• The oxford dictionary defines clause as a group of words that includes a subject and a verb, and forms a sentence or a part of a sentence.
  • A group of words that functions as one part of the speech and that includes a subject and a verb
  • A group of words that contains a subject and a verb

i.                    The sun shines.

ii.                  The sun rises in the east.

iii.                When I entered my home, my mother was baking roti.

iv.                I will visit you after you invite me.

v.                  Please help me.

  • Use of comma to separate a dependent clause from the main clause;

i.                    In a sentence which has an independent and a dependent clause, a comma is used to separate the two, if the sentence starts with the dependent clause.

ii.                  The dependent clause usually starts with any of these subordinating conjunctions while, as, although, because, since, if, after, before, until.

iii.                If the same sentence starts with an independent clause, no comma is required.

i.                    While I was eating, the doorbell rang. Or the doorbell rang while I was eating.

ii.                  Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class. Or she was late for class because her alarm clock was broken.

iii.                If you are sick, you must see a doctor. Or you must see a doctor if you are sick.

iv.                When the rain stops, we will clean the driveway. Or we will clean the driveway when the rain stops.



  • Clauses are of four types: main or independent clause, subordinate or dependent clause.

1.     Main or Independent Clause:

  • Independent clause consists of a subject and it’s predicate. It gives a complete sense. It can stand on its own.

i.                    She sleeps.

ii.                  I am busy.

iii.                Asia is doing her homework.

iv.                When he entered his home, his mother was cooking rice.

v.                  I will come to you only when you call me.

2.     Subordinate or Dependent Clause:

  • Subordinate or dependent clause comprises a subject and its predicate but this clause can`t stand alone. It imparts complete sense only when attached with an independent clause. It means it depends on something else in the sentence to express a complete thought. That`s why it`s called a dependent clause. Some dependent clauses are introduced by relative pronoun (who, whom, that, which, what, whose) and some by subordinate conjunctions (that join dependent clauses to independent clauses, such as; although, because, if, unless, when…etc.). Subordinate clauses function in the sentence as adjectives, nouns, and adverbs.
  • Subordinating clauses are further divided into noun clause, adjective clause and adverb clause.

2 (a) Noun Clause:

  • A noun clause functions as a noun in the sentence. This clause starts with words    like; how, that, what, whatever, when, where, which, who, whom, whoever, whose, why.

i.                    I don`t know how you did it?

ii.                  Do you know where he has gone?

iii.                She said that she would do her homework.

iv.                I don`t care whatever he does?

v.                  I can`t guess what you have in your mind?

vi.                She tells which thing she needs?

vii.              Do you know why he did this?



2 (b)    Adjective Clause (Also called a Relative clause):

  • An adjective clause is a group of words which does the work of an adjective. It modifies noun or a pronoun in the sentence so it starts with a relative pronoun like: that. Which,   whom, whose

i.                   I saw a man who was bathing in the stream.

ii.                 The letter brought money which was badly needed.

iii.              I have a little shadow which goes in and out with me.

iv.              The dog that bites doesn`t bark.

v.                 My friend who is my class fellow has a gun.

vi.              They never fail who die in a great cause.  


2 (c) Adverb Clauses:  

  • Adverb clause is a group of words which does the work of an adverb. It modifies a verb, and adjective or an adverb in the main clause. It begins with subordinating conjunctions such as; after, although, because, until, where, while, unless, as, when, since, if, though, wherever

1.     Adverb clauses (the single underlined) modifying a verb (the double underlined).

i.                   You may sit wherever you like.

ii.                 He behaves as one might expect him to do.

iii.              He will pass if he works hard.

iv.              I shall remain where I am.

v.                 Will you wait till I come back?

2.     Adverb clauses (the single underlined) modifying an adjective (the double underlined).

i.                   Annam’s report is the best because it contains all the necessary things.

ii.                 Dad is worried about driving because the weather has not worse.

iii.              His new novel is funnier than his previous book was.

iv.              She is happy because she has got first prize.

v.                 The day felt long because we had nothing to do.

3.     Adverb clauses (the single underlined) modifying an adverb (the double underlined).

i.                   I will find my marks tomorrow when the teacher returns our tests.

ii.                 This computer works better than my last one.

iii.              You can come here when I ask you to.

iv.              They ate silently because they were not on speaking terms.

v.                 I cannot come now as I am busy.

 Classification of adverb clauses

Adverb clause may be classified under these types:


Adverb clause shows when something happens. This clause answers the question “when”. It is introduced by: before, after, as, when, while, until, as soon as, since, no sooner than, as long as, for example:

i.                    I always take a bath before I go to bed.

ii.                  The peon rings the ball when the clock strikes nine.

iii.                As soon as I saw a snake, I ran away.

iv.                Will you wait here until I get ready?


Adverb clause of place tells where the action described in the main clause took place. It answers the question “where”. It is introduced by: where, wherever.

i.                    You should go where you can find the job.

ii.                  The summer is very hot where I come from.

iii.                You can go where you like.

iv.                His dog follows after him wherever he goes.

v.                  I tried to save my money wherever I can.


Adverb clause of manner shows how something happens. It answers the question “how”. It is introduced by: like, as though, as if, for example;

i.                    She looks as though she were in pain.

ii.                  He cried as if he were mad.

iii.                Wahid walked past as if he had not seen us.

iv.                He talked to me like I was a kid.

v.                  I treat others like others do.


Adverb clause of condition tells us about the circumstances under which something happens. This clause begins with: if, unless, provided that, for example;

i.                    I only watch TV if my favourite show is on.

ii.                  He won`t go to university unless he studies hard.

iii.                You can play with us provided that you follow the rules.

iv.                I shall not come to you unless you do me a favour.

v.                  If you don’t work hard, you will not succeed.


Adverb clause of purpose shows why something happens. It is introduced by: to, for, in order to, so as to, so that, for example:

i.                    My mother went out to buy some milk.

ii.                  She wept for she had lost her mobile.

iii.                I searched my pack in order to find keys of the car.

iv.                I bought a smaller car so as to save money.

v.                  I gave her number so that she may call me.

Reason or Cause:

Adverb clause of reason shows the reason of the main clause. It is introduced by: because, since, as, that, for example:

i.                    I sing because I like singing.

ii.                  He thinks he can get anything because he is rich.

iii.                Since he has apologized we will take no further action against him.

iv.                As he was not there I left a message with her mother.

v.                  My parents were disappointed that I didn`t get the scholarship.

Result or Consequence:

Adverb clause of result or consequence is used to say what happens or what may happen as a result of the action mentioned inn the main clause. It is introduced by: so that, in order that, such…, too…to, for example:

i.                    Speak clearly so that we can all hear.

ii.                  He spoke loudly in order that everybody would hear him.

iii.                It is so hot that we can`t go out. Or it is too hot to go out.

iv.                It was such a hot afternoon as we stopped playing.


Adverb clause of degree or comparison answers the question “how much, how little, and how many. It is introduced by: as…, so….as, than, for example:

i.                    He is asintelligent as his brother.

ii.                  She is not sobeautiful as her elder sister.

iii.                You are smarter than I.

iv.                She is as pretty as a doll.

v.                  She is older than her husband. 



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