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Technical English - ESLI-595: Clauses

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CLAUSE: A group of related words which contains both a subject and a predicate. 


Independent Clauses

An independent clause contains both a subject and a predicate, and it expresses a complete thought. 

  • I baked the cake. 
  • After the sun set, the mosquitoes came out. 
  • I rented a small cottage. 

Subordinate/Dependent Clauses

A subordinant/dependent clause contains both a subject and a predicate, but does not expresses a complete thought. It can function as an adjective, adverb, or noun. 

  • The cat whose tail got caught in the door will be alright. 
  • When I'm older, I'll drive myself to school. 
  • Because of the mounting snow, the state closed the highways. 

Relative Clauses

Beginning with a relative pronoun (who, whom, which, that), a relative clause functions as an adjective.  

  • The mathematician who won the Fields Medal has solved another difficult proof. 
  • Bob, whom the team chose as its spokesperson, did not disappoint during the debate. 
  • Surprisingly, the product that was least successful in the focus group has become our biggest seller. 
  • The gala, which was poorly attended, did not meet its fundraising goals. 

Noun Clauses

noun clause acts as a noun in a sentence. 

  • The prisioner told us how he escaped
  • What I want for breakfast is a big stack of pancakes. 
  • This iced tea is just what I needed
  • Give the prize to whoever answers the question correctly

Adverbial Clauses

An adverbial clause acts as an adverb, answering questions like who, what, when, where, why, to what degree, and under what conditions. 

  • While her mother was busy folding laundry, she stole a cookie from the jar. 
  • Unless an unforseen catastrophe occurs, I expect you here at eight o'clock. 
  • The construction must be completed by Thanksgiving because I am hosting a party for the holiday. 


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