In this section you will learn what clauses are and the different types.

What is a clause?

In English they are grammatical units that contain a subject and a verb.

I feel better because I took my medicine.

I feel better – this part is known as an independent clause.

Because I took my medicine – this part is known as a dependent clause

Both of them are clauses; they contain a subject and a verb (it is not always the case though).

Types of clauses in English

What are independent clauses?

Independent clauses (also known as main clauses) can stand alone and they convey a complete thought without the presence of other ones. In addition, when there is just one independent clause, they are considered simple sentences too.

The company is developing a new software.
The tourists are enjoying the stunning view.
She has an angelic voice.

You can join more independent clauses together by using coordinating conjunctions.

She loves dancing, so she will become a professional dancer.

What are dependent clauses?

Dependent clauses (also known as subordinate clauses) cannot stand alone and they do not convey a complete thought, they need the presence of an independent clause to make sense. They are accompanied by subordinating conjunctions, relative adverbs or relative pronouns.

He needs to see the boss as soon as he gets here.
After you send the project, you must let us know that you did.
Whether it rains or not, we are going to see you off at the bus station.

Types of dependent clauses

There are three types: noun clauses, adjective clauses and adverb clauses.

Noun clauses play the role of a noun in a sentence and they can function as the subject or object of a sentence.

Common words to start a noun clause: how, however, that, what, whatever, when, whenever, where, wherever, whether, which, who, whoever, whom, whomsoever, why.

What you did made me angry. (subject)
I heard that you found your markers. (object)

Adjective clauses (also known as relative clauses) play the role of an adjective in a sentence and they provide information about the noun or pronoun they modify. There are two types: essential adjective clauses and non-essential adjective clauses.

I like to debate with people who don’t share the same ideas as me. (essential adjective clause)
Green park, which is located across the street, is the most visited in the city. (non-essential adjective clause)

Adverb clauses play the role of an adverb in a sentence and they provide information about the verb, adjective or adverb they modify. Subordinating conjunctions are used to introduce adverb clauses.

I left the party because I wasn’t feeling well.
We’ll be waiting for you by the time you get here.

Read more about English grammar here.