Basic English Structure
Clauses ^

A clause is a group of related words which form a part of the sentence but has its own subject and (finite) verb. It is different from a phrase in that a phrase does not include a subject and a verb relationship.

She likes hit songs of the 90's. (a clause forms a sentence)
She likes hit songs of the 90's but she doesn't like songs with unhealthy themes. (a sentence with two clauses joined by the conjunction 'but')
hit songs of the 90's (a phrase)
songs with unhealthy themes (a phrase)

Two Kinds of Clauses
Independent Clauses (Main Clauses)
An Independent clause can make a sentence by itself. It contains the subject and the verb. Independent clauses follow this pattern: Subject + Verb = Complete Thought
Tom(Subject) + works(Verb) hard. = Complete Thought

There must be at least one independent clause in a sentence.
He is poor. (an independent clause forms a sentence)
He is poor because he is unemployed. (two independent clauses joined together by the conjunction 'because')

Exercise 1
I. Recognizing independent clauses

Dependent Clauses (Subordinate Clauses)
A dependent clause cannot make a sentence by itself. It depends on an independent clause for its meaning. It connects the independent clause by a conjunction (when, after, before, if, although, because, that, so that...).
Dependent clauses follow this pattern:

Conjunction + Subject + Verb Complete Thought

Before(Conjunction) she(Subject) left(Verb) home. Complete Thought
Although(Conjunction) Peter(Subject) worked(Verb) hard. Complete Thought

Types of Dependent Clauses
Dependent clauses are classified according to the work they do in the sentence. Dependent clauses do the work of nouns (Noun Clauses), adverbs (Adverb Clauses) and adjective (Adjective Clauses).

Noun Clauses
A noun clause does the work of a noun. It can be the subject, object and object of preposition.
1. The subject of a verb

What he said was very strange.
Where he went was a secret.

2. The object of a verb
I did not understand what he said.
Tell me where you will go.

3. The object of a preposition
We were very interested in what he said.
I agreed with what he proposed.

Exercise 2
I. Recognizing kinds of noun clauses

Adverb Clauses
An adverb clause does the work of an adverb. It tends to tell us something about the sentence's main verb: when, where, why, under what conditions.
1. Manner
It indicates how an action is done.
I shall do the exercises as I have been taught.
You look as if you had seen a ghost.
Do as I told you.
2. Place
It indicates where an action was done.
The building stood where Jordan Road meets Nathan Road.
I will go wherever you go.
Stay where you are!
3. Time
It indicates when an action was done.
While I was speaking to him, he was looking at the sky.
As soon as the crowd heard the news, they rushed to the street.
After the music had finished, he bowed to the audience.
4. Reason
It indicates why an action was done.
He succeeded because he worked hard.
He was injured because he drove too fast.
He was popular because he was kind to anyone.
5. Purpose
She opened the book in order that her friend might look at the picture.
He is working late so that he may be free to go away tomorrow.
The thief hid behind some bushes so that the policemen would not see him.
6. Result
The student worked so hard that the principal awarded him the prize.
He was such a hard worker that we all expected him to pass.
He was so frightened that he did not go on.
7. Concession
Although/though he tried hard, he was not successful.
He failed the exam though he had worked hard.
However hard he tries, he never seems able to do the work satisfactorily.
8. Comparison
This work is not so easy as you think.
That question is easier than I thought.
The sooner you finish your work, the sooner you will go home.
9. Condition
I shall go if he asks me.
If I dropped this it would explode.
If I had known of your arrival I should have met you.

Exercise 3
I. Recognizing kinds of adverb clauses

Adjective Clauses
Adjective Clauses qualify nouns. Adjective clauses begin with relative pronouns (who, which, that or whom) or relative adverbs (when or where).
The student who answered the question was John.
Miss Wong, whom you met at our house, is going to marry Mr.Chan.
I remember the day when we visited Paris.

Adjective clauses follow these patterns:

Relative Pronoun + Verb Complete Thought
Relative Pronoun (or Relative Adverb) + Subject + Verb Complete Thought
Who(Relative Pronoun) answered(Verb) the question.Complete Thought
Pronoun) you(Subject) met(Verb) at our house.Complete Thought
Adverb) we(Subject) visited(Verb) Paris.Complete Thought

Exercise 4
I. Recognizing adjective clauses

I. Recognizing kinds of dependent clauses (I)
II. Recognizing kinds of dependent clauses (higher level)

Basic English Structure