Clauses in English-Easiest way to overcome your problems in their use

Shree Ganeshay namah


English is the richest language because of its vocabulary, use all over the world and its flexible nature to adopt new from all the prominent languages all over the world.


Clauses in English language are very important part of its grammar, speaking and writing. For that every English user should be familiar with clause, its definition, uses, types and some specific exercises to strengthen the usage and understanding of this world language-English. The knowledge of clauses will help you in the transformation of the sentences.

Let us start our journey to explore all the realms of territory called Clauses in English Grammar. Before learning clauses we must be familiar with English grammar tenses and passive voice.

Refresh your previous knowledge of sentence and its parts—

First we will refresh the learning of basic details related to sentence construction and its parts.

What is sentence-A group of words which makes complete sense is called as sentence.

Eg. 1)I am watching TV.

Can phrase be called as sentence-No, Phrase is not sentence even though expresses some meaning. It does not have subject and verb which are essential parts of the sentence.

Eg of phrase-1) All corners of the world-

2)In the hall-She is sitting in the hall’

What are the main parts of the sentence-Subject and predicate are the main parts of the sentence.

What is subject-Subject is a person or thing about which something is said.

What is predicate-What is said about subject is predicate.

Eg 1)We can speak fluent English.


Predicate-can speak fluent English.

2)My friends and I went for the picnic to Goa.

Subject-My friends and I

Predicate-went for the picnic to Goa.

Definition and types of clause—

After a quick refresh of previous knowledge about sentence and its parts, we are ready to know the definition of clause in simple and easy to understand manner-

Definition of clause—- clause is a group of words which has its own subject and predicate and it is the part of one big sentence(Compound/complex).

In simple words we can say that clause is a small sentence of one big sentence and the clause has its own subject and verb(including predicate)

Eg. 1)I saw a catterpiller which was eating leaves and it was climbing on the creeper.

Explanation—In this sentence there are 3 small sentences which are called clauses.

1)I saw a catterpiller.

2)Which was eating leaves.

3)It was climbing on the creeper.

All these three small sentences have their own subjects and predicates (Most importantly verbs)

2)We visited a place that was very old.

3)He was absent yesterday because he was busy in household work.

Types of clause—

There are two main types of clauses in English.

1)Main clause (Independent clause)–

2)Sub-ordinate clause (Dependent clause)—

Definitions of main clause and subordinate clause—

1)Main clause(Independent clause)—The clause which expresses its meaning by itself and doesn’t depend on the other clauses for it is called as main clause. It is also called as independent clause.

2)Sub-ordinate clause(Dependent clause)—The clause which does not express its meaning by itself, it depends on the other clauses for it is called as sub-ordinate clause(Dependent clause)

Eg. 1)She told a story which was interesting.

Explanation—Here —She told a story—-is main clause because it explains its meaning by itself.

Which was interesting —-is subordinate clause as it can’t express its meaning by itself, for that it depends on the main clause. So it is called as sub-ordinate clause.

Types of subordinate clause—-

There are 3 types of sub-ordinate clause—

1)Noun clause-

2)Adjective clause-

3)Adverb clause

Before learning their definitions, we revise what exactly noun, pronoun and adverb means.

The names of people , places, things , birds, animals etc are called as nouns.

The words used instead of nouns are called as pronouns.

The words which add something about verb/adjective or another adverb in the same sentence.

Now let us learn more about 3 subtypes of sub-ordinate clause.

1)Noun clause—

If any word is name of people/places/things/birds/animals then we call it as noun. In the same way if any clause is used in a sentence as a noun then it is called as noun clause.

Eg.1)John learns English.(Here John and English are nouns but they are single words. They can not be called as clause)

2)John learnt that English is the world language.(Here John is noun which is the subject of this sentence. That English is the world language is Object of the verb learnt. We know subjects and objects of all the sentences are nouns or pronouns. So here this clause is working as a noun. Rightly we call it as a noun clause.

Subtypes of noun clause—

There are 7 main sub types of noun clause—

1)Noun clause object of verb—

The clause that works as the object of verb is called as noun clause object of the verb.

Eg. 1)He said that he was ready.

