Clauses. What is a clause?. A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and its verb. A phrase DOES NOT contain a subject and its verb whereas a clause ALWAYS contains a subject and its verb. Examples:. 1. Whenever I see a woodpecker. subject. verb.
1. Whenever I see a woodpecker
2. The girl with the yellow ribbons in her clause ALWAYS contains a subject and its verb.
hair stood outside of the movie theater.
There are two general categories of clauses:
Independent (or main) clauses
Subordinate (or dependent) clauses
Contains a subject, its verb, and a COMPLETE THOUGHT. Independent clauses can function as sentences.
I lost a shiny ring at the amusement park.
This sentence contains a subject, its verb, and a complete thought. This is an independent clause.
Contains a subject and a verb BUT DOES NOT EXPRESS A COMPLETE THOUGHT!!!! Subordinate clauses cannot stand alone as sentences; to make sense, they must attach to independent clauses. For this reason, subordinate clauses are sometimes called DEPENDENT clauses.
Whenever I go to the gym
While this group of words contains a subject and a verb, it does not contain a complete thought. This is a subordinate clause. Subordinate clauses are sometimes called dependent clauses.
Whenever I go to the gym, clause ALWAYS contains a subject and its verb.I drive through my old neighborhood.
This sentence now makes sense because the meaning of the subordinate clause is completed.
Adjective clause – used as an adjective; modifies a noun or a pronoun
A family is more than a group of people who are related.
“who are related” modifies people (a noun) and functions as an adjective. Since it contains a subject and its verb, it is a clause. Therefore, it is a subordinate clause functioning as an adjective.
Ex. I bought a car that travels very fast.
Ex. Some people still live in hunter-gatherer
societies, where a “family” may have 20 to
Ex. People who drink and drive can serve long prison sentences.
Ex. Irene, who is your first cousin, was
married last fall.
NONESSENTIAL CLAUSES ARE SET OFF BY COMMAS!!!!
Writers are often not sure whether to use that or which to introduce essential (restrictive) or nonessential (nonrestrictive) clauses. Follow these guidelines to use these words correctly.
That is used to introduce an essential clause.
Ex. The reception was held at a hotel that looks like a castle.
Which is used to introduce a nonessential clause.
Ex. The Clairmont Hotel, which looks like a castle, is 100 years old.
Ex. Most children leave home when the time is right.