What is a Clause? Definition, Examples & Types of Clauses

What is a Clause?

Definition of Clause

A clause is a group of words containing a subject as well as a finite verb. A sentence can be fully called a clause only when it has a single subject and a single verb. A clause may Function as a noun or as an adjective or as an adverb. If it functions as a noun, it is a noun clause. If it functions as an adjective, it is an adjective clause. And if it functions as an adverb, it is an adverb clause.


  • When I came here, I saw her. (Two clause sentence)
  • I completed my graduation last year.  (One clause sentence)
  • I like Mathematics, but my sister likes Biology, Because she wants to become a doctor.   (three clauses sentence)

Types of clauses

  • Independent Clause
  • Dependent Clause
  • Principal Clause
  • Coordinate Clause
  • Non-finite Clause

1. Independent Clause

An Independent Clause is a clause that is a meaningful sentence itself. An independent clause contains a subject and a finite verb makes a complete sentence by itself.

In a sentence two independent clauses can be connected by the coordinator’s conjunctionand, but, or, nor, so, for, yet.


  • I read the Novel. (One independent clause)
  • Let’s go to the shop. (One independent clause)
  • I want to buy a Laptop, but I don’t have enough money. (Two independent clauses)

2. Dependent Clause

A Dependent clause must require an object to be completely meaningful.  It is also called a subordinate clause or embedded clause. These help the independent clauses complete the sentence. independently, it cannot form a complete sentence.


  • I know that she cannot do it.
  • If you don’t eat, I won’t go.
  • He takes medicine because he suffers from fever.
  • The teacher asked a question but no one answered.

Dependent clauses are divided into three types:

A. Noun Clause

A noun clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb of its own and does the function of a noun.

A Dependent Clauses acting as Nouns in sentences are called Noun Clauses or Nominal Clauses.  A noun clause starts with that, how other WH-words (Which, What, Who, When, Where, Why, Whose and Whom), if, whether etc.


  • I hope that I will get a job.
  • You need to express that it’s crossing a line for you.
  • Please tell me who left his shoes on the floor.

B. Adjective Clause

An adjective clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb and does the work of an adjective.

These are also called Relative Clauses and they usually sit right after the Nouns they modify. 


  • The house I own is very beautiful.
  • Ali has a car which is very beautiful.
  • I’m looking for the red book that went missing last week.
  • I was wearing the dress that I bought to wear to Jo’s party.

C. Adverb Clause

An adverb clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb and does the work of an adverb.


  • The path was so rough that I could not walk on it.
  • Rina ran to the point of panting vehemently.
  • She cried because her seashell was broken.

3. Principal Clause

A Principal Clause is an independent clause that can exist even without a subordinate clause.

Independent and Principal Clauses are functionally the same but named from different perspectives.


  • She is the best girl in the class.
  • I know that girl.
  • Robin fishes like a pro.
  • He wrote a letter.

4. Coordinate Clause

A Coordinate Clause is two or more independent clauses in a sentence that are of equal importance and usually joined by Coordinating Conjunctions (and, but, or, for, yet, nor, so, etc).


  • I am a vegetarian, so I don’t eat any meat.
  • Thomas will be late to work, for he has a dental appointment.
  • She is poor but she is honest.

5. Non-finite Clause

A non-finite clause is a type of subordinate clause that is based around on a principal clause and An infinitive verb. In terms of a Participle, the Participial Phrase takes place of the Subject or Object of the sentence.


  • The person to ask about going to Canada is Beck.
  • She is the first person to enter the office.
  • He was very lucky to be the only one to win a prize.

Related Post

Parts of Speech

A comprehensive list of two-letter words


Position of adverb

Phrases by Category

Leave a Reply

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