A clause is a collection of words that includes both a subject as well as a predicate. It is different from a phrase. A phrase does not contain a subject or a verb, but a clause includes a subject and a verb. Needless to say, clause and phrase are essential components of writing. When a clause or a phrase is combined with other parts of speech, sentences, phrases and clauses, it conveys a meaning. 

An independent clause is a simple sentence, which explains a complete thought or idea and it stands on its own. 

For instance, my friend loves burgers. (Here, ‘friend’ is subject and ‘loves’ is a verb).

A dependent or subordinate clause is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. It does not express a complete thought or idea. In addition to this, it needs an independent clause to complete a sentence as it cannot stand alone. A dependent clause usually starts with words like since, if, when, although, because, etc. 

For example: because my friend loves burgers (Here, ‘because’ is a subordinate conjunction and ‘friend’ is subject and ‘loves’ is a verb). In order to complete the dependent or subordinate clause, an independent clause is combined to it. 

For instance, because my friend loves burgers, she regularly visits McDonald.    

Clause Definition

A clause refers to a group of words, which contains a subject and a verb. It acts as a sentence in which a subject tells the reader what the sentence is about and a verb tells what the subject is doing. In other words, a clause is a collection of related words that have both a subject and a verb. Most clauses can stand alone as a complete sentence, whereas other clauses cannot stand alone. An independent clause and a dependent clause are the most common clauses. 

An independent clause is also called a main clause that stands on its own and explains the entire sentence or thought to the readers. Apart from this, a dependent clause is also known as subordinate clause that cannot stand on its own. It begins with words like since, before, after, in order to, though, although etc.

Types of Clauses 

A clause is basically a phrase, which contains both a subject and a predicate. It is categorized into two types one is an independent clause and another is a dependent clause. Let us understand the different types of clauses in detail: 
1 . Independent Clause or Main Clause:  An independent clause or a main clause can exist by itself. It includes all the information required to complete a sentence. It contains a subject as well as a verb. 

For example: She wants to explore the world. (Here, ‘she’ is  subject and ‘wants’ is a verb) 

2.  Dependent Clause or Subordinate Clause: A dependent or subordinate clause cannot exist by itself. It depends on an independent clause to complete a sentence. This clause is dependent due to the presence of some dependent words, including because, since, before, in order to, although, etc. 

For example:  Because I cannot wait for the bus. (Here, ‘I’ is the subject and ‘wait’ is the verb). Generally, dependent clauses start with a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. A dependent clause can act as adjectives, nouns and adverb therefore it is divided into following parts: 

Noun Clause: A subordinate clause, which functions as a noun in a sentence is called noun clause. A noun clause acts like a noun in a sentence and it can be a subject, an object or a complement.

For example: 

i. What Sherry said made her family surprised. (Here, ‘What Sherry said’ is the subject) 
ii. Now I understand what he would have thought (Here, ‘What he would have thought’ is the object)

Adjective Clause or Relative Clause: An adjective clause is also called as a relative clause that explains a noun like an adjective. It modifies a noun or pronoun in a sentence. An adjective clause generally comes after the noun it modifies. 

For example:

i. The book which you recommended was helpful for kids. (Here, ‘which you recommended’ is an adjective clause) 
ii. The apartment where I live is very expensive. (Here, ‘where I live’ is an adjective clause)

An adjective clause can be restrictive clause or nonrestrictive clause. A restrictive clause starts with a relative pronoun such as ‘who’ or ‘that’. It specifies or restricts the noun. On the other hand, a nonrestrictive clause begins with a relative pronoun like ‘who’ or ‘which’. It gives additional information about a specific noun. 

Adverb Clause: An adverb clause describes when, why, where and how something occurs. A dependent clause, which acts as an adverb in a sentence is called adverb clause. An adverb clause modifies the situation in the main clause. Following subordinating conjunctions are used for adverb clauses:

i. When, while, since, before, after, by the time, as soon as – (Time) 
ii. Because, now, as long as, so that, so, since – (Cause and Effect) 
iii. Whereas, though, even, although – (Contrast) 
iv. Unless, whether or not, even if, only if, in case (Condition) 

For example:

i. Whether you like it or not, you have to finish your homework now. (Here, ‘whether you like it or not’ is an adverb clause) 
ii. If you pay your bills, you will get fast internet speed. (Here,  ‘if you pay your bills’ is an adverb clause)

Clause Examples 

Clauses are primarily categorized into independent and dependent clauses. Some example sentences of clauses are mentioned below: 
  • Swimming and reading books are my favorite activities. (Independent clause).
  • Jane decided to buy a sport car instead of a bike. (Independent clause).
  • The Christmas tree is beautifully decorated. (Independent clause).
  • The professor prepares question papers for the test (Independent clause).
  • She got admission in three colleges, but she wants to pursue studies here (Independent clause).
  • Since I don’t know him (Dependent clause).
  • Whether he can run that far (Dependent clause).
  • Before the ice-cream gets melted (Dependent clause).
  • Who is creative (Dependent clause).
  • I cannot understand why she said that (Dependent clause) .