Clauses and how to use them

There are four different types of clause you can use in English. Main, subordinate, adjective, and noun clauses.

Main/Independent Clauses

A main clause is the base of the sentence. It is a complete idea made up of a subject and a verb.

Subject + Verb = main clause

Juliana leaped into the air with joy. 

Juliana= subject

Leap= verb

Juliana + leaped = main clause

Subordinate/Dependent Clauses

A subordinate clause is dependent on a main clause in order to form a complete thought. A subordinate clause can’t form a sentence by itself it must be paired with a main clause to form a complete sentence.

Subordinate conjunction + subject + verb = incomplete thought

Examples of subordinate conjunctions:

Whenever, as, because 

Example of a subordinate clause:

Because I don’t like tomatoes (this is a subordinate clause but NOT a complete sentence)

Example of  subordinate clause in a complete sentence:

I didn’t eat them because I don’t like tomatoes. 

Adjective/Relative Clauses

Relative clauses also can not stand alone to complete a sentence but work with other parts of a sentence. There are two sentence forms you can use to create a relative clause

Relative pronoun or adverb + subject + verb = incomplete thought

Relative pronoun as subject + verb = incomplete thought

Relative pronouns:

who, whom, whose, which, that 

Relative clause:

who carried herbal medicines in her bag

Relative clause used in a sentence:

I met a tall mysterious woman at the market who carried herbal medicines in her bag. 

Noun Clauses

Any clause that serves the purpose of a noun in a sentence is a noun clause. A noun clause can be several words serving to describe one noun, making it a clause.

Noun clause:

what is behind the door = a noun description

Noun clause in a sentence:

Nobody knows what is behind that door