Clause and Its Types

What is a Clause?

 A clause is a unit of grammar that contains a predicate and an obvious or implied subject. Every subject and predicate (verb) combination forms a clause. This simply means that every sentence is a clause. 

What are the Types of Clauses?

 There are two major types of clauses: (1) Independent Clause and (2) Dependent Clause.

1. Independent Clause

An independent clause has a subject and a verb and it can 'stand alone' or function as a sentence. Below are some examples:

  • Alice (subject) bursts (verb) into a flood of tears.
  • The teacher (subject) totally understands (verb) the bewilderment and fear that often overwhelms young children.

Two Independent Clauses

  • Wounds (subject) from a friend can be trusted (predicate), but (coordinator) an enemy (subjectmultiplies (verb) kisses. 
  • Wealth (subject) attracts (verb) many friends but (coordinator) even the closest friend (subject) of the poor man deserts (verb) him. (two independent clauses)

2. Dependent Clause

Like an independent clause, a dependent (subordinate) clause contains a subject and a verb, however it cannot stand alone as a sentence. A dependent clause always supplies information to an independent (main) clause. It begins with subordinators or relative pronouns.

  • although (subordinatorI (subject) knew (verb) she didn't have any proof
  • when (relative pronoun) you (subject) can pick (verb) it off and flick (verb) it away
  • unless (subordinator) for some reasons you (subject) had started (verb) a discussion with her about literature or mathematics

Independent Clause + Two Dependent Clauses

  • People do not despise a thief (independent clause) if (subordinator) he (subject) steals (verb) to satisfy his hunger when (relative pronoun) he (subject) is starving (verb) (dependent clause). 

The subtypes of dependent or subordinate clauses will be discussed in subsequent lessons. 


  • The Teacher's Grammar Book, Second Edition by James D. Williams (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, New Jersey, 2005)
  • English Plain and Simple by Jose A. Carillo (The Manila Times Publishing Corp., 2008)


Designed by Neil Yamit