Clause

Definition: A clause is a part of a sentence, a string of words which expresses a proposition and typically consists of at least a subject and a verb, and is joined to the rest of the sentence by a conjunction. It is not a complete sentence on its own.

Examples:
  • Jhon sings
  • Yesterday we played baseball

* The sentence "He retired early because he was sad " contains two clauses, a main clause, consisting of the whole sentence, and a subordinate clause, "because he was sad ".

There are two main types: independent (main clauses), dependent (subordinate clauses)

Independent clauses
An independent clause is a complete sentence; it contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in both context and meaning.

For example:

  • The window opened

  • Independent clauses can be joined by a co-ordinating conjunction to form complex or compound sentences.
    Co-ordinating conjunction
    and or not
    but for so
    yet

    For example:
  • "The door opened" + "The man walked in" = The door opened and the man walked in.
  • "Jim studied in the Sweet Shop" + "his chemistry quiz" = Jim studied in the Sweet Shop for his chemistry quiz
  • Dependent Clauses
    A dependent (subordinate) clause is part of a sentence; it contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. They can make sense on their own, but, they are dependent on the rest of the sentence for context and meaning. They are usually joined to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.
    Dependent clauses often begin with a a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun that makes the clause unable to stand alone.

    Subordinating Conjunctions
    after although as because
    before even if even though if
    in order that once provided that rather than
    since so that than that
    though unless until when
    whenever where whereas wherever
    whether while why  

    Relative Pronouns
    that which whichever
    who whoever whom
    whose whosever whomever

    For example

    • The door opened because the man pushed it
    • I wondered whether the homework was necessary
    • They will visit you before they go to the airport

    Connecting dependent and independent clauses

    • Jim studied in the Sweet Shop for his chemistry quiz, but it was hard to concentrate because of the noise.
    • im studied in the Sweet Shop for his chemistry quiz; however, it was hard to concentrate because of the noise.

    Common Errors to avoid A comma splice is the use of a comma between two independent clauses. You can usually fix the error by changing the comma to a period and therefore making the two clauses into two separate sentences, by changing the comma to a semicolon, or by making one clause dependent by inserting a dependent marker word in front of it.

    Incorrect:

    • I like this class, it is very interesting.
    Correct:
    • I like this class. It is very interesting.
    • I like this class; it is very interesting.
    • I like this class, and it is very interesting.
    • I like this class because it is very interesting.
    • Because it is very interesting, I like this class.


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