What is clause in english grammar

Clause is an important grammatical unit in the english grammar as it is used to function subject, object, or different types of complements. Besides, it is also used to form complex, compound, and mixed sentences.

Meaning and definition of clause

•Clause is a group of words, including subject and predicate but without complete sense of meaning like sentence.

•In detail, every clause is made up of subject and predicate and also generate certain meaning. But, it cannot stand on its own in order to realize total expression. So, it has to depends on other clauses or sentence for complete sense.

•Basically, in english grammar, there are two types of clauses — independent or coordinating clause, and depending or subordinating. Apart from this, infinitive clause is also widely used in english expressions.

•Coordinating conjunctions are used to introduce independent or coordinating clauses; whereas, subordinating conjunctions are preferred to introduce depending or subordinating clauses. In case of infinitive clauses, bare infinitive or participle is generally used to begin infinitive clauses.

•Types of clauses

As I mentioned earlier that there are three types of clauses — independent, dependent, and infinitive clauses. Independent or coordinating clauses are introduced by coordinating conjunctions. And, subordinating conjunctions are used to introduce depending clauses.

•Depending or subordinating clauses

• Noun clause

It is generally introduced by — that, what, how, why conjunction.

•They announce that they are not going to support our proposal. (that they are going to support our proposal – is depending clause)

•I do not know how he solved the problem. (How he solved the problem — is depending clause)

 • Adjective clause

Adjective clause is introduced by relative adverbs and relative pronouns — that, which, who, when, where, etc.

•The pen, which you gifted me, is lost.(Which you gifted — is depending clause)

•This is the bike that we once used for riding.

•Adverb clause

As we know that adverb clauses are introduced by the subordinating conjunctions like, time, reason, purpose, condition etc.

Here are the examples of coordinating, and subordinating conjunctions.

•Types of subordinating conjunctions

There are around eight types of subordinating conjunctions in the english grammar.

1.Time conjunction

•After •Before •Since

•While •Until •As •Till

•As long as •So long as

•As soon as.

•As soon as they won the game, they started dancing. (As soon as they won the game — depending clause)

•He used to visit national parks when he was in Kenya.(When he was in Kenya  — is depending clause)

2.Conjunctions of purpose

•In order that

•So that •Least •That

•It was hot and sultry so that we carried lot of cold drinks.(So that we carried lot of cold drinks  — is depending clause)

3.Conjunctions of cause

•As •Since


•Since he was in hospital, we collectively managed his office work. (Since he was in hospital  — is depending clause)

4.Conjunctions of condition

•On condition

•Unless •Supposing

•Whether •As •If

•Provided that

•Our team won’t lose the game provided that we work hard and plan accordingly.

5.Conjunctions of results

•So.. That

6.Conjunctions of comparison

•As… as •No less than •As much as

7.Conjunctions of contrast


•Though •Notwithstanding •Even if

•Even though •Whatever •Whichever

•Although there is no dearth of solar energy, the generation of solar power is still negligible.

8.Conjunctions of manner

•As •So far as

•According as •As if

•He is behaving as if he is unknown.

•Coordinating clauses and examples

Coordinating conjunctions are used to introduce the coordinating or independent clauses.

Examples of coordinating conjunctions with examples of independent  clauses

•Cumulative conjunctions — not only..but also, but.. and, as well as.

•He has just recovered, and has decided to participate in practice session. (And he decided to participate in the practice session  — is independent clause)

•Alternative conjunctions — either..or, neither..nor, else.

•He is either a talented or gifted student

•Adversative conjunctions– but.. yet, however, whereas, still, nevertheless.

•Equatorial climate is hot and humid; whereas, Siberian is cold and dry. (Whereas, Siberian is cold and dry — is independent clause)

•Illative conjunctions — therefore, so, for.

•They were really exhausted; therefore, coach decided to abandon practice immediately. (therefore, coach decided to abandon practice immediately — is independent clause)

This is all about the clause and it’s types used in the english grammar. In the next blog, I will deal with infinitive clauses in detailed manner.

Difference between noun and adjective clause

Adverb clause describing reason

Explanation of cumulative conjunction

Adversative coordinating conjunctions