3 Types of Clauses in English

3 Types of Clauses in English | Definitions, and Examples


In this lesson, we are going to discuss the 3 types of clauses in English including their definitions and examples. Sometimes we become confused about identifying a clause or fail to differentiate between a clause and a phrase. But we can identify a clause easily by learning its definition and types.

A clause always contains a subject and a finite verb. However, without wasting time let us know the definition of a clause.

What is a Clause?

A clause consists of a subject and a predicate. In other words, we can say a clause is a group of words that contain a subject and a finite verb. We can see some examples to get a clear picture of clauses:

  • I had a sweet sister.
  • Though she loved me, I forgot her.
  • She obeyed her responsibility but I failed to obey this.
  • I was incapable of paying proper tribute to her.
  • Now I repent for everything.

Note: All of the above sentences consist of a subject and a finite verb.

Difference Between Clauses and Phrases

It’s very easy to differentiate between a clause and a phrase. We already know a clause is a combination of some words that must have a subject and a finite verb e.g. I love playing football. On the other hand, A phrase is a group of words that doesn’t contain a finite verb e.g. apart from it.

Types of Clauses

Clauses are categorized into 3 types in English grammar. They are:

  1. Principal Clauses
  2. Subordinate Clauses
  3. Co-ordinate Clauses

1. Principal/Independent Clauses

A principal or independent clause has an independent meaning. Further, it can be used independently without any assistance or it can stand alone. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • I accept your friend request.
  • She ordered a bike from an online shop.
  • He sells an apartment.
  • Naumy shows her performance.
  • Austen knew the true story.

Subordinate/Dependent Clauses

Unlike a principal clause, a subordinate clause doesn’t have any independent meaning. Rather, a subordinate helps a principal clause to complete the sentence. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • I recognized the person whom I saw yesterday.
  • If you act for me, I will provide you enough assistance.
  • When you meet the stranger, you need to respect him.
  • He is that person who support me in my bad time.
  • We shoud follow him when we take any decision.

Subordinate or dependent clauses are divided into 3 types. They are:

  1. Noun Clauses
  2. Adjective Clauses
  3. Adverbial Clauses

Noun Clauses

A clause that works as a noun is called a noun clause. A noun clause is applied in the same way as a noun can be applied in a sentence. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • I know who is the culprit.
  • When she will come is unpredictable.
  • I assumed that he would discover the place.
  • Can you tell me when he leaves the place.
  • He takes a break whenever he gets an opportunity.

Adjective/Relative Clauses

A clause that works as an adjective is called an adjective clause. An adjective or relative clause is applied as an adjective in a sentence to modify a noun or a pronoun. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • The man who arrived here is my father.
  • This is the same boy who is responsible for this offense.
  • The old man whom you saw last night is my grandfather.
  • The car which I drive is made by the Tesla company.
  • The shirt that you bought from the new market is looking gorgeous.

Adverbial Clauses

A clause that works as an adverb is called an adverbial clause. An adverbial clause is applied as an adverb in a sentence to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

An adverbial clause expresses time, place, cause, or reason, effect or result, extend, manner, comparison, contrast, condition, and purpose. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • I will be waiting for you until you come.
  • I am ready to go where you live.
  • My sister could not attend the meeting beause she suffered from a severe fever.
  • He is so hungry that he can not walk properly.
  • She behaves as if she were the CEO of the comapany.

Now let us see the different types of linkers of adverbial clauses:

1. Adverbial clause of timeWhen, while, after, before since, till, until, etc.
2. Adverbial clause of placeWhere, wherever, etc.
3. Adverbial clause of causeAs, because, since, etc.
4. Adverbial clause of resultthat, so….that, etc.
5. Adverbial clause of purposeSo that, in order that, lest, etc.
6. Adverbial clause of comparisonAs….as, so….as, such….as, etc.
7. Adverbial clause of conditionIf, whether, unless, in case, etc.
8. Adverbial clause of contrastThough, although, etc.
9. Adverbial clause of extendAs far as, so….as, etc.
10. Adverbial clause of mannerAs, as if, etc.
11. Adverbial clause of concessionWhoever, however, whatever, whether, etc.

Co-ordinate Clauses

A clause that contains two principal clauses by joining conjunction (and, but, or) is called a co-ordinate clause. Let us see some examples to learn more about it:

  • I am going to my campus and I will meet with my friends.
  • She was cured of the diseases but she held some injuries.
  • I know the boy but I cannot remember his name.
  • You have to work hard or you will lose a lot of things.
  • Jamal is a doctor by profession and his son is an engineer.
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