Here He said -is main clause. If we ask question to find object with what to main verb as-what did he say?-we get answer as-that he was ready-This is object of verb said. We know that object and subjects are nouns or pronouns. So here this clause-that he was ready-is called as noun clause object of verb said.

2)He told John that he could not come.

Main clause—He told.

Noun clause—that he could not come.

3)She asked why they were late.

Main clause—She asked.

Noun clause—why they were late.

2)Noun clause subject of verb—

The clause that works as the subject of verb is called as noun clause subject of verb.

Eg. 1)What he told surprised me.

Main clause—(It) surprised me.

Sub-ordinate clause—What he told.

Here if we ask question with who/what to main verb to find subject we get answer as—What he told-We know that subjects and objects are nouns or pronouns. So we call it as noun clause subject of verb.

2)Why he is not present (It) is not important for us.

Main clause—(It) is not important for us.

Noun clause—Why he is not present.

3)Who helps you (He/She) is your true friend.

Main clause—(He/She) is your true friend.

Noun clause—Who helps you.

3)Noun clause object of preposition—

It works as an object of preposition.

Eg. 1)You must believe in what he says.

Main clause—You must believe in.

Noun clause object of preposition in—-what he says.

2)We must rely on what he brings for us.

Main clause—We must rely on.

Noun clause object of preposition on—what he brings.

3)They must listen to what their teacher guides.

Main clause—They must listen to.

Noun clause object of preposition to—what their teacher guides.

4)Noun clause object of participle—

It works as an object of participle.

Eg. 1)We thanked him for doing what we told him to do.

Main clause—We thanked him for doing.

Noun clause object of participle doing—what we told him to do.

2)I admired him for bringing what I wanted.

Main clause—I admired him for bringing.

Noun clause object of participle bringing—what I wanted.

5)Noun clause object of infinitive—

It works as an object of infinitive.

Eg. 1)She requested me to give what she wanted for her project.

Main clause—She requested me to give.

Noun clause object of infinitive to give—what she wanted for her project.

2)He called me to inform that he couldn’t come.

Main clause—He called me to inform.

Noun clause object of infinitive to inform—That he couldn’t come.

6)Noun clause in apposition to noun—

It works in apposition to noun. Apposition means a relationship in which a word or phrase or clause is placed next to another so as to qualify or explain it.

Eg, 1)The fact that he was criminal became public.

Main clause—The fact became public.

Noun clause in apposition to noun fact—that he was criminal.

2) The truth that hard work pays is known to everyone.

Main clause—The truth is known to everyone.

Noun clause in apposition to noun truth—that hard work pays.

7)Noun clause as a verb complement—

It works as a verb complement—the thing that improves something is called as complement.

Eg. 1)It seems that storm will start blowing.

Main clause—It seems.

Noun clause as a verb complement for seems—that storm will start blowing.

2)It looks that he will fail.

Main clause—It looks.

Noun clause as a verb complement—that he will fail.

In this way we have finished the study of Noun Clause. Now we will know more about adjective clause and adverb clause.

2)Adjective clause—

Adjective describes or qualifies noun or pronoun. eg. good ,bad ,important, easy, difficult.

In the same way if any subordinate clause describes or qualifies noun or pronoun then it is called as adjective clause.

Simple trick to identify adjective clause clause easily is that it begins with relative pronouns like








Note—Adjective clause strictly comes after the noun to which it qualifies or describes and who is used as relative pronoun for human beings, which is used for animals, things and others and that is used as relative pronoun for all the nouns.

Examples of adjective clause—-

1)I saw a man who was working in the field.

Main clause—I saw a man.

Adjective clause—who was working.

Here adjective clause describes noun—man

2)She saw a tree which was full of fresh fruits.

3)You told a story that was frightening.

4)I have found the book which my father gifted me.

5)My mother praised the gift that I gave her.

6)She visited the place where she lived in her childhood.

7)Teacher asked the reason why his students failed.

8)Festival is the time when people do lot of shopping.

9)My mother who is a teacher helps me in my study.

10)The person whose lungs are strong can only climb the Everest.

11)He is the same person whom you want to meet.

