You are on page 1of 5

What Is A Clause? http://moviexk.

com/18movies

Stop for a minute and think about all the ways that you may communicate
throughout the day. You probably have several conversations, send texts and
emails, read articles and even leave written messages through work or school. How
much of your communication relies on writing? Probably much more than you
originally thought.

Writing is one of the strongest ways that we communicate with each other. When
we write, we develop sentences, which then develop paragraphs and eventually
develop essays and longer writings. However, before we can really write a sentence,
we work in clauses.

What is a clause? A clause is a group of related words. There are several different
types of clauses that can be used to develop sentences. Let's take a look at some of
these types and discuss how they are important in our writing.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

An independent clause is a clause that can stand alone. You can think of this as a
simple sentence. There is a subject, verb, and complete thought. For example, if I
were to write: 'John passed the ball,' I would have a complete, simple sentence. I
have a subject, John; a verb, passed; and a complete thought, the ball. Although
independent clauses can stand alone, we often join them with other clauses to
make more complex sentences. Complex sentences allow us to use various types of
sentences in our writing, which is important. We do not want to bore our audience
by having the same type of simple sentence structure throughout!

A dependent clause is a clause that cannot stand alone; it depends on another


clause to make it a complete sentence. You can recognize a dependent clause
because it starts with a subordinate conjunction. A subordinate conjunction is a
word that joins ideas together and shows the relationship between ideas. Some of
the subordinate conjunctions that you may already know are 'because,' 'although,'
'where,' and 'after.' Subordinate conjunctions may represent time, cause and effect,
and contrast.
It is important to remember that a dependent clause is not a complete thought. For
example, if I were to write, 'Because it was not his turn,' this would not be a
complete thought. Your audience does not know what happened because it was not
his turn. To make a dependent clause a complete thought, you should combine it
with an independent one: 'Because it was not his turn, John passed the ball.'

Relative Clause

There are three main types of dependent clauses: relative, noun, and adverbial.

A relative clause is an adjective clause that describes the noun. It is important to


remember that a relative clause is not a complete thought! They are used in
sentences to further describe the noun.

You can identify a relative clause by looking for three main components:

It will contain a subject and a verb.

It will begin with a relative pronoun or relative adverb. These would include 'who,'
'whom,' 'whose,' 'that,' and 'which' for a pronoun and 'when,' 'where,' or 'why' for an
adverb. Looking for these signal words can help you identify this type of clause!

The relative clause will function as an adjective, answering questions about the
noun, such as: 'Which one?' 'What kind?' 'How many?'

There are two ways to write a relative clause. First, you would have a relative
pronoun, subject, and then verb. For example, 'when we go to the movies.' 'When' is
the relative pronoun, 'we' is the subject, and 'go' is the verb.

Second, you would have a relative pronoun as a subject followed by the verb. For
example, 'who walked out of the store.' In this example, 'who' is our subject and
'walked' is the verb. Or for another example, 'that swarmed us.' In this example,
'that' is the subject and 'swarmed' is the verb.
Remember that relative clauses cannot stand alone. These are incomplete thoughts
and should be joined to an independent clause to become a complete sentence. In
our earlier examples, we could write, 'When we go to the movies, we always buy
popcorn.' The phrase 'we always buy popcorn' is an independent clause that
completes the phrase. Or in another example, 'who walked out of the store,' we
could write, 'Those are the two children who walked out of the store.' In the final
example, 'that swarmed us,' we could write, 'We killed the bees that swarmed us.'

When writing a relative clause, it is important to punctuate them correctly.


Remember that these clauses describe a noun. Sometimes these descriptions are
necessary to the meaning of the sentence, and other times they are just an extra
detail.

An essential relative clause contains information that is needed in the sentence.


Because the information is needed to understand the sentence, we would not
include any commas. For example, 'The children who eat their dinner can have
candy.' The phrase, 'who eat their dinner,' is essential to the sentence because it is
only these children who can have candy. If we did not have this phrase, then it
would read like all the children can have candy, which is not true. This would
change the noun or subject of our sentence. It will also change the meaning of the
sentence itself.

A nonessential relative clause is not necessary for the meaning of the sentence.
Because of this, it does require commas. The information is helpful, but the meaning
of the sentence and the noun would still be clear without the clause. For example,
'Aiden and his brother Julian, who is the oldest of the two, enjoy spending time
together.' The clause, 'who is the oldest of the two,' adds extra details, but the
sentence would still be clear without it. We would still know that it was Aiden and
Julian who were brothers and that they enjoy spending time together. We would still
have the same subject of the sentence without the relative clause, and the meaning
of the sentence stays the same.

How will this help my writing? Knowing how to identify relative clauses will help you
avoid this type of fragment. Remember that complete sentences require a complete
thought, and these do not have one. You will want to be sure to join these clauses
with an independent one. In addition, by knowing how to identify relative clauses,
you will also know how to punctuate your sentence correctly and avoid a common
comma error. You will be able to show your audience what information is essential to
your sentence by remembering how to identify the relative clause and then
punctuate correctly.

Noun Clause

A noun clause is a dependent clause that acts like a noun. It serves the exact same
function as a noun. It can be a subject, object, or complement. Like the relative
clause, a noun clause usually begins with a relative pronoun. However, it can also
begin with a subordinate conjunction. Remember, like other dependent clauses, a
noun clause will not stand alone!

For example, you could write, 'The spoiled milk I accidentally drank at breakfast
made me sick,' or 'What I accidentally drank for breakfast made me sick.' Both of
these sentences have the same meaning. In the first one, you use 'spoiled milk' as
the noun, but for the second one you use a noun clause, 'what I accidentally drank
for breakfast.'

Because a noun clause works as a noun, it can be used many different ways in a
sentence.

It can be the subject of the verb, such as in the sentence, 'What my friend did
was very hurtful.' In this sentence, 'was' is the verb. What was hurtful? 'What my
friend did.' This is the noun of the sentence.

A noun clause can be the object of the verb. In the sentence, 'She did not know
that the window was open,' the noun clause is the object of the verb. What did she
not know? 'That the window was open.'

A noun clause can be the object of the preposition. For example, in the sentence,
'Kelly is the owner of the yellow house.' What is Kelly the owner of? 'The yellow
house.'

A noun clause can be an adjective complement, which modifies the adjective. In


the sentence, 'Aiden is sad that he had to go to bed early.' Why is Aiden sad? 'That
he had to go to bed early.'
Noun clauses may seem very similar to relative clauses but are different and can be
easy to identify. First, other dependent clauses work as adverbs or adjectives; this
does not. Second, remember that a noun clause is the noun of the sentence,
whereas a relative clause will be dependent on the noun of the sentence. Finally, a
noun clause is always essential to the sentence. There are times (like we discussed)
that a relative clause can be removed, but a noun clause is the noun and must be
present.

How will this help my writing? Noun clauses can add creativity to your writing. For
example, in our earlier sentences we shared the same idea two different ways. If
you were writing a personal story about what you drank for breakfast, you could
refer to the spoiled milk differently without confusing your audience by using a noun
clause. In addition, by recognizing a noun clause, you will recognize the subject that
is essential to your writing and construct your sentence correctly.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. Create