What is a clause?

A group of words which forms a part of a sentence and contains a subject and a predicate is called a clause.


  1. When she was walking on the bridge
  2. They met an accident
  3. Because he was ill
  4. How to swim
  5. Why they left him

Kinds of Clauses

1.  Principal Clause

2.  Subordinate Clause

Principal Clause

A clause which makes complete sense independently and stands by itself is called a Principal Clause, Main clause or Independent Clause.


  1. I received a letter.
  2. You helped them because they were in trouble.
  3. We shall stay indoors if it rains.
  4. She did not come to school for she was ill.
  5. I don’t know why they left their luggage here.

Subordinate Clause

A clause which does not make a complete sense independently or a clause which depends on principal or main clause for its meaning is known as subordinate or dependent clause.


  1. I was watching a movie when someone knocked at the door.
  2. They asked me where she was going.
  3. When I saw her, she was buying something from the stationery shop.
  4. Do you know how to mend shoes.
  5. Work hard lest you should fail.

Kinds of Subordinate Clauses:

  1. Noun Clause
  2. Adjective Clause
  3. Adverb Clause

1. Noun Clause

A clause that does the job of the noun is called a noun clause. A noun clause serves as a

a) Subject of a verb
  1. What I like in Ahmed is his simplicity.
  2. When they left our house I don’t know.
  3. Whatever mother cooks makes me happy.
b)  Object of a verb
  1. I know that she was ill.
  2. They asked where I lived.
  3. I know when to submit the project.
c) Object of a preposition
  1. She did not pay attention to what I said.
  2. He is not satisfied with what he has,
  3. I have confidence in what I do.
d) In apposition to a noun or pronoun
  1. It is surprising that she hasn’t realized her abilities.
  2. We accept the theory that man is a social animal.
  3. We believe in the principle that men are equal.
e) The complement of a verb of incomplete prediction
  1. Her fair is that she will lose her job.
  2. The question is where to find the key of the treasure.
  3. Love is what you think of it.

2.  Adjective Clause

A clause that functions as an adjective is called an Adjective Clause.

An Adjective Clause is introduced by a relative pronoun like who, which, that, whom, whose  and relative adverbs like where, when and why.


  1. The man who is standing by the lamp post is a detective.
  2. The woman whom you met in the library is our new English teacher.
  3. The baby whose mother was lost was taken to the hospital.
  4. Students who work hard get good grades.
  5. Grandma remembers the days when there was no television.
  6. The books that were borrowed from the library must be returned.
  7. The shop where new cell phones are sold has a long queue.
  8. Flowers that smell sweet are fragrant.

3.  Adverb Clause

A clause that functions as an adverb is called an Adverb Clause.


  1. If you see her, please convey my message to her.
  2. I stopped cleaning my house because I was very tired.
  3. I haven’t seen Ahmed since he left the college.
  4. Where there is a will, there is a way.
  5. If you help them, I will be happy.
  6. I am glad that he has passed the exam.
  7. I felt very happy when I met my old friend.
  8. Wherever you go, I will follow you.

Kind of Adverb Clause

  1. Adverb Clause of Time
  2. Adverb Clause of Place
  3. Adverb Clause of Purpose
  4. Adverb Clause of Manner
  5. Adverb Clause of Cause/Reason
  6. Adverb Clause of Condition
  7. Adverb Clause of Result
  8. Adverb Clause of Comparison
  9. Adverb Clause Supposition

1.  Adverb Clause of Time

A clause which is used to indicate time is called an Adverb Clause of Time.


  1. I stopped when I saw my old friend.
  2. They went home after the concert ended.
  3. Don’t talk while I am teaching.

Most common conjunctions of time are when, whenever, before, after, as, while, until, as soon as, and since.

2.  Adverb Clause of Place

A clause used to indicate a place is called an Adverb Clause of Place.


  1. We visited the place where he has built a school for blind and deaf children.
  2. I don’t know where she lives.
  3. He followed her wherever she went.

Most common conjunctions of place are where, wherever and everywhere.

3.  Adverb Clause of Purpose

A clause used to indicate a purpose is called an Adverb of Purpose.


  1. Work hard lest you should fail.
  2. He came to Pakistan so that he might see historical places.
  3. He worked hard to earn money in order that he might educate his children.

Most common conjunction of purpose are so that, lest, and in order that.

4. Adverb Clause of Manner

A clause used to indicate how something happens is called an Adverb Clause of Manner.


  1. The family looked as though they were in financial crises.
  2. He talked to us like he was a man of wisdom.
  3. The robber ran as if he had seen the police.

Most common conjunctions of manner are as if, like, and as though.

5. Adverb Clause of Cause/Reason

A clause used to indicate why something happens is called an Adverb Clause of Cause or Reason.


  1. I stopped running because I was very tired.
  2. Since she has desire to become a doctor, she refused to marry.
  3. As it was quite pleasant, they went to the park.

The most common conjunction of cause/reason are because, since, and as.

6.  Adverb Clause of Condition

A clause used to tell us about the circumstances under which something happens is called an Adverb of Condition.


  1. If you help the poor, I will be happy.
  2. I can help you provided that you must follow my advice.
  3. You must obey the orders whether you like or not.

Most common conjunctions of condition are if, unless, provided that, whether, and so long as.

7. Adverb Clause of Result

A clause which is used to indicate result or consequence is called an Adverb of Result or Effect.


  1. We were so tired that we couldn’t stay awake.
  2. He spoke to them in such a way that they wanted to see him again.
  3. Such was his ability in mathematics that we were amazed at it.

These adverb clauses usually begin with so—that and such—-that. Usually an adjective is placed between so…and….that.

8. Adverb of Comparison

A clause used to show a comparison between things or ideas is called an Adverb Clause of Comparison.


  1. My brother is older than he looks.
  2. Maria is as beautiful as Meera.
  3. She was much happier than I thought.

The most common conjunctions of comparison are as, as – as, so – as, and than.

9. Adverb of Supposition or Concession

A clause used to indicate the supposition or concession is called an Adverb of Supposition or Concession.


  1. Although it rained, they continued to play outdoors.
  2. Even though I was full, I couldn’t stop eating.
  3. Though she is clever, she is not proud.

Most common conjunctions of supposition or concession are though, even though, even if, while and where as.