Clauses: Definition, Types & Examples


What is a Clause

A clause is comprised of a group of words that include a subject and a finite verb. It contains only one subject and one verb. The subject of a clause can be mentioned or hidden, but the verb must be apparent and distinguishable.

একটি clause একটি বিষয় এবং একটি সসীম ক্রিয়া অন্তর্ভুক্ত করে এমন একটি শব্দের গোষ্ঠী গঠিত। 
এটিতে কেবল একটি বিষয় এবং একটি ক্রিয়া রয়েছে। একটি ধারার বিষয় উল্লেখ বা লুকানো যেতে পারে,
কিন্তু ক্রিয়া অবশ্যই স্পষ্ট এবং আলাদা হতে হবে।

clause is “a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex or compound sentence.” – Merriam-Webster

একটি clause হল "একটি বিষয় সম্বলিত শব্দের একটি গোষ্ঠী এবং একটি জটিল বা যৌগিক 
বাক্যের সদস্য হিসাবে কাজ করে।"– Merriam-Webster


  • I graduated last year. (One clause sentence)
  • When I came here, I saw him. (Two clause sentence)
  • When I came here, I saw him, and he greeted me. (Three clause sentence)

Types of Clauses

  • Independent Clause
  • Dependent Clause
    • Adjective Clause
    • Noun Clause
    • Adverbial Clause
  • Principal Clause
  • Coordinate Clause
  • Non-finite Clause

Independent Clause

It functions on its own to make a meaningful sentence and looks much like a regular sentence.

In a sentence two independent clauses can be connected by the coordinatorsand, but, so, or, nor, for*, yet*.

এটি একটি অর্থপূর্ণ বাক্য তৈরি করতে নিজেই কাজ করে এবং দেখতে অনেকটা নিয়মিত বাক্যের মতো।

একটি বাক্যে দুটি স্বাধীন ধারা সমন্বয়কারীদের দ্বারা সংযুক্ত করা যেতে পারে: এবং, কিন্তু, তাই, বা, না,
জন্য*, এখনো*।


  • He is a wise man.
  • I like him.
  • Can you do it?
  • Do it please. (Subject you is hidden)
  • I read the whole story.
  • I want to buy a phone, but I don’t have enough money. (Two independent clauses)
  • He went to London and visited the Lords. (Subject of the second clause is ‘he,’ so “he visited the Lords” is an independent clause.)
  • Alex smiles whenever he sees her. (One independent clause)

Dependent Clause

It cannot function on its own because it leaves an idea or thought unfinished. It is also called a subordinate clause. These help the independent clauses complete the sentence. Alone, it cannot form a complete sentence.

এটি নিজে থেকে কাজ করতে পারে না কারণ এটি একটি ধারণা বা চিন্তাকে অসমাপ্ত রাখে। 
একে অধস্তন ধারাও বলা হয়। এগুলি স্বাধীন ধারাগুলিকে বাক্যটি সম্পূর্ণ করতে সহায়তা করে। 
একা, এটি একটি সম্পূর্ণ বাক্য গঠন করতে পারে না।

The subordinators do the work of connecting the dependent clause to another clause to complete the sentence. In each of the dependent clauses, the first word is a subordinator. Subordinators include relative pronouns, subordinating conjunctions, and noun clause markers.

অধীনস্থরা বাক্যটি সম্পূর্ণ করার জন্য নির্ভরশীল ধারাটিকে অন্য ধারার সাথে সংযুক্ত করার কাজ করে। 
প্রতিটি নির্ভরশীল ধারায়, প্রথম শব্দটি একটি অধীনস্থ। অধীনস্থদের মধ্যে আপেক্ষিক সর্বনাম, অধস্তন 
সংযোজন এবং বিশেষ্য clause চিহ্নিতকারী অন্তর্ভুক্ত।


  • When I was dating Daina, I had an accident.
  • I know the man who stole the watch.
  • He bought a car which was too expensive.
  • I know that he cannot do it.
  • He does not know where he was born.
  • If you don’t eat, I won’t go.
  • He is a very talented player though he is out of form.


Dependent Clauses are divided into three types and they are –

1. Adjective Clause

It is a Dependent Clause that modifies a Noun. Basically, Adjective Clauses have similar qualities as Adjectives that are of modifying Nouns and hence the name, Adjective Clause. These are also called Relative Clauses and they usually sit right after the Nouns they modify.

এটি একটি নির্ভরশীল clause যা একটি বিশেষ্যকে সংশোধন করে। মূলত, বিশেষণমূলক ধারাগুলির 
বিশেষণগুলির মতো একই গুণাবলী রয়েছে যা বিশেষ্যগুলিকে সংশোধন করে এবং তাই নাম, 
বিশেষণ ধারা৷ এগুলিকে আপেক্ষিক ক্লজও বলা হয় এবং এগুলি সাধারণত বিশেষ্যগুলির ঠিক পরে 
যা তারা পরিবর্তন করে।


  • I’m looking for the red book that went missing last week.
  • Finn is asking for the shoes which used to belong to his dad.
  • You there, who is sitting quietly at the corner, come here and lead the class out. 

