Different Types of Dependent Clauses

Welcome to Anabelle’s Minute Writing Workshops!

This week we’re going to delve a bit deeper in dependent clauses.

A reminder: a clause is a part of a sentence that expresses a proposition. An independent clause can be part of a sentence, but it can be a sentence all by itself.

Dependent clauses are more complex. Because they “depend” on other clauses to have meaning, they cannot be used on their own. For example: “John went to the hospital because he was sick”. There are two clauses here: “John went to the hospital” and “because he was sick”. The first clause can be a sentence (i.e. you can put a period at the end and it makes sense), but not the second (“Because he was sick.” is incorrect).

As you have gathered already, dependent clauses modify or add to the meaning of a word in the sentence. Here are the basic types of dependent clauses:

An adverbial clause modifies the verb as would an adverb. The previous example is an adverbial clause: “because he was sick” modifies “went”. (“He went because he was sick.”)

A noun clause has the same function as a noun in the sentence. The clause can be used as a subject (“The person living here is very clean”–“The tenant is very clean”) or as a complement (“John likes the woman who cleans a lot”–“John likes Mary”).

A relative clause functions as an adjective. It has to meet two other criteria: it contains a verb and it starts with a relative adverb or a relative pronoun (when, where why, who, whom whose, that, which). This is where it gets complicated–I’ll keep the relative clause for next week to let us go more in depth.


Are these grammar posts helpful or interesting in any way? Is there any grammar topic you’d like me to cover in future posts?


1 Comment

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One response to “Different Types of Dependent Clauses

  1. Later this month, you could cover the Santa Clause :-)

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