Section 6: Introduction to Clauses

Section 6 explores analysis at the level of CLAUSES.

A CLAUSE is a grammatical structure with both a nominal subject and a main verb phrase. If both elements are not present, then it cannot be a clause.

IMPORTANT: remember that a clause is NOT a sentence. A sentence can contain one clause, or it can contain many, many clauses. We'll talk more about sentences and the ways that multiple clasues help us analyze for sentence variety in Section 7.

Section 6 has three primary sub-sections for understanding clauses:

Clause Types - Basically, English has FIVE simple clause types. The structural differences in the main verb phrase and its predicate elements are what distinguish the five types.

Clause Forms and Functions - There are two primary clause forms: independent clauses and dependent clauses. The most common dependent clause forms include subordinate clauses, relative clauses, that-clauses, and interrogative clauses. More importantly, dependent clauses must perform some function (nominal, adverbial, or adjectival) in the context of a sentence.

Other Clauses - There are two "other", primarily independent, clauses that we will review: interrogatives and imperatives.

The primary goal for this sub-section is to help you develop analytical strategies at the CLAUSE level. This means an ability to identify in context:

  • intransitive main verbs, linking main verbs (including BE main verbs), and transitive main verbs 
  • five basic clause types
  • differences between main verb forms and main verb types
  • verb complements in clauses, in particular subject complements (predicate adjectives, predicate nominatives), direct objects, and adverb phrases
  • independent and dependent clauses
  • form and function of each dependent clause 

Once you have read all of the pages in this section, you can develop your anlaytical skills further by reading through the ANALYZING EXAMPLES page, then working your way through the Section 6 Practice Exercises.