Clauses

Subject: English

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Overview

A group of words that forms part of a sentence and has a subject and a finite verb of its own is called a clause. A clause has only one finite verb in it.In this note, we have discussed clause,adjective clause, adverb clause, and noun clause.

Clauses
  1. My neighbour is a man of great wealth.
  2. My neighbour is a man who owns great wealth.

In both these sentences, the words in bold letters perform the same function: they describe the noun man. We can easily recognise the words of great wealth to be a phrase. But what about the expression in bold letters in sentence 2: who owns great wealth? This expression has a finite verb - owns, and it also has a subject - who. It is called a clause.

A group of words that forms part of a sentence and has a subject and a finite verb of its own is called a clause. A clause has only one finite verb in it. This is how we can distinguish among a sentence, a clause and a phrase:

A phrase: no finite verb

A clause: one finite verb

A sentence: at least one finite verb

Adjective clauses

  1. The boy wearing a blue shirt is my brother.
  2. The boy who is wearing a blue shirt is my brother.

In both these sentences, the words in bold letters describe the noun boy. So they are functioning as an adjective.

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In sentence 1, wearing a blue shirt does not have a finite verb in it, so it is an adjective phrase.

In sentence 2, who is wearing a blue shirt has a subject - who, and a finite verb - is wearing. So these words from an adjective clause.

A clause that acts as an adjective in a sentence is called an adjective clause.

Let us note some important points about adjective clauses:

  1. An adjective clause describes a noun. It usually answers the questions: which one? For example, in sentence 2, it answers the question: which boys? - who is wearing a blue shirt?
  2. An adjective clause is usually introduced by the words who (whose, whom), which and that. Who is used for a living being and which for non-living things and animal.That may be used for both. Very occasionally an adjective clause may also be introduced by as, when, where, etc:
    (a) I have no respect for those people who don't keep their promises. ( who refers to people - living beings )
    (b) The facts which the accused put before the magistrate clearly proved his innocence. ( which refers to facts - not living things )
  3. Sometimes the introducing word may be omitted altogether:
    Here is the purse you have been looking for. ( Here is the purse that you have been looking for. - that omitted )
  4. An adjective clause should be placed as close as possible to the noun it describes. The effort should be to place it next to the noun it describes.

Adverb clauses

  1. On his return home, Sunil found the house burgled.
  2. When he returned home, Sunil found the house burgled.

In both these sentences, the expressions in bold letters modify the verb found. These expressions tell the time at which Sunil found the house burgled. So they are acting as an adverb.

In sentence 1, the expression on his return home does not have a finite verb, so it is a phrase. Since it is acting as an adverb, it is an adverb phrase.

In sentence 2, the expression when he returned home has a subject - he - and a finite verb - returned. So it is a clause. Since it is acting as an adverb, it is an adverb clause.

A clause that acts as an adverb in a sentence is called an adverb clause.

Let us note some important points about adverb clauses:

  1. An adverb clause usually modifies a verb. Since most of the verbs denote an action,the adverb clause tells something about the action mentioned in another clause: it may tell the time, place or manner of the action; it may tell the cause, purpose or effect of the action; it may compare or contrast this action with any other action. Accordingly get an adverb clause of time, place, manner, cause, purpose, effect, condition, comparison or contrast. we shall read more about these clauses in our next class.
  2. Adverb clauses are usually introduced by the following words:
    Time: when, whenever, before, after, till, since, as soon as, while, as
    Place: where, wherever
    Cause or reason: because, since, as
    Effect or result or consequence: so .... that, such ...... that
    Purpose: so that, that, lest
    Condition: if, unless
    Concession or contrast: though, although .... yet, even if, even though
    Comparision: as ...... as, so ..... as, than
    Manner: as, as if

Noun clauses

  1. He expected to pass.
  2. He expected that he would pass.

In both these sentences, the words in bold letters answer the questions: expected what? So they are the object of the verb expected. It means that they are doing the work of a noun.

In sentence 1, the expression to pass conveys only incomplete meaning and does not have any finite verb. Therefore, it is a phrase.

In sentence 2, the expression that he would pass has a subject - he, and a finite verb - would pass. So it is a clause. Since it is doing the work of a noun, it is a noun clause.

A clause which acts as a noun in a sentence is called a noun clause.

Let us note some important points about noun clauses:

  1. A noun clause may usually act as the subject of a verb, the object or complement of a verb, or the object of a preposition, an infinitive or a participle.
  2. A noun clause is often introduced by that:
    She said that she was quite satisfied.
  3. The other words may introduce noun clause are: why, what, how, if, whether, etc.
Things to remember
  • A group of words that forms part of a sentence and has a subject and a finite verb of its own is called a clause. A clause has only one finite verb in it.
  • A clause that acts as an adjective in a sentence is called an adjective clause.
  • A clause that acts as an adverb in a sentence is called an adverb clause.

  • A clause which acts as a noun in a sentence is called a noun clause.

  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.

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