STRUCTURE | Clauses – Subordinate and Insubordinate

A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a finite verb and which forms part of a sentence e.g. The referee blew his whistle and the match stopped.

Clauses are of two types: Independent and Dependent

  • Independent/Insubordinate Clauses: This is a clause that expresses a complete thought and can stand on its own as a sentence
  1. My English teacher is a kind man.
  2. The maid cooked dinner
  • Dependent/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
  1. ……… while the boy was sleeping.

………. the goat which ate our yam.

Though the subordinate clause does not express a complete thought, it however has a subject and a predicate as seen above. In the clause, while the boy was sleeping, “the boy” is the subject and “was sleeping” is the verb.


There are three types of subordinate clauses: Noun, Adjectival and Adverbial


Noun Clause

It performs the functions of a noun e.g.

What he said is bitter (Subject of the verb)

The cook gave us what we should eat (Object of the verb gave)

Honesty is what we want (subject complement)

We call him what he likes (Object complement)

The prize will go to whoever wins (complement of preposition)


Adjectival Clause

This performs the function of an adjective, that is, modifies a noun or pronoun e.g.

The man who came here is a teacher.

That is the goat that ate our yam.


Adverbial Clause

This is a subordinate clause that performs the function of an adverb e.g.

Ada saw him when she came to his office.

She can be found where the man lives.



Indicate the type of subordinate clause in the following sentences.

  1. We heard what he said
  2. I know the house where he hid the treasure.
  3. The present you selected are not attractive.
  4. The man behaves as though he were the boss.


  1. SPEECH WORK: Stress on the 5th and 6th
  2. Words of five syllables that end in –ion, -ity have the stress placed on the second syllable from the back and third syllable respectively. Remember a stressed syllable is pronounced louder than the unstressed syllable and possibly written in capital.


-ion                                          -ity

adminSTRAtion                      authenTIcity

consideRAtion                                    conducTIvity

communiCAtion                     possiBIlity


  1. Words of six syllables that also end in –ity, -ion, are also stressed on the second and third syllable from the back. E.g.

-ion                                          -ity

            personifiCAtion                      impossiBIlity

intensifiCAtion                       responsibility


  1. COMPREHENSION: Reading for Implied Meaning

It is important to realise that, when reading, a most as much may be left unsaid in it as is openly stated. The writer sometimes takes for granted that the reader knows something about the thing he writes about but he expects that you will be prepared to piece together the information he gives you and draw conclusions from that information. It is your job then, to read for implied meaning. You can do this by.

  1. Reading the questions before, during and at the end of reading assignment
  2. Linking ideas to follow the writer’s line of thought.
  3. Bringing in what you know from your back ground to help understand the reading assignment.
  4. Testing any conclusions you draw against information given (see Effective English, SS 2, pg 181 – 182)



Read the passage again and answer the questions that follow.



Choose the correct option in each of the following sentences.

  1. He saw Obi and I/me
  2. That is she/her in the garden
  3. He is doing it like you and I/me
  4. Everyone was tired but he/him
  5. You will travel with Musa and she/her




Choose the appropriate preposition to complete the following sentences.

  1. We appealed (from, to, on) him for help.
  2. The stranger was accused (of, with, for) stealing the shoes
  3. He thanked us (on, at, for) our help.
  4. The wounded leopard charged (at, for, to) the hunter
  5. My father invested a lot of money (on, in, for) his new factory.


See also

Structure: Affixation: Suffixes

Structure: Idioms

Vocabulary Development: Hotel & Catering

Speech Sounds /I/ and /I:/ contrasted

Vocabulary Development: Words Associated with Films and TV

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