Clauses and its types in detail with examples


A group of words containing a finite verb, and its associated with or dependent on another group of words containing a finite verb.

Example: He went to school. (In this sentence he went is a clause but you can use the rest of the sentence as well, it is not necessary to use only subject and a verb)

There are two kinds of Clause:

  1. Dependent Clause
  2. Independent Clause

Dependent Clause

Dependent clause is a clause which does not give complete meaning by itself rather it depends for it’s complete meaning on any other clause.

Example: If I have money. (is a clause which doesn’t give complete meaning by itself)

Kinds of Dependent Clause:

There are 3 kinds of Dependent clause:

  1. Noun Clause/ Nominal Clause
  2. Adjective Clause / Relative Clause
  3. Adverb Clause / Adverbial Clause

Noun Clause

A clause which gives the same meaning as the noun is called noun clause.

This house is beautiful. Where you live is beautiful.
I know David. I know who he is.
I looked at the picture. I looked at what he had painted.


Noun clause performs almost all the functions of a noun.

A) It can be subject of the verb
Example: What you know isn’t important.
B) It can be the object of the verb
Example: I know what he did.
C) It can be the complement of the verb
Example: That is what I like.

Kinds of Noun clause

there are two kinds of noun clause

  1. That Clause 
  2. Interrogative Clause
That Clause

Noun clause as the subject of the sentence:
Sentences with noun clause has subjects which usually begin with it.

It is disappointing that Tom can’t come. (that Tom can’t come is the subject)

Noun clause as the object of the verb:
Noun clause can also be the object of the verb as mentioned below:

He assumed that we agree with him.
I can prove that she did it.

Here are some of the most useful verbs given below:

Acknowledge find (wh) recommend
admit forget(wh) remark
advise guarantee remember(wh)
agree happen remind
allege hear (wh) request
announce hope resolve
appear imagine reveal
arrange(wh) imply say (wh)
ask (wh) indicate(wh) see (wh)
assume inform seem
assure insist show(wh)
beg know(wh) state (wh)
believe learn(wh) recognize
command suggest(wh) feel
confess mean suppose
consider(wh) notice(wh) teach
declare observe tell (wh)
demand order threaten
demontrate percieve turn out
determine persume understand(wh)
discover pretend urge
doubt promise vow
estimate(wh) propose warn
expect prove(wh) wish
fear realize(wh) wonder(wh)

Note: verbs marked with (wh) can be followed by noun clause beginning with WH words: (What, Where, When, Who, Why or How)

He asked me where he was to go.
They will believe whatever you tell them.
I forgot who told me this.
Have you ever heard how he is getting on?
I can’t think why he left his wife.
I wonder when he will pay me back.

Interrogative Noun clause

The interrogative noun clause has 2 kinds:
A) wh noun clause
B) Yes/No noun clause

Functions of wh Noun clause:

  • As a subject
  • As an Object
  • As complement

What he likes is cooking. (as a subject)
I don’t understand what he wants. (as an object)
This is where I live. (as a compliment)

Yes/no noun clause:

Normally yes/no noun clause is made by “if” or “whether”

Functions of Yes/no noun clause:
A) As a subject
B) As an object

If you know him tell me. (as a subject)
I wonder if/whether he is alive. (as an object)

Present Tenses with definition and examples

Adjective/Relative Clause

They are also known as relative clause since they relate to a noun in the principle of their sentences. relative pronouns( who, that, which, whose) introduce the clauses, which are of 2 kinds:

  • Defining
  • Non defining

Defining Relative clause:

A defining relative clause is an essential part for the meaning of the word of the relative pronoun stands for the antecedent, and it is not separated by commas by the principal clause.

The woman who spoke to you is a soccer player.
Here the clause who spoke to you is not between commas because it defines the woman as the who spoke to you woman. You cannot write this in English. Instead you use clause without commas- (a defining relative clause)

Non-defining relative clause:

A non-defining relative clause does not define its antecedents. Commas are used because it is mainly used in written form, and what the clause says can be put between brackets or dashes.

