Understanding Clauses

A clause is a part of a sentence that consists of a subject and a predicate (a verb along with any objects or modifiers associated with it). Clauses are fundamental in constructing sentences in English language and they play a significant role in qualifying, modifying and defining specific words in a sentence.

Different Types of Clauses

Understanding the different types of clauses helps in constructing proper sentences and in enhancing the clarity of your message. Different types of clauses can provide different layers of information about the subject of the sentence. Below are the types of clauses.

1. Independent Clauses

As the name suggests, an independent clause can stand on its own as a complete sentence. It describes a complete action or thought and does not need any other word group to provide a complete thought. An independent clause contains a subject and a predicate. It expresses a complete thought and can stand by itself as a sentence.


  • She runs.
  • Jessica plays the piano.

2. Dependent Clauses

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, are not complete sentences. They are dependent on independent clauses to make sense. Dependent clauses also have a subject and a predicate, but they can't stand alone as a complete thought. These clauses are often introduced with subordinating conjunctions.


  • Because she runs (Dependent clause is incomplete without further information).
  • When Jessica plays the piano (Dependent clause is incomplete without further information).

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses, also known as adjective clauses, are a type of dependent clause that are used to modify a noun or a noun phrase. They give additional information about the noun in the sentence. Relative clauses start with relative pronouns such as 'who', 'which', 'that', 'whom' etc.


  • The boy who wears glasses is my cousin.
  • The book which lies on the table is mine.

Rules to Construct Clauses

Here are few rules to keep in mind while constructing sentences using clauses:

1. Complete Sentences

Ensure all your independent clauses are complete sentences. They should contain a subject and a verb, and communicate a complete thought.

Incorrect: Goes to school.

Correct: He goes to school.

2. Fragment Sentences

Avoid using dependent clauses alone. Doing so results in fragment sentences which are grammatically incorrect.

Incorrect: Because he goes to school.

Correct: He is my best friend because he goes to school with me.

3. Linking Clauses

Use correct conjunctions to connect different clauses. The conjunctions 'and', 'but', 'or', etc., are used to connect independent clauses. Subordinating conjunctions such as 'although', 'because', 'since', etc., are often employed to introduce dependent clauses.

Constructing Complex Sentences with Clauses

Complex sentences can be constructed using a combination of independent and dependent clauses. This adds depth to your writing and enables you to communicate complex thoughts and ideas.


  • Although it was raining, John went out to play.
  • She visited the museum after she finished her work.


Clauses are an essential part of English grammar. By mastering the rules of constructing clauses, you can improve your sentence construction and make your writing and speech more clear and effective. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, keep practicing and you will certainly get better at it. Happy learning!

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