When learning or teaching English, we often hear about ‘clauses’. But what is a clause? Is a clause a sentence? In this post, perhaps a little ambitiously, I’m going to try to give you an outline and examples of common types of clauses that you might encounter in English, and give you an idea of how to understand and use them. I say ambitious, because there are lots of different kinds of clauses, used in lots of different ways, and there’s no way a simple summary could hope to capture them all. The topics that I’ll try to cover in this post are:
- Simple clauses
- Subordinate and dependent clauses
- Relative pronouns and subordinating conjunctions
- Adverb, noun, and adjective clauses
- Independent clauses
The simplest clauses are the same as the simplest sentences. These are most often a series of words that follow the pattern subject-verb-object or just subject-verb.