Let me start with the Definition of Clause: A clause is a group of words that are related and contains subject and verb as well.
It is a combination of powerful words as it can express a thought in itself.
It can also be defined as a group of words having a subject and predicate also. It can be put up in this way that each sentence has at least one clause in it.
- She laughed.
- I am eating.
- He sings song.
Above are simple examples that showcase that clause can be a simple sentence as well.
The clause can also be part of a compound sentence, which can consist of one or even more clauses.
Following are an example of the same.
- He is weeping (one clause).
- I waited for her, but she did not come. (Two clauses).
- My brother likes economics but, I like Physics as I want to be an engineer. (Three clauses).
Going by definition, the clause is a combination of words that have subject and verb both. Thus part of a simple sentence can be termed as a clause.
The following are examples.
- They are eating at a restaurant.
- I glanced at him in the street.
- He cooks pasta in the kitchen.
Some of the sentences may have more than one clauses. Below are the examples:
- I waited for him, but he did not come (two clauses).
Types of Clause
So, how many types of clauses in English Grammar? The majority, there are following two types of clauses.
- Independent clause (Main clause).
- Dependent clause (Subordinate clause).
Independent clause along with having subject and verb expresses a complete thought and can be held alone as well.
Here are some examples of Independent clause.
- She saw him.
- John hurried home.
- Free dinner has a price.
Grammatically complete sentences like above are statements that can stand alone. When similar to these are part of long sentences, it is called Independent clauses.
More than two main clauses can be fused by coordinating conjunctions like and, but, for, nor, so, yet, etc. and by even using semicolons. The most pivotal part to recall here is that main or independent clause can stand alone.
Following is the example where the main clause is a simple sentence.
- Priya brushed her lengthy, black hairs.
Next example is of coordinating conjunction where and joins two independent clauses.
- Rahul left, and Priya brushed her lengthy, black hairs.
Next example is where the semicolon is joining two independent clauses.
- Rahul left; Priya brushed her lengthy, black hairs.
- After she told Rahul to go, Priya brushed her black strands.
In the above sentence, independent clause (Priya brushed her lengthy, black hairs.) is preceded by a clause that cannot stand alone (After she told Rahul to leave).
- Priya brushed her lengthy, black strands while she waited for Rahul to leave.
In the above example again, an independent clause is followed by a clause that cannot stand alone: while she waited for Rahul to leave.
A dependent or subordinate clause has subject and verb; however, unlike Independent clause, it cannot stand alone. It always depends on other things in the sentence to express a complete thought. This is the reason why it is called Dependent clause.
Dependent clauses can function either as noun clauses, pronoun clauses, adjective clauses and adverb clauses in a sentence.
Types of the dependent clause
Noun clause functions as a noun in a sentence.
- That man told us how he escaped (Direct object of the verb told).
- What I want for dinner is a sandwich (Subject of the verb is).
- Give it to whoever arrives first (object of the preposition to).
A pronoun clause is always governed by the role it plays in its term.
- They offered money to whoever presented ticket first (Here entire clause is the object of the preposition).
An adjective clause is a dependent clause that modifies noun or pronoun.
Adjective clause always begins with words like when, where, who, whom, whose, etc.
- We are going to a beach that I like most (that I like best is an adjectives clause, It contains subject I and verb like and clause modifies the noun beach).
Most of the adverbial clause beginning with subordinating clauses like unless, if, because, when, although.
- When volcano started erupting and throwing lava in air, we drove away as fast as we could.
Difference between Clause and Phrases
The phrase is a collection of words that defines a concept and is used as a unit in a sentence.
Example of the phrase: on a table, near the wall, at the door.
Both clauses and expressions (phrases) can be found in a single sentence.
- The cat is sleeping under the table.
- She is drawing a map on the wall.
Under the table and on the wall are a phrase in the above example and rest are the clauses.
Critical differences between Phrase and Clause
- A group of two or more words related to one another that delivers a single unit is a phrase whereas a clause is a part of the sentence that has a subject and a finite verb form which acts.
- A phrase is a part of a sentence or a clause whereas clause is a sentence fragment.
- A phrase does not have a subject and predicate whereas a clause has a subject and verb.
- The clause can stand alone as a whole sentence while the phrase does not.
- Clauses are larger units whereas phrases are the smaller part of the sentence.
Example of both Clause and Phrase
She lives near my friend’s home (phrase).
She understands what you cannot explain in words (clause).
Above is all about the clause, phrases, types and their differences with examples that can help you out in clearing your concept.
Video lesson on Clauses
By education, Saswata is a Mechanical Engineer from a reputed University in India, however, during his education, he feels that his English is not really great to compete with others, that’s why he started working to improve his English and ending with a good written and verbal ability. He will tell you what he learned and how you can do that same thing also. Although he doesn’t waste his knowledge of Engineering, Saswata is also the Co-founder of India’s one of the trusted Mechanical Blog “Learn Mechanical” and got over 40 thousand readers a month.