Clauses – Definition, Types and Uses with examples

teach english online

The subject of a clause typically denotes the entity performing an action or being described within the sentence. It may be a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that serves as the focal point of the clause. The verb, on the other hand, denotes the action performed by the subject or expresses a state of being. It may be an action verb, linking verb, or helping verb, depending on the function it fulfills within the clause.

Types of clauses

Independent Clause: An independent clause, also known as a main clause, is a group of words that form a complete sentence and stand alone. It expresses a complete thought or idea and functions independently to convey meaning. Independent clauses contain both a subject and a predicate, and they do not rely on any other clause to form a grammatically correct sentence.

Independent clauses are the building blocks of sentences, forming the foundation upon which more complex structures are constructed. They are characterized by their ability to express complete ideas, assertions, or statements without requiring additional information from other clauses.

Enhance Your Child's Verbal Abilities: Start Trial Now!

Example: She enjoys reading

In this example, she is the subject, enjoys is the verb, and reading is the object. The Clause She enjoys reading forms a complete sentence on its own, expressing a clear and coherent thought without the need for additional context or support from other clauses.

Dependent Clause

A dependent clause, also referred to as a subordinate clause, is a group of words that does not constitute a complete sentence on its own. It relies on an independent clause to provide context and complete its meaning within a sentence. Dependent clauses are characterized by their inability to stand alone as independent sentences due to their incomplete thought or idea.

Dependent clauses often begin with subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns, which establish a relationship with the independent clause and indicate the nature of the dependency. These conjunctions and pronouns signal that dependent clause’s role within the sentence, such as expressing time, cause, condition, contrast, or purpose.

Example: Because she enjoys reading

In this example, because is the subordinating conjunction that introduces the dependent clause because she enjoys reading. This clause cannot function as a complete sentence by itself but depends on an independent clause to provide the necessary context and complete its meaning. It indicates a reason or cause for something but requires further information to form a grammatically correct sentence.

Use of Clauses

Building Sentences: Clauses serve as the fundamental units of sentence construction, providing the essential building blocks from which sentences are formed. They combine in various ways to create coherent and grammatically correct expressions that convey meaning effectively.

Independent clauses form the foundation of sentences by expressing complete thoughts or ideas on their own. They serve as standalone units that can function as complete sentences, conveying clear assertions or statements without relying on other clauses for context. 

Dependent clauses complement independent clauses by providing additional information, modifying the main clause, or establishing relationships between ideas. These clauses cannot stand alone as complete sentences but contribute to the overall structure and meaning of the sentence

By combining independent and dependent clauses, complex and compound sentences are created. 

Expressing Relationships

Clauses play a crucial role in establishing relationships between ideas within a sentence, enriching the text with layers of meaning and complexity. Dependent clauses, in particular, serve as valuable tools for expressing various relationships, such as time, cause, contrast, or condition.

Dependent clauses that express time provide temporal context to the actions or events described in the main clause. They indicate when an action occurs relative to another event or point in time, enhancing the reader’s understanding of the chronological sequence of events.

Examples of Clauses

Independent Clauses:

  1. He went to the store.
  2. They played football in the park.
  3. She sang beautifully.

Dependent Clauses

  1. Because he went to the store…
  2. When they played football in the park…
  3. Although she sang beautifully…


Q1: How do dependent clauses function in a sentence?                                                                              
Ans: Dependent clauses function to provide additional information, modify the main clause, or establish relationships between ideas. They often begin with subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns.

Q2: How are clauses used in sentence construction?
Ans: Clauses serve as the building blocks of sentences, combining to form meaningful and grammatically correct expressions. By combining independent and dependent clauses, writers can create sentences of varying complexity and sophistication.

Q3: What are some common subordinating conjunctions used to introduce dependent clauses?
Ans: Common subordinating conjunctions include: because, although, while, since, if, when, before, after, until, unless, etc

Clauses are indispensable elements of sentence construction, providing structure and coherence to language. Understanding the types and uses of clauses allows for effective communication, enabling individuals to convey ideas with precision and clarity. Whether forming simple statements or crafting complex narratives, the mastery of clauses is fundamental to proficient writing and speaking.

Book 2-Week English Trial Classes Now!

Related Articles

1. Stories for kids- Write your own comic book

2. Summer Activities for Kids: Create a Comic Strip

3. Must Read Classic Comic Stories for Kids & Teens

4. Strategic Tips for STAAR Test Success: Elevate Your Child's Education