Clauses: Definition, Types, Examples

Clauses, ever heard of them? If not, don’t worry! They’re like the secret ingredients of sentences. Think of them as the building blocks that make your words work. In this blog, we’ll take you on a super simple tour of clause, making sure you not only understand them but also see how they make your everyday sentences tick. So, let’s dive into the world of clauses together!


A clause is a collection of words that includes a subject and a predicate (verb), operating as a self-contained idea within a sentence. Clauses can stand alone as independent sentences (independent clauses) or be dependent on other clauses to form a complete sentence. They are the essential components that make up sentences in written and spoken language, enabling us to convey ideas and communicate effectively.

Types of Clauses:-

Clauses can be categorized into two main types: independent clauses and dependent clauses. These categories are based on the clause’s ability to stand alone as a complete sentence or its reliance on another clause to form a complete sentence.

1. Independent Clauses:

Independent clauses are alternatively referred to as main clauses or form the basis of simple sentences.They can stand alone as complete sentences because they express a complete thought .They have both a subject and a predicate (verb) and convey a clear meaning.
“She sings beautifully.” This is an independent clause because it can stand alone as a complete sentence.

2. Dependent (Subordinate) Clauses:

This clauses lack the ability to function independently as complete sentences since they fail to convey a comprehensive idea.They rely on an independent clause to form a complete sentence and provide additional information or context. Dependent clauses often start with subordinating conjunctions such as “because,” “although,” “while,” “if,” and “when.”
“Although she sings beautifully…” This is a dependent clause. It needs to be combined with an independent clause, like “Although she sings beautifully, she lacks confidence,” to form a complete sentence.
Dependent clauses, also known as subordinate clauses, come in various types, each serving a distinct function within a sentence. Here are some common types of dependent clauses:

a. Noun Clauses:

Noun clauses function as nouns within a sentence, often serving as subjects, objects, or complements.
Subject: “What you said really surprised me.”
Object: “She knows [what she wants].”
Complement: “My biggest fear is being forgotten. “

b. Adjective Clauses (Relative Clauses):

Adjective clauses provide additional information about a noun in the sentence.They are introduced by relative pronouns (e.g., who, whom, whose, which, that) or relative adverbs (e.g., when, where, why).Adjective clauses,also known as .Relative clauses
“The book [that you recommended] is fantastic.”
“I visited the city [where I grew up].”

c. Adverb Clauses:

Adverb clauses function as adverbs within a sentence, modifying verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.They often answer questions such as “how,” “why,” “when,” “where,” and “to what extent.”
“He spoke eloquently, though his hands trembled slightly. “
“She sings loudly [when she’s excited].”

d. Conditional Clauses:

Conditional clauses express a condition that must be met for something else to happen.They often begin with words like “if,” “unless,” “whether,” or “provided that.”
“If it rains, we’ll stay indoors.”
“If you leave now, you will catch the train. “

e. Time Clauses:

Time clauses provide information about when an action occurred or will occur.They often begin with words like “when,” “while,” “as soon as,” or “until.”
“I’ll call you [when I get home].”
“She’ll wait [until you arrive].”

f. Place Clauses:

Place clauses specify the location of an action.They often begin with words like “where” or “wherever.”
“I’ll meet you [wherever you like].”
“We visited the park [where we used to play].”

g. Purpose Clauses:

Purpose clauses indicate the reason or purpose behind an action.They often begin with words like “so that,” “in order to,” or “to.”
“She studies hard [so that she can get good grades].”
“We went shopping [in order to buy groceries].”

Examples of Sentences with Independent Clauses:-

  1. “She loves to read books.”
  2. “I enjoy hiking in the mountains, and my brother prefers camping by the lake.”
  3. “She brewed a cup of tea, savoring the warmth in her chilled hands.”
  4. “He packed his bags eagerly, anticipation bubbling in his chest.”
  5. “Whatever path he chose, she knew he would face it with courage.”

Examples of Sentences with Dependent Clauses:-

  1. “Although it was raining, they decided to go for a picnic.”
  2. “The book that I recommended became a bestseller. “
  3. “I wonder what she’s thinking. “
  4. “While the cookies cooled, I whipped up the frosting. “
  5. “The book that she lent me is on the top shelf.”

