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The first thing to be consider here is to see the meaning of Clause, it then follow that what is Clause? a unit of grammatical organization next below the sentence in rank and in traditional grammar said to consist of a subject and predicate. And also according to Wikipedia, a clause In language, a clause is a constituent that links a semantic predicand and a semantic predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject and a syntactic predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers. A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate. There are independent and dependent (or main and subordinate) clauses. An independent clause can stand by itself and make sense. But a dependent clause cannot make sense by itself, but needs the main clause to make it meaningful. Examples

Main Clause

  • We abandoned the search
  • Call the police at once

Subordinate Clause

  • as it was getting late
  • if you notice anything suspicious.

Note that the sentence can also begin with the subordinate clause:

  • If you notice anything suspicious, call thepolice at once.
  • As it was getting late, we abandoned the search.

As it is well established now that Main clause stands on its own and does not necessarily needs the subordinate clause to make sense, due to this Main Clause are standard word and they don’t belong to any grammatical name, but due to the incomplete form every subordinate clause use to take they all belong to one grammatical type or the other and the number of Grammatical clause we have inacalude :

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(5.) If Clause? What type of Clause??


(a) The adjective clause

Also sometimes called a relative clause, this functions to modify a noun (just as an adjective does) or a pronoun. It is often introduced by any of the words who, whom, whose, which, that (and occasionally other words such as when, why, where), called relative pronouns, which are either the subject or object of the adjective clause. This relative pronoun may be omitted if it is not the subject of the adjective clause. Adjective clauses are classified as restrictive or defining (i.e., necessary for meaning) and non-restrictive or non-defining (i.e., unnecessary for meaning). If the adjective is restrictive, it has no commas, but if it is non restrictive, it is marked off by paired commas. Examples:

1. The boy that came here yesterday is my cousin.

(The italicised is a restrictive adjective clause introduced by that and modifying the noun boy. It is “restrictive” because it is needed to identify the exact boy meant: it answers the question “which boy?”)

2. My sister Adenike, who lives in Surulere, is getting married.

(Non-restrictive adjective clause modifying the noun sister. Here, my sister is already known to the listener, so the adjective clause is not necessary to identify her but merely give additional information about her.)

3. This is the boy (whom) you wanted to see.

(Restrictive adjective clause modifying the noun boy. The relative pronoun whom can be dropped.)

You should now be able to answer the usual grammar question on adjective clauses. Consider the following:

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The soldier who knew the area best led the search.


(1) What grammatical name is given to the underlined expression?

(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

Answers: it is an adjective clause and it modifies the noun soldier.


(B) The adverb clause

This usually modifies the verb (indicating time, place manner, cause, condition, degree, comparison, concession and so on), an adjective, another advert or the rest of the sentence in which it Adverb clauses are introduced by a wide range of subordinating conjunctions such as when, if, since, before, as, because, although, while, wherever after, unless, whether. Consider the following example, and the question and answer on it: occur.

They hunted him as a tiger hunts its prey


  • (i) What grammatical name is given to the underlined expression?
  • (ii) What is its function as it is used in the



  • (i) It is an adverb(ial) clause (of manner)
  • (ii) It modifies – or qualifies – the verb hunted.

(C.) The noun clause

This is a clause that can be used in any way that a noun may be used. Thus it can function as a subject, object, complement, or an appositive. The noun clause is usually introduced by that, but can also be introduced by what, where, who, whoever, whether, why, when and whatever. Example:

That he turned down the offer surprised everybody.


(1) What grammatical name is given to theunderlined expression?

(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

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(i) It is a noun clause

(ii) It is the subject of the verb surprised.

Do not give the general answer “…subject of the sentence”. This is unacceptable to examiners because it is too broad and often inaccurate, and is easily resorted to as guesswork.)

Below are further examples of noun clauses with the function of each enclosed in brackets:

1. I know that you are a student. (direct object of the verb know)

2. The big question is how we can solve this problem. (complement of the subject the big question)


So With all that has been said, this had make it facile for anyone to know what word class a particular sentence falls. Have a nice and do subscribe to our news letter for more, if any questions you can drop them in the comment section.

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