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Phrase and clause – Simple, Compound, and complex sentences

A clause is a group of words that contains both subject and predicate is called a clause. Or a subject and a predicate form.

Look at the sentence:

  • The sun rises in the east.
  • It was a sunset of great beauty.
  • The top of the mountains was covered with snow.

Examine the group of words: ‘In the east’ ‘of great beauty’ or ‘of the mountains.

Each of them makes sense, but not complete sense. Such a group of words, which makes sense, but not complete sense and is without a finite verb, is called a phrase.

Now look at these sentences:

  • He has a chain ‘which is made of gold.
  • We can not start ‘while it is raining.
  • I think ‘that you have made a mistake.

Examine the group of words underlined ‘which is made of gold, It contains a subject (which) and a predicate (is made of gold) Such a group of words which forms a part of a sentence and contains a subject and a predicate, is called a clause’.

Explanation of sentences: Simple, Compound, and complex

Simple Sentence:

Look at the sentence ‘The heavens declared the glory of gold’

We see that sentence has only a subject and one predicate. It has only one finite (tense carrying) verb such a sentence is called a simple sentence.

Compound Sentence:

Look at the sentence ‘Night came and rain fall heavily and we all got very wet

This sentence consists of three parts.

  1. Night came on.
  2. Rain fell heavily.
  3. We all got very wet.

These three parts are joined by the coordinating conjunction and each part contains a subject and a predicate of its own. Each part makes good sense by itself, and hence can stand by itself as a complete sentence; each part is therefore ‘a clause’.

Each ‘clause’ is independent of the other or is of the same order or rank. Thus a sentence that is made up of two or more independent clauses is called a compound sentence.

Complex Sentence:

Now look at the sentence: ‘They rested when evening came’

The following sentence consists of two parts:

  1. They rested.
  2. When evening came.

Each part contains a subject and a predicate of its own and forms part of a large sentence. Each part, therefore, is a clause.

‘They rested’ makes good sense by itself and hence can stand by itself as a complete sentence. It is therefore called the ‘ principal’ or ‘main clause’.

The clause ‘when evening came, can not stand by itself and make good sense. It is dependent on the clause ‘they rested’. It is therefore called ‘a dependent’ or subordinate clause.

Thus a sentence that is made of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses is called a complex sentence.

Types of clauses

There are three types – 1. Noun clause, 2. Adverb clause 3. Relative clause.

Noun Clause

Look at the sentence given below:

Aunts Maria would say that she would not allow the children around.

This sentence can be divided into two parts.

a) Aunts Maria would say.

b) That she would not allow the children around.

Part (a) makes complete sense by itself, while part (b) depends on part (a) to make complete sense. It is joined with part (a) by a subordinating conjunction ‘that’ It functions as the object of the verb ‘would say. It is there, therefore ‘the noun clause’

A noun clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate of its own, and does the work of a Noun.

Adverb clause

Adverb Clauses are clauses that function as an adverb. Adverb clauses describe the characteristics of a verb, adverb, or adjective.

Examples of adverb clause

We will leave.
We finish our homework
Ans – As soon as we finish our lunch, we will leave.

We will go out.
The rain stopped.
Ans – We will go out when the rain stopped.

Don’t shout.
She is studying.
Ans – Don’t shout while she is studying.

Father called me.
I was taking food.
Ans – Father called me when I was taking food.

A stone hit me.
I was coming out.
Ans – As I was coming out, a stone hit me.

Relative clause

When a simple sentence connects to another and tells the definition of a noun, it is called an adjective or relative clause.

Examples of relative clauses:

This is the time.
We must act now.
Ans – This is the time when we must act.

The news is not true.
Sohan brought this news.
The – The news that Mohan brought is not true.

The place is dirty.
You are sitting here.
Ans – The place where you are sitting is dirty.

The lady is beautiful.
The lady is wearing a red saree.
Ans – The lady, who is wearing a red saree, is beautiful.

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