Defining and Non Defining relative clauses:-

Defining relative clauses, also known as restrictive relative clauses, provide essential information about a noun, helping to identify which specific noun we are talking about. Without this information, the sentence might not make sense or could refer to multiple things. Defining relative clauses are devoid of commas.
Example: “I ate the cake that my grandma baked. “
In this sentence, the defining relative clause “that I’m reading” specifies which book is fascinating. Without this clause, it’s unclear which book is being referred to.

Non-defining relative clauses, also called non-restrictive relative clauses, provide additional information about a noun, but this information is not essential for identifying the noun. They are set off by commas and can often be removed from the sentence without changing its core meaning.
Example: “My brother, who is a doctor, is coming to visit.”
In this sentence, the non-defining relative clause “who is a doctor” adds extra information about the brother but can be omitted without affecting the sentence’s main point.

10 examples of clauses:-

1.She loves to read books.
2.The sun was shining brightly.
3.They went to the beach.
4.He played the guitar.
5.We visited the museum.
6.When she arrived, the party had already started.
7.Because he studied hard, he aced the exam.
8.The book that she lent me is on the shelf.
9.If you finish your homework, you can go out with your friends.
10.Although it was raining, they went for a walk.

Difference between phrase and clause:-

DefinitionA group of related words that lacks both a subject and a verb.A group of related words that contains a subject and a verb (predicate).
FunctionTypically functions as a single part of speech (e.g., noun, verb, adjective, adverb).Can function as a complete thought (independent clause) or depend on an independent clause (dependent clause).
Subject and VerbLacks both a subject and a verb.Contains both a subject and a verb (predicate).
TypesVarious types based on their grammatical function (noun, verb, adjective, adverb).Independent and dependent clauses, with different types of dependent clauses (e.g., noun clauses, adverb clauses).
Example Sentence“The big brown dog is swimming in the pool with great care.”“Because it was raining, she decided to stay indoors.”
#Phrase Vs Clause

Exercise: Identifying Clauses

  1. She will come to the party if her schedule allows.
  2. I wonder what she’s thinking.
  3. Because it was a holiday, they decided to go on a trip.
  4. After finishing the project, he took a long break.
  5. They went shopping after they had lunch.
  6. The cat that climbed the tree belongs to our neighbor.
  7. Whenever he visits, we have a great time.
  8. The book you recommended is on my reading list.
  9. She sang beautifully, and the audience applauded.
  10. Although she was tired, she continued working.

Frequently Asked Questions on clauses:-

1. What is a clause?

A clause is a collection of words that encompasses a subject and a verb (predicate). It can either stand alone as a complete sentence (independent clause) or depend on another clause to make sense (dependent clause).

2. What’s the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause?

An independent clause has the capacity to exist as a standalone sentence, articulating a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot stand alone and relies on an independent clause to form a complete sentence.

3. How do you identify a dependent clause?

Dependent clauses often start with subordinating conjunctions (e.g., because, although, when) or relative pronouns (e.g., who, which) and provide additional information, conditions, or context.

4. What’s the purpose of clauses in a sentence?

Independent clauses convey the main idea or action in a sentence. Dependent clauses add details, relationships, or conditions to the main clause, making sentences more informative and complex.

5. Are there common mistakes to avoid when using clauses?

Watch out for comma splices, where two independent clauses are incorrectly joined by a comma. Correct this by using a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon.

6. How can I improve my understanding and use of clauses in writing?

Practice identifying clauses in sentences and experiment with combining them to create more varied and effective writing. Reading widely and studying grammar resources can also help.

7. What is the role of clauses in sentence structure?

Clauses play a crucial role in forming the structure of sentences. Independent clauses serve as the main ideas or actions in sentences, while dependent clauses add context, details, and relationships between ideas.

8. What is a relative clause, and how does it differ from other types of clauses?

A relative clause is a subtype of dependent clause that furnishes supplementary information about a noun within a sentence. It typically begins with a relative pronoun (e.g., who, whom, whose, which, that) and functions as an adjective, describing or identifying the noun more clearly.

Also Read: Determiners , Types, Examples

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