They have, therefore, a logical dependence on the main clause.



Every main clause will follow this pattern:

Subject + Verb = Complete Thought.

Here are some examples:

Lazy students whine.

Students = subject; whine = verb.

Cola spilled over the glass and splashed onto the counter.

Cola = subject; spilled, splashed = verbs.

Subordinate Clauses

  1. A clause that modifies the principal clause or some part of it or that serves a noun function in the principal clause, as when she arrived in the sentence I was there when she arrived or that she has arrived in the sentence I doubt that she has arrived.



A subordinate clause will follow this pattern:

Subordinate Conjunction + Subject + Verb =Incomplete Thought.

Here are some examples:

Whenever lazy students whine

Whenever = subordinate conjunction; students = subject;whine = verb.

As cola spilled over the glass and splashed onto the counter

As = subordinate conjunction; cola = subject; spilled, splashed= verbs.

Relative Clauses

  1. A relative clause is one kind of dependent clause. It has a subject and verb, but can't stand alone as a sentence. It is sometimes called an “adjective clause” because it functions like an adjective—it gives more information about a noun.




A relative clause will begin with a relative pronoun [such as who,whom, whose, which, or that] or a relative adverb [when, where, or why].

The patterns look like these:

Relative Pronoun or Adverb + Subject + Verb =Incomplete Thought.

Relative Pronoun as Subject + Verb = Incomplete Thought.


Noun Clauses

  1. Noun clauses are subordinate clauses that are used like nouns--as subjects, objects, and complements. Before looking at the grammar of noun clauses, please analyze the following examples carefully.


Any clause that functions as a noun becomes a noun clause. Look at this example:

You really do not want to know the ingredients in Aunt Nancy's stew.

Ingredients = noun.

If we replace the noun ingredients with a clause, we have a noun clause:

You really do not want to know what Aunt Nancy adds to her stew.

What Aunt Nancy adds to her stew = noun clause.