In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate, although in some languages and some types of clauses, the subject may not appear explicitly as a noun phrase. Grammar is the field of Linguistics that covers the Rules governing the use of any given natural language. According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the In traditional Grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies A language is a dynamic set of visual auditory or tactile Symbols of Communication and the elements used to manipulate them In grammatical theory, a noun phrase (abbreviated NP) is a Phrase whose head is a Noun or a Pronoun, optionally accompanied It may instead be marked on the verb (this is especially common in null subject languages. In Linguistic typology, a null subject language is a Language whose Grammar permits an Independent clause to lack an explicit subject ) The most basic kind of sentence consists of a single clause; more complicated sentences may contain multiple clauses. In Linguistics, a sentence is a grammatical unit of one or more words bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it often preceded and followed Indeed, it is possible for one clause to contain another.
Clauses are often contrasted with phrases. In Grammar, a phrase is a group of Words that functions as a single unit in the Syntax of a sentence. Traditionally, a clause was said to have both a finite verb and its subject, whereas a phrase either contained a finite verb but not its subject (in which case it is a verb phrase) or did not contain a finite verb. A finite verb is a Verb that is inflected for person and for tense according to the rules and categories of the languages in which it occurs In Linguistics, a verb phrase or VP is a syntactic structure composed of the predicative elements of a sentence and functions Hence, in the sentence "I didn't know that the dog ran through the yard", "that the dog ran through the yard" is a clause, as is the sentence as a whole, while "the yard", "through the yard", "ran through the yard", and "the dog" are all phrases. Modern linguists do not draw quite the same distinction, however, the main difference being that modern linguists accept the idea of a non-finite clause, a clause that is organized around a non-finite verb. In Linguistics, a non-finite clause is a Subordinate clause whose verb is non-finite; for example many languages can form non-finite clauses from In Linguistics, a non-finite verb (or a verbal) is a Verb form that is not limited by a subject and more generally is not fully inflected by
Clause are generally classified as either dependent or independent. A dependent clause cannot stand alone as a sentence. In itself a dependent clause does not express a complete Thought; therefore it is usually attached to an In grammar an independent clause (or main clause) is a Clause that can stand by itself as a grammatically viable Simple sentence. An independent clause can stand alone as a complete simple sentence, whereas a dependent clause must be connected to or part of another clause. A simple sentence is a sentence structure that contains one Independent clause and no Dependent clauses Examples The singer The dependent clause is then described as subordinate to a main clause, or (if it is part of a larger clause) as embedded in a matrix clause.
Examples in English include the following:
One major way to classify dependent clauses is by function; that is, by the roles they play in the clauses they are subordinate to. Since the same dependent clause might have different roles in different sentences, this classification must be applied on a per-sentence basis.
Under this classification scheme, there are three main types of dependent clauses: noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverb clauses, so called for their syntactic and semantic resemblance to noun phrases, adjective phrases, and adverbials, respectively. In grammatical theory, a noun phrase (abbreviated NP) is a Phrase whose head is a Noun or a Pronoun, optionally accompanied An adjectival phrase or adjective phrase (AP is a Phrase with an Adjective as its head. In Grammar an adverbial is a word (an Adverb) or a group of words (an adverbial Phrase or an adverbial Clause) that modifies or tells us something The exact uses of each vary somewhat from language to language, but a noun clause typically acts as the subject of a verb or as the object of a verb or preposition, as in these English examples:
(Incidentally, note that the word that is actually optional in the second sentence, highlighting a complication in the entire dependent/independent contrast: "They're having a good time" is a complete sentence, and therefore an independent clause, but in "I imagine they're having a good time", it acts as a dependent clause. )
An adjective clause modifies a noun phrase. In English, adjective clauses typically come at the end of their noun phrases:
An adverb clause typically modifies its entire main clause. In English, it usually precedes or follows its main clause:
Nonetheless, sometimes the line between categories is blurry, and in some languages it can be difficult to apply these classifications at all. Sometimes, more than one interpretation is possible, as in the English sentence "We saw a movie, after which we went dancing", where "after which we went dancing" can be seen either an adjective clause ("We saw a movie. After the movie, we went dancing. ") or as an adverb clause ("We saw a movie. After we saw the movie, we went dancing. "). More complicated, sometimes the two interpretations are not synonymous, but both are intended, as in "Let me know when you're ready", where "when you're ready" functions both as a noun clause (the object of know, identifying what knowledge is to be conveyed) and as an adverb clause (specifying when the knowledge is to be conveyed).
The other major way to classify dependent clauses is by their structure, though even this classification scheme does make some reference to the clause's function in a sentence. This scheme is more complex, as there are many different ways that a dependent clause can be structured. In English, common structures include: