Clauses – definition & meaning | types with 10 best examples

Clauses Definition & Meaning

Clauses definition & meaning

In simple words, A clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a predicate (a subject-verb).


A group of words that forms a part of a sentence and has a subject and a finite verb of its own is called a clause. The number of the finite verb in a sentence joined by conjunctions determines its number of it.


  • 1.) She is writing a novel.
  • 2.) I read.
  • 3.) I like tea & Meera like coffee.
  • 4.) She is walking.
  • 5.) He has written a letter.

Types of Clauses

The two primary types of clauses are

  • 1.) Principal Clause/ Main Clause/ Independent Clause.
  • 2.) Subordinate Clause/ Dependent Clause

Principle Clause

The principle Clause is another name for Independent Clause.
It is a set of words that can stand alone and make sense because it comprises of a subject and a verb.
Since they are entire sentences on their own, independent clauses cannot be used as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives.


1) She drinks coffee.

Here, She is Noun and drinks is Verb.

2) It is cloudy.

Here, It is Noun, and is is Verb.

3) Saarika writes letters.

Here, Saarika is Noun, and writes is Verb.

4) Harini is Radha’s best friend.

Here, Harini is Noun, and is is Verb

5) They went to the Hotel.

Here, They is Noun, and went is Verb.

6) The wind blows.

Here, The wind is Noun, and the blows is Verb.

7) I read.

Here I is Noun, and read is Verb.

8) I teach.

Here, I is Noun, and teach is Verb.

9) I like tea.

Here, I is Noun, and like is Verb.

10) She is talking.

Here, She is Noun, and is is Verb.

Subordinate Clause

The other name of Subordinate Clause is Dependent Clause.
To fulfill its meaning, it requires an Independent Clause.
Although a Subordinate Clause also has a subject and a verb, it has no inherent meaning.
Subordinate Clauses can be used as a noun, adverbs, or adjectives.


1) Whenever I travel, I like to meet new people.

2) She was busy talking to the woman whom she met on the train.

3) I want to work, but I don’t want to go to the office

4) Have you seen the book I lost?

5) We missed our train because we were late.

6) Rohan left in a hurry after he got a phone call.

7) If you are busy, call me later.

8) Although I was hurt, I continued playing.

9) They left after having dinner.

10) I couldn’t score well in exams because I was stressed.

Subordinating Words:

The subordinating clauses are incomplete due to the use of subordinating words like ‘As‘, ‘Because’, ‘Since’ ,’After’ ,’So’ ,’That’, ‘As long as’, ‘If’, ‘Although’ ,etc.

Types of Dependent Clauses

1.) Noun Clauses

2.) Adjective Clauses

3.) Adverbial Clauses

Noun Clauses

A dependent clause that functions as a Noun in a sentence is called a Noun Clause.

Typically, the following words come first in a noun clause:

“What”, “That”, “How”, “Where”, “When”, “Whatever”, “Whichever”, “Whether”, “Which”, “Whom”, “Whoever”, “Who”, “Whomever” and “Why”.


1) What he told surprised me.

2) When they will come is certain.

3) Why did you come late?

In a sentence, a noun clause may serve as the verb’s subject or object. This is so because the subject or object of a verb can only be a noun or a set of words that behave as a noun.


1) I wonder why Rani would not let me talk.

In this case, the Subordinate Clause is “Would not let me talk.” The verb “Wonder” in the main clause has this Subordinate Clause as its Object. It answers the question “What do I wonder“.

2) They told that they were busy.

In this case, the Subordinate Clause is “That they were busy” and it is the direct object of the Main Clause’s verb “Told”. It answers the question “What did they tell”

Adjective Clauses

The adjective clause is the subordinate clause that serves as an Adjective by describing the subject of the main clause.


The dog, that Saarika had drawn, looked like a fox.

Here, the Subordinate Clause “That Saarika had drawn” describes the subject “Dog” of the main clause, and hence it is an Adjective Clause.

Sometimes, There may be more than one adjective clause in a sentence.


Priya, who is Saarika’s sister, drew a lion, that looked very scary.

Here there are two Subordinate Clauses

  1. “Who is Saarika’s sister”
  2. “That looked very scary”

The first Subordinate Clause describes the Noun “Priya” while the second Subordinate Clause describes the noun “Lion”. Hence there are two Adjective Clauses in this example.

Adverb Clauses

A subordinate clause known as an Adverb Clause plays the role of an Adverb in a sentence.


He left, before I reached there.

Here, the Subordinate Clause “before I reached there” is an Adverb Clause as it describes the main clause’s verb “left”.

Adverb Clauses are of 10 different types:

  • 1) Adverb Clause of Time
  • 2) Adverb Clause of Place
  • 3) Adverb Clause of Reason
  • 4) Adverb Clause of Comparison
  • 5) Adverb Clause of Purpose
  • 6) Adverb Clause of Result
  • 7) Adverb Clause of Concession
  • 8) Adverb Clause of Manner
  • 9) Adverb Clause of Extent
  • 10) Adverb Clause of Condition

Read Also

Adverb Clause of Time

The time at which an action occurs is indicated by an Adverb clause of time.

“When”, “while”, “before”, “after”, “since”, “as”, “whenever”, “as long as”, “as soon as”, “no sooner than”, “till”, “until” are some subordinating conjunctions that are used to begin an Adverb clause of time.


They were busy in meetings when we called them.

Here, the subordinate clause “when we called them” is the Adverb Clause of Time.

Adverb Clause of Place

The place of action is indicated by the adverb phrase of place. It uses the coordinating conjunctions “where”, “wherever” etc.


He lives where it is too hot.

Here, the subordinating clause “where it is too hot” is the Adverb Clause of Place.

Adverb Clause of Reason

An Adverb Clause of Reason explains why a particular action occurs.

It uses the coordinating conjunctions “because”, “since”, “as”, “that”.


He missed the bus as he reached late.

Here, the Subordinate Clause “As he reached late” is the Adverb Clause of Reason as it explains why he missed the bus.

Adverb Clause of Comparison

Comparing individuals or things is indicated by an Adverb Clause of Comparison. Subordinate conjunctions like “than,” “no less than,” and “as” are used.


He is more humble than he looks.

Here, the subordinating clause “than he looks” is the Adverb Clause of Comparison as it indicates the comparison between two qualities.

Adverb Clause of Purpose

When the intent behind an action needs to be specified, an Adverb Clause of Purpose is used. It employs conjunctions such as “so,” “that,” “in order that,”, “so that” etc.


Carry an umbrella so that you don’t get wet in rain.

Here, the subordinate clause “so that you don’t get wet in rain” is the Adverb Clause of Purpose.

Adverb Clause of Result

An Adverb Clause of result describes the outcome or impact of something. Conjunctions like “so that,” “such that,” etc. are used.


It was so hot that we could not go out.

Here, “It was so hot” is the Principle Clause and “that we could not go out” is the Adverb Clause of Result.

In most cases, the conjunctions are inserted separately, with one word in the Principle Clause and the others in the Adverb Clause.

Adverb Clause of Concession

The Adverb Clause of Concession suggests that, in contrast to what is stated in the subordinate clause, the principal clause conveys something unexpected. Conjunctions like “although”, “though”, ”even if”, etc.


Although he worked hard, he could not clear the entrance exam.

Here, “Although he worked hard” is the Adverb Clause of Concession.

Adverb Clause of Manner

The way in which an action is carried out is revealed by the Adverb Clause of Manner. As a comparison of manners is implied, it is a type of comparative phrase. Conjunctions like “as if”, “as though”, etc are used.


He acted as if he did not hear the conversation.

Here, “as if he did not hear the conversation” is the Adverb Clause of Manner.

Adverb Clause of Extent

Adverb Clause of Extent describes how thoroughly an action is carried out. The subordinate conjunctions like “as”, “the.. the”, etc are used.


They enjoyed as much as they could.

Here, “as much as they could” is the Adverb Clause of Extent.

Adverb Clause of Condition

The circumstances or conditions necessary for something to occur are stated in the Adverb Clause of Condition. The principal clause specifies what will occur if the requirements are met. Conjunctions like “if”, “unless”, etc are used.


You cannot leave unless you complete the work.

Here, the Subordinate Clause “unless you complete the work” is the Adverb Clause of Condition.

Read Also

Stay tuned with Laws Of Nature for more useful grammar articles.

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