3)Adverb clause—-

Adverb adds something about verb(And adjective).In the same way adverb clause adds something about verb(action) in the main clause.

Sub-types of adverb clause—

There are 9 subtypes of adverb clause. They are as follows.

1)Adverb clause of time.—-

It shows the time of action in the main clause.

Adverb clause of time begins with







As soon as

Hardly+ had

Eg. 1)We will buy a laptop when it becomes cheaper.

Main clause—We will buy a laptop.

Adverb clause of time—when it becomes cheaper.

2)He will come after he has finished his work.

3)She walked ahead till she reached a small hut.

2)Adverb clause of place —

It shows the place of action(Verb) mentioned in the main clause.

Adverb clause of place begins with—



Eg. 1)He will go where he gets good job.

2)You can play wherever you want.

3)Adverb clause of condition-

It shows the condition for the action mentioned in the main clause.

Adverb clause of condition begins with—




Eg. 1)You will pass if you study hard.

2)If you run fast, you will catch the bus.

3)Unless you pay attention , you will not understand.

4)Adverb clause of reason—

It shows the reason of action in the main clause.

Adverb clause of reason begins with—





Eg. 1)I could not come for the party because I did not get time.

2)She answered all the questions since she wanted to secure good marks

5)Adverb clause of result —

It shows the result of the action in the main clause.

Adverb clause of result begin with—

That—when there is so in the main clause.

Eg. 1)She is so tired that she can not wait.

Main clause—She is so tired.

Adverb clause of result—that she can not wait.

2)He was so busy that he could not come.

3)It was so heavy for us that we could not lift it.

6)Adverb clause of contrast

It shows contrast to the action mentioned in the main clause.

Adverb clause of contrast begins with—



Even though

Eg. 1)Though he is clever, He gets poor marks.

2)Although he worked hard, He did not get reward for it.

7)Adverb clause of purpose—

It shows the purpose of the action in the main clause.

Adverb clause of purpose begins with—-

In order that

So that

Eg. 1)Our soldiers fight on the borders so that we should live safely.

2)We should follow traffic rules in order that we should drive safely.

8)Adverb clause of manner—

It shows the manner of the action in the main clause.

Adverb clause of manner begins with—


Eg. 1)You should act as I tell you.

2)You reap as you sow.

9)Adverb clause of comparison—

It shows the comparison of main clause with it.

Sentences of positive degree and comparative degree are the examples of Adverb clause of comparison.

Eg.1)He is as clever as his brother is.

2)She is more active in studies than her friends are.

What are the uses and functions of clauses in English—

1)Clause is very useful for clever and appealing sentence construction.

2)Clause plays key role in deciding the type of sentence based on clause construction. If there is only one main clause then it is simple sentence. If there are two or more main clauses in the sentence then it becomes compound sentence. When we use one main clause and one or more sub-ordinate clause then it becomes complex sentence.

3)Clause is necessary to reduce or increase the length of your verbal or written communication.

4)Knowledge of clause gives you edge over others in impressive sentence construction.

Exercise for learning and understanding clauses—-

Identify and name the clause in the given sentences.

1)She told her mother that she would help her.

Ans. Main clause—She told her mother.

Noun clause—that she would help her.

2)I want to visit the place which is very beautiful.

Ans.-Main clause—I want to visit the place.

Adjective clause—which is very beautiful.

3)I will stop working when it gets dark.

Ans.—Main clause-I will stop working.

Adverb clause—when it gets dark.


In this way we have learnt that clause is a group of words having its own subject and predicate. There are two main types of clause 1)Main clause(Independent clause) 2)Sub-ordinate clause(Dependent clause).

Also we knew that there are 3 sub-types of sub-ordinate clause. They are 1)Noun clause 2)Adjective clause 3)Adverb clause. Again there are 7sub-types of noun clause and 9 subtypes of adverb clause. We have studied all types of clauses and there examples and important details.

I hope it will be helpful for you all. Do let me know your views and suggestions through comments.

With love+ Respect all green lights for your better learning

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Dipak D. Jagtap: Always the learner.Having spent 16 years in English language training, its time now to reach the world to learn more and to share my experience and practices....

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