Kinds of Sentences and Clauses Detailed Explanation

Kinds of Clauses
Kinds of Clauses

What are clauses?

A group of words that forms a part of a sentence and has subject and a finite verb of its own is called a clause. The number of finite verbs in a sentence joined by conjunctions determines the number of clauses.

Kinds of Sentences

There are three kinds of sentences as mentioned below.

  1. Simple sentence
  2. Complex sentence
  3. Compound sentence

Simple Sentence : A sentence which has only one finite verb is a simple sentence. It may have non-finite verbs, if required. For example-

(i) She is walking

(ii) He has written a letter to help his son.

Complex Sentence : A complex sentence consists of a principal/main clause with one or more subordinate clauses. It means that a complex sentence has more than one finite verb. Sub-ordinate clauses are joined by subordinating conjunctions. For example-

(i) I know that he is a good man.

(ii) I know the man who was here last month.

(iii) When you do this work, I shall help you with money.

Compound Sentence : A compound sentence consists of two or more principal clauses. These clauses are joined by co-ordinating conjunctions such as-

‘and, but, so therefore, otherwise, or, else, nor, while, for, whereas, still, yet, nevertheless, however, as well as, all the same, indeed but’. (otherwise = or else)

The clauses of a compound sentence are called co-ordinate clause. For example-

(i) My brother cam and he handed over money to me.

(ii) She is rich but she is not vain.

(iii) Speak or you will die.

(iv) She is ill so she will not come.

(v) She is intelligent while her sister is dull.

(vi) It was dark, however we went out.

(vii) He was convicted as well as fined.

(viii) I was feeling tired all the same I went to office.

(ix) It is cold indeed, but I will go out.

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More About a Complex Sentence

As stated earlier a complex sentence consists of more than one clause. A Principal clause with one or more sub-ordinate clauses forms a complex sentence. There are three kinds of sub-ordinate clauses joined by their respective sub-ordinating conjunction. For example-

(a) I know that he is a good boy.

(b) I know the man who was here yesterday.

(c) When you do this work, I shall give you money.

These sentences represent three kinds of sub-ordinate clauses-

1. Noun Clause– In the sentence (a) ‘I know’ is a principal clause, ‘that he is a good boy’ is a noun clause.

Noun clause explains the verb, noun and pronoun of the main or some other clause. (Explanation)

2. Adjective Clause- In the sentence (b) ‘I know the man’ is a principal clause, ‘who was here yesterday’ is an adjective clause.

Adjective clause qualifies an antecedent (noun or pronoun) as the case may be.

3. Adverb Clause- In the sentence (c) ‘I shall give you money’ is a principal clause, ‘When you do this work’ is an adverb clause.

Adverb clause is required to