A clause is a group of related words that has both a subject and a predicate.
An independent clause presents a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence.
Sparrows make nests in cattle barns. (Independent clause)
A dependent clause (also a subordinate clause) does not present a complete thought and cannot stand alone as a sentence.
There are three types of dependent clauses: adverb clauses, adjective clauses, and noun clauses.
An adverb clause is used like an adverb or modify a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. All adverb clauses begin with a subordinating conjunction.
If I study hard, I will pass.
I will pass if I study hard.
An adjective clause is used like an adjective to modify a noun or a pronoun. Adjective clauses begin with relative pronouns.
Tomorrow’s test, which covers the entire book, is half essay and half short answers. (The adjective clauses modifies the noun test.)
A noun clause is used in place of a noun. Noun clauses begin with relative pronouns and can be replaced with “it” or “someone.”
However, the teacher said that the essay questions are based only on the last two chapters. (The noun clause functions as the direct object)
That someone took the cookie is undeniable. (The noun clause functions as the subject.
I talked to whoever was on the other line. (The noun clause functions as the object of the preposition to)
That is what I want. (The noun clause functions as the predicate nominative)
Key to determine usage of noun clauses:
Before predicate = subject
After action verb = direct object
After being verb = predicate nominative
After preposition = object of the preposition
Clauses Worksheet #1
Directions: Identify the italicized clauses as independent or dependent in the blank provided.
_______ 1. Because Bishop Jean Marie Latour had once lived in the room, he felt at
_______ 2. The room had changed remarkably little, even though many years had
_______ 3. The furnishing that he recalled so well still stood in the room.
_______ 4. The bishop awoke, began to shave, and reflected about the land and why
he felt so content there.
_______ 5. The bishop, who was now an old man, felt almost like a boy again in his
_______ 6. He experienced a feeling of newness and vigor whenever he breathed the
light, dry morning air of New Mexico.
_______ 7. The source of the invigorating air was the country around him, which was
_______ 8. Other places had once produced this remarkable effect, but they no longer
_______ 9. A sense of newness disappeared after an area was developed.
_______ 10. Although progress brought with it many civilized comforts and pleasures, it
also carried a high price.
_______ 11. Mahalia Jackson was an African American singer who became popular
worldwide as a performer of gospel music.
_______ 12. Although she was strongly associated with religious music, her vocal style
was influenced by jazz.
_______ 13. Jackson grew up in New Orleans, where she sang in a church choir.
_______ 14. When she was sixteen years old, Jackson moved to Chicago.
_______ 15. She worked as a maid and a food packager during the first years that she
lived in the city.
Clauses Worksheet #2
Directions: Identify each italicized group of words by writing P for a phrase and C for clause.
______ 1. Overshoes were once called arctics since they were used in cold climates.
______ 2. The house fly has five eyes located on the upper part of its head.
______ 3. When the sun is close to the horizon, it looks larger.
______ 4. The king issued a proclamation against shooting bears in the region.
______ 5. The growth of a tree splits the bark vertically, producing ridges.
______ 6. While red lights repel birds, white lights attract them.
______ 7. The poet Aeschylus was reportedly killed by a tortoise falling on his head.
______ 8. A full moon appears larger as it emerges from behind clouds.
______ 9. The computer needs to be fixed now.
______ 10. I get worried when other people are sick.
Directions: Identify italicized clauses by writing I (independent) and S (subordinate).
______ 1. When Peter changed his clothes for the party, he forgot to comb his hair.
______ 2. Coney Island once had a hotel that was built in the form of an elephant.
______ 3. Since the Romans were not mathematicians, they contributed little to science.
______ 4. Since Isaiah moved to New York, he has had three jobs.
______ 5. The surgeon was nervous, because the operation had never been done before.
______ 6. After Tony worked all summer, he bought a car.
______ 7. There were no newspapers in America until one was published in Boston.
______ 8. I like to do homework if it is relevant to the subject.
______ 9. I don’t know who did that.
______ 10. Why she bought a new coat is a mystery to me!
Clauses Worksheet #3
Directions: Identify each italicized group of words by writing P for a phrase and I for independent clause or S for subordinate clause.
_____ 1. In the far western Pacific, just north of the equator, lies a newly formed nation of islands.
_____ 2. Actually, people have lived on the Micronesian islands for a long time.
_____ 3. Basalt temples on the island of Pohnpei show that there was a civilized society there as far back as A.D. 1300.
_____ 4. Administered by Europeans and Americans for about 150 years, the islands have only recently received their independence.
_____ 5. Spaniards claimed the islands in the 1500’s, although they did not interfere with the islanders until the late 1800’s.