Her friend, who is wearing a new hat, is a soccer player.
The caluse who is wearing a new hat is not used to define her friend. it is an incidental, inessential clause, and is there fore place between commas.

Main difference:

1: The first difference is that a modifier comes before the necessary relative clauses, but not in unnecessary relative clauses.

2: Commas are not used in defining relative clauses but used in non-defining relative clauses.

3: Defining clause = definition.   Non-defining clause = comment

The usual sign of a defining relative is “the” before the antecedent. A before the noun, meaning ‘a definate or particualr’ one is usually the sign of a defining relative clause.

Omission of “that”

That may be omitted in the defining clause when the subject is not the same.


The book (that)she bought has disappeared.

The girl (that) you spoke to is an Australian.

This type of clause is known as “contact clause”

Adverb Clause

An adverb clause is a clause that adds some more information about the place, time, degree, manner, circumstance and etc., of adverb, an adjective or another adverb.

There are mainly eight (8) kinds of adverb clauses.

  • Time
  • Place
  • Purpose
  • Reason
  • Condition
  • Result
  • Comparison
  • Contrast

Time Clauses:

An adverb clause which gives information about time is called Time Clause. It is introduced by conjunctions (after, as soon as, before, immediately, since, when, whenever, while, the moment etc)

For instance:  I will call you as soon as possible.


An adverb clause which gives information about A noun is called adverb clause of place. They are introduced by conjunctions (where, whereas).

For instance: I have put my pen in a place where I can find it.


Purpose is expressed by:

  • Infinitive                                                         Heis here to teach you.
  • Noun + infinitive + preposition                     I need a pen to write with.     
  • In order/so as + infinitive                                They are here in order/so as to enjoy.

Purpose Clauses:

we normally use clauses of purpose when the person to whom the purpose refers is different from the subject of the main clause.

For instance: I will give you a map so that you can find the way.

Purpose clauses are expressed by:

  • So that + will, can, may, shall and their past forms.
  • In order that + may, shall and their past forms.

For instance: We invited them to the party so that they should enjoy.

 I come to school in order that I should learn something.

Note: If the verb of main clause is in past tenses, in purpose clauses the past form of auxiliaries are used but if the verb of main clause is in present, present perfect of any future tense, we use the 1stauxiliaries.

For instance: He drew the sword so that he might defend himself.

I won’t let you climb trees so that you may tear your trousers.

 I have curved my name on the stone so that the future generations may know.

Reason Clauses:

A noun (that, as, since and because)

For instance: Since you are so clever you can be a traffic police.

  I was very pleased that you have accepted my gift.

  As he was not here, I spoke to his mother.

   Because I like you, I shall help you.


Condition means when one thing is required for another to happen. Condition clauses are introduced by conjunctions (If, whether, unless)

For instance: Unless you work harder you will fail.

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.


The structure of result clauses are:

  • So + adjective/ adverb… that … 
  • That water was so clean that we couldn’t stop drinking.
  • Such + adjective + noun… that…      
  • He is such a great man that everybody respects him.

Active and Passive Voice


Adverb clauses of comparison are of two kinds.

  • Adverb clauses of comparison of degree.
    • Adverb clauses of comparison of manner.


A clause which is introduced by a conjunction (Than) or by a relative adverb (as)

For instance: It is as fast as a tiger.


Adverb clauses of comparison of manner are introduced by a relative adverb (as)

For instance: It ended as I expected.

         As he leaves so he will die.


The structure of contrast clauses are:

  • Though, although, even though + Sub + verb                                       
  • In spite of, despite + noun/ pronoun/ gerund                                          

Example: Even though I did not understand a word, I kept smiling

Independent clause

An independent Clause is a clause which gives complete meaning by itself and does not require another clause to complete its meaning.

Example: I have money. (this sentence gives complete meaning by itself)

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