2. Noun Clause

Dependent Clauses acting as Nouns in sentences are called Noun Clauses or Nominal Clauses. These often start with “how,” “that,” other WH-words (What, Who, Where, When, Why, Which, Whose and Whom), if, whether etc.

বাক্যে বিশেষ্য হিসাবে কাজ করে নির্ভরশীল ক্লজগুলিকে বিশেষ্য ধারা বা নামমাত্র ক্লজ বলা হয়। 
এগুলি প্রায়শই "কিভাবে," "সেটা," অন্যান্য WH-শব্দগুলি দিয়ে শুরু হয় (কী, কে, কোথায়, কখন, 
কেন, যা, কার এবং কাকে), যদি, কিনা ইত্যাদি।


  • I like what I hear.
  • You need to express that it’s crossing a line for you.
  • He knows how things work around here.

3. Adverbial Clause

By definition, these are Dependent Clauses acting as Adverbs. It means that these clauses have the power to modify Verbs, Adjectives and other Adverbs.

সংজ্ঞা অনুসারে, এগুলি হল ডিপেন্ডেন্ট ক্লজ ক্রিয়াবিশেষণ হিসেবে। এর অর্থ হল এই ধারাগুলির 
ক্রিয়াপদ, বিশেষণ এবং অন্যান্য ক্রিয়াবিশেষণগুলি সংশোধন করার ক্ষমতা রয়েছে।


  • Alice did the dishes till her legs gave up.
  • Tina ran to the point of panting vehemently.
  • I went through the book at a lightning speed.

Principal Clause

These have a Subject (Noun/Pronoun), Finite Verb and an Object and make full sentences that can stand alone or act as the main part of any Complex or Compound Sentence. Independent and Principal Clauses are functionally the same but named from different perspectives.

এগুলোর একটি Subject (Noun/Pronoun), Finite Verb এবং একটি Object আছে এবং পূর্ণ বাক্য 
তৈরি করে যা একা দাঁড়াতে পারে বা যেকোনো জটিল বা যৌগিক বাক্যের প্রধান অংশ হিসেবে কাজ 
করতে পারে। স্বাধীন এবং প্রধান ধারাগুলি কার্যত একই কিন্তু ভিন্ন দৃষ্টিকোণ থেকে নামকরণ করা হয়েছে।


  • I know that boy.
  • He can jog every morning.
  • Robin fishes like a pro.

Coordinate Clause

Two or more similarly important Independent Clauses joined by Coordinating Conjunctions (and, or, but etc.) in terms of Compound Sentences are called Coordinate Clauses.

যৌগিক বাক্যগুলির পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে সমন্বয়কারী সংযোজন (এবং, বা, কিন্তু ইত্যাদি) দ্বারা যুক্ত হওয়া 
দুটি বা ততোধিক একইভাবে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ স্বাধীন ধারাগুলিকে স্থানাঙ্ক ক্লজ বলা হয়।


  • I like taking photos and he loves posing for them.
  • You prefer flying but she always wants to take a bus.
  • We are going to visit Terry or he is coming over.

Non-finite Clause

They contain a Participle or an Infinitive Verb that makes the Subject and Verb evident even though hidden. In terms of a Participle, the Participial Phrase takes place of the Subject or Object of the sentence.

তারা একটি Participle বা একটি Infinitive Verb ধারণ করে যা লুকানো সত্ত্বেও Subject 
এবং Verb কে স্পষ্ট করে তোলে। একটি Participle এর পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে, Participial Phrase 
বাক্যটির Subject বা Object-এ স্থান নেয়।


  • He saw the boy (who was) staring out of the window.
  • She is the first person (who is) to enter the office.
  • Hearing the fireworks, the children jumped up.
  • A clause is different to a phrase because a phrase does not contain a subject and a verb. The difference between clauses and phrases is clearer when you see them side by side:
    • Anna sings when she wakes up.
    • (The shaded text is a clause. It has a subject (“she”) and a verb (“wakes up”).)

    • Anna sings in the morning.
    • (The shaded text is a phrase. There is no subject and no verb.)

    Here is another example:

    • The ravens lived where the factories are.
    • (The shaded text is a clause. It has a subject (“the factories”) and a verb (“are”).)

    • The ravens lived in the area of the factories.
    • (The shaded text is a phrase. There is no subject and no verb.)

    Clauses vs Phrases (Interactive Examples)

    Here are some interactive examples to help explain the difference between clauses, phrases, and single words. In these examples, the subjects are blue, and the verbs are green.

      • Show Simon your projectwhen he arrives


      • The boywho has autism

        is the group leader.

      • Let’s find a tablethat gets the sunlight


      • He lost his double chinafter he gave up chocolate


    More Examples of Clauses

    Here are some more examples of clauses. Remember that the independent clauses are shown in bold and the dependent clauses are highlighted. If some text is neither highlighted nor bold, then it is not a clause.

    • During the day, Vlad slept in a coffin.
    • (The subject of this clause is “Vlad.” The verb is “slept.” “During the day” is a phrase because there is no verb.)

    • When the Moon shonehe lurked in the shadows.
    • (The subject of the first clause is “the Moon.” The verb is “shone.” The subject of the second clause is “he.” The verb is “lurked.”)

    • He stalked a pretty milkmaidwho lived in the neighbouring village.
    • (The subject of the first clause is “He.” The verb is “stalked.” The subject of the second clause is “who.” The verb is “lived.”)

    Here are three real-life quotations with the clauses explained.

      • Even though I made $800 millionI am still grounded. (Boxer Floyd Mayweather)
      • (The independent clause could stand alone as a sentence, but the dependent clause couldn’t.)

      • After I dieI’ll be forgotten. (Anon)
      • A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing. (Comedian Emo Philips)
      • (It is possible to have a sentence with two independent clauses. This is called a

    compound sentence.)
    The opening words of the dependent clauses above (“even though” and “after”) are called subordinating conjunctions. Subordinating conjunctions link a dependent clause to an independent clause.

Using Dependent Clauses in Sentences

Remember that a dependent clause can function as one of three parts of speech: an adjective, an adverb, or a noun.

(1) Using Clauses as Adjectives

    • My friend who lives in London looks like Homer Simpson.
    • (The dependent clause functions like an adjective. It could be replaced with an adjective, e.g., “my


     friend.” Notice that it sits within the independent clause.)

  • You should never make fun of something that a person can’t change about themselves. (YouTuber Phil Lester)
  • (This dependent clause could be replaced with an adjective, e.g., “unchangeable.”)

(2) Using Clauses as Adverbs

  • He lost his double chin after he gave up chocolate.
  • (The dependent clause functions like an adverb. It could be replaced with an adverb, e.g., “recently.”)

  • I am not afraid of the pen, the scaffold, or the swordI will tell the truth wherever I please. (Labour-rights campaigner Mary Harris Jones aka “Mother Jones”)
  • (The first sentence does not have a dependent clause. In the second sentence, the dependent clause could be replaced with an adverb, e.g., “there.”)

(3) Using Clauses as Nouns

  • She cannot remember what she said last night.
  • (The dependent clause functions like a noun. It could be replaced with a noun, e.g., “her rant.” Notice that the noun clause is part of the independent clause. This is common with noun clauses.)

  • Now I know why tigers eat their young. (Mobster Al Capone)
  • (This dependent clause could be replaced with a noun, e.g., “the reason.”)

Here are two great reasons to care about clauses. (For the rest of this lesson, we have stopped bolding the independent clauses.)

(1) Understanding when to offset an adjective clause with commas.

The adjective clauses in these two sentences are identical, except one is offset with commas and one isn’t. They are both punctuated correctly. So, what’s going on?

  • A boy who went to my school won the lottery. correct tick
  • Michael Carroll, who went to my school, won the lottery. correct tick

Look at the first example. When a relative clause (also called an adjective clause) is required to identify its noun (here, “boy”), then it is not offset with commas. (Put another way, the subject of the sentence is “A boy who went to my school.”)

Look at the second example. When a relative clause is just additional information, then it is offset with commas. (Put another way, the subject of the sentence is “Michael Carroll.”) If you’d happily put brackets around the clause or delete it, then it should be offset with commas.

Here are some more examples:

    • You went through a phase when you dyed your hair purplecorrect tick
    • (There is no comma because the clause is needed to identify the phase. A clause that’s necessary for identification is called a

restrictive clause.)

    • You went through a punk phase, when you dyed your hair purplecorrect tick
    • (There is a comma because the phase has already been identified as the punk phase. The clause is just additional information. A clause that’s just additional information is called a

non-restrictive clause.)

  • You went through a mod phase, when you started school, a punk phase when you dyed your hair purple , and a punk phase when you dyed your hair greencorrect tick
  • (The first relative clause is just additional information (hence the commas), but the other two are required to identify the punk phases (hence no commas).)

Lots of writers fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to commas, and mistakes with commas are extremely common. Therefore, this is a key point for writers.

(2) Understanding when to offset an adverbial clause with commas.

The adverbial clauses in these two sentences are identical, except one is offset with a comma and one isn’t. They are both punctuated correctly. So what’s going on?

  • When the game has finished, the king and pawn go in the same box. correct tick (Italian Proverb)
  • The king and pawn go in the same box when the game has finishedcorrect tick

When your adverbial clause (or phrase for that matter) is at the front of a sentence (often called a “fronted adverbial”), it is good practice to use a comma afterwards (as in the first sentence above). When it’s at the back, the comma tends to be omitted (as in the second sentence).

This “rule” works well with most adverbial clauses (which tend to be adverbs of time, place, or condition). Look at the commas after the fronted adverbials in these examples:

Adverbial Clauses of Time

  • When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less. correct tick (NFL coach Paul Brown)
  • Say nothing when you win. Say less when you losecorrect tick

Adverbial Clauses of Place

  • Where there are too many soldiers, there is no peace. Where there are too many lawyers, there is no justice. correct tick (Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang)
  • There is no peace where there are too many soldiers. There is no justice where there are too many lawyerscorrect tick

Adverbial Clauses of Condition

  • If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right. correct tick (Businesswoman Mary Kay Ash)
  • You can if you think you can. You’re right if you think you can’tcorrect tick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *