English Language (All Classes)


A clause is a group of words with finite verb. A clause should have a subject and a predicate. e.g. John bought a piece of land.

Subject: John

Predicate – bought a piece of land


Types of Clause

There are two types of clauses.

  1. Independent clauses: These are also called main or principal clauses. An independent clause expresses a complete thought and can stand on its own as a sentence. e.g. My English master is a kind man.
  2. Dependent Clause: These are also called subordinate clauses. A dependent clause does not express a complete thought and cannot stand on its own as a sentence. It depends on an independent clause for its meaning E.g. which he recommended.

There are three types of subordinate clauses.

Noun Clauses

A noun clause is a subordinate clause that has a noun as the head word. A noun clause performs the functions of a noun. A noun clause is usually introduced by ‘what’ and ‘that’, but ‘that’ is sometimes omitted before the noun clause. A noun clause answers the question ‘what or who?’

Examples of noun clauses

  1. That he was insulted painted him a great deal.
  2. The important thing is that he has arrived.
  3. Honesty is what we want.


Functions of Noun Clause

A noun clause performs the functions of a noun

  1. Subject of a sentence

What he said is bitter.

That he was insulted pained him a great deal.

  1. Object of a sentence

The cook us what we should eat

He told us that he would come.

  1. Complement of subject

Honestly is  what we want.

The important thing is that he has arrived

  1. Complement of object

We call him what he likes.

Complement of a preposition

The prize will go to whoever wins.


Adjectival Clauses

An adjectival clause is a subordinate clause that performs the functions of an adjective. The following conjunctions are usually used to introduce adjectival clause; who, whom, whose, that, which, etc.

Examples of adjectival clauses

  1. The man who came here is a teacher, (‘who came here’ modifies the noun ‘man’)
  2. That is the goat that ate our yam. (‘that ate our yam’ modifies the noun’goat’)
  3. It was he who slapped me. (‘who slapped me’ modifies the pronoun’he’)
  4. The lady whose car was stolen is crying. (‘whose car was stolen’ modifies the noun ‘lady)
  5. She has visited the place where he was born. (‘where he was born’ modifies the noun ‘place’)
  6. Here is the man about whom I was talking to you. (‘about I was talking to you’ modifies the noun ‘man’)


Adverbial clause

An adverbial clause is a subordinate clause that performs the functions of an adverb. Such as telling us how, when, where, why, to what extent, or under what conditions, the action of the verb is performed. In other words, the adverbial clause modifies the verb in the main clause.

Examples of adverbial clauses

  1. She sings as if she were happy. (Manner; ‘as if she were happy’ modifies the verb ‘sings’)
  2. Ada saw him when she came to his office (Time; ‘when she came to his office’ modifies the verb ‘saw’)
  3. She can be found where the man lives. (Place; ‘where the ‘man lives’ modifies the verb ‘can be found’)
  4. The man worked so hard that he soon feel sick. (Result: ‘that he soon fell sick’ modifies the verb ‘worked’, together with its modifier ‘so hard’)
  5. We shall go out if it does not rain. (Condition: ‘if it does not rain’ modifies the verb ‘shall go’, together with its modifier ‘out’)


Types of Adverbial Clauses

The different types of adverbial clause correspond with the nature of information which the clause gives about the verb in the main clause.

i. Of time

Emeka did not bring gifts when he visited you last. Before you start writing, study the question carefully.

ii. Of Place

He left the letter where it could be easily seen.Send us wherever you want to

iii. Of manner

The Lady is treating is as if we were her servant. The boy  danced  as though he had been dancing all his life.

iv. Of reason

Because he was wrong, he apologized.

He had to fight back since he had no other option.

v. Of purpose

The athelete trained very hard so that he might win the race.

In order that he might secure a seat, he arrived early at the stadium.

vi. Of result

Sule ate so much food at the party that he started vomiting.

The official worked so hard that he had a breakdown.

vii. Of comparison

Amadi drank more wine than I did.

My brother works as hard as I do.

viii. Of condition

We shall attend his party if he invites us.

Unless he invites us. We shall not attend the party.

ix. Of concession

Although Obi is poor, he is well respected.

He is intelligent even if he is naive


See also






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