_____ 6. In 1899, Germany bought the islands to harvest the coconut oil there.
_____ 7. The Japanese took control of them around 1920, after which they settled the islands heavily.
_____ 8. There are four main island chains, and by 1940 the Japanese made up two-thirds of the population.
_____ 9. After World War II, Micronesia became a trust territory of the U.S., administered by the United States government.
_____ 10. When the Federated States of Micronesia formed its own constitution, the nation began its journey to self-rule.
_____ 11. If you have never snorkeled before, you are in for an exciting adventure.
_____ 12. Masks enable snorkelers to see clearly under water.
_____ 13. To enjoy this wonderful water sport you should seek instruction before you begin.
_____ 14. Snorkeling is easy, but you should familiarize yourself with all the equipment.
_____ 15. Many snorkeling enthusiasts who travel to seas around the world insist that snorkeling is the best way to discover the mysteries of underwater life.
Clauses Worksheet #4
Directions: Underline each of the main clauses once and each of the subordinate clauses twice.
1. If you have solved that puzzle, I’ll give you a more difficult one.
2. Found only in the teeth, enamel is the hardest substance in the body.
3. Please tell me what is in the box.
4. We saw the superintendent climbing the stairs.
5. The person who is climbing the hill is my mother.
6. After making several comparisons, Greg was ready to buy a stereo.
7. This is the computer game that I sent for.
8. Striding down the hall, Mr. Simms looked neither right nor left.
9. When I came home, I found my brother had arrived there ahead of me.
10. Standing in the rain at the parade, Fred got drenched.
11. A massive rock tumbled down the hill, but it caused no damage.
12. After lunch is over, we should go back to work.
13. This green comforter will look nice in my bedroom.
14. Clarence studied hard, so he passed the test.
15. Tom felt an urge to call home when he became lonely.
16. The wind is blowing hard; the sky is a perfect blue.
17. Because the weather was so bad, we cancelled our fishing trip.
18. Although I was exhausted, I could not sleep well.
19. Today I talked to Ms. Gomez, whom I haven’t seen for weeks.
20. Mary called yesterday, and I took a message.
Clauses Worksheet #5
Directions: Underline the subordinate clause in each of the following sentences.
1. The capital state of the Federated States of Micronesia is Pohnpei Island, which is also the largest island in the FSM.
2. Pohnpei’s green, rounded mountains rise gently out of the Pacific as if they were pushed straight up by the waves.
3. Even though the temperature is high throughout the year, rain and the spring trade winds cool the air.
4. There are frequent sudden downpours that nurture lush tropical vegetation.
5. Because their ancestors had built a city of temples, the islanders named their island Pohnpei, meaning “on the alter.”
6. Who built the basalt temples at Nana Madol, Pohnpei, is a secret no one knows.
7. The temples, which are still used for religious ceremonies, are sacred to the Pohnpeians.
8. Kosrae, which lies to the east of Pohnpei, is the smallest of the four states of the FSM and is shaped like a sleeping woman.
9. In the nineteenth century, European whalers found that they could live comfortably on Kosrae.
10. Truk State, which is a collection of volcanic islands to the west of Pohnpei, is home to one of the largest barrier reefs in the world.
11. Truk is a popular diving spot because beautiful reef have grown around the World War II ship and plane wrecks in Truk Lagoon.
12. That most of the people of the FSM live in the Truk islands is not surprising.
13. Yap State, where the people still grow taro and breadfruit in their gardens, is the most traditional of all the Micronesian islands.
14. Yap is most famous for its money, since the coins are giant stones up to twelve feet wide.
15. Since this money is so very heavy, it cannot be easily stolen.
Clauses Worksheet #6
Directions: Rewrite each sentence, adding a subordinate clause that begins with the word in parentheses.
1. George Washington was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (before)
2. We were just sitting down to dinner (when)
3. My mother does not approve of my watching TV (unless)
4. We would have won the game (if)
5. French is the language (that)
6. I wanted to go to the store (until)
7. Franklin made improvements (which)
8. I wanted to laugh (because)
9. She goes to work (whenever)
10. I found the remote (after)
11. The crop was bad (due to)
12. I could have hugged (whoever)
13. I love the rain (when)
14. I like to lie in the sun (where)
15. I don’t know (why)
16. I like cats better than dogs (even though)
17. I will go (as long as)
18. I didn’t do my homework (although)
19. I will take it (if)
20. I won’t do it (so that)
Clauses Worksheet # 7
Directions: Create 10 creative sentences of your own that combine main clauses.
Directions: Create 10 creative sentences of your own that combine main clauses with subordinate clauses.