A clause is a part of a sentence having a subject and a finite verb. It will be significant to note here that there must be at least two clauses in a sentence for any clause to exist in the sentence, that is, there must be at least two finite verbs and their corresponding subjects. This is because a sentence will remain a simple sentence if there is only one finite verb in it, no matter how long and complex in structure the sentence may be.

Besides, there must be one main clause for the sentence to be complete. What a main clause is will be discussed in the next chapter when we shall deal with complex and compound sentence. The number of clauses in a sentence depends on the number of finite verbs in the sentence.

A clause can function as a Noun, an Adjective or an Adverb. Noun Clauses, Adjective Clauses and Adverb Clauses are called sub-clauses clauses as they depend on or remain sub-ordinate to some other clause.

Noun Clauses

When a clause functions as a Noun in a sentence, it is called a Noun Clause.


Complex and Compound Sentence

When a sentence has only one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses (noun, Adjective or Adverb Clauses), the sentence is called a Complex Sentence.

In fact, the structure of a complex sentence is a mere extension of the structure of a simple sentence. Like a simple sentence, a complex sentence can be divided into two parts, namely, the Subject and a Predicate. In a complex sentence, the subject word (or the phrase) of the Subject and the corresponding Finite Verb with its extension in the Predicate constitute the Main Clause. Sub-ordinate Clauses - Noun, Adjective and Adverb Clauses - occupy their places in the Subject or the Predicate of the sentence.

Look at the simple sentence:

My friend/met with an accident.

In this sentence 'My friend' is the Subject and the Predicate is 'met with an accident'.

This simple sentence can be expended into a complex sentence without disturbing the essential structure of the simple sentence as the subject and the predicate.

In this sentence, the subject of the finite verb 'met' is (who met?) - 'My friend, who worked as an engineer, when he was in England'.

Also, the predicate in the sentence is - 'met with an accident, which took place, when he was driving a car from Oxford to London'.

Also See: Main Clause

Grammer Topics

Sentence Formation
Noun and Verb
Simple Sentence, Clause & Phrase
Objective Complement
Intransitive Verb
Noun and Pronoun
Types of Sentences
Finite Verb
Prefixes and Suffixes
Semi Colon
Reported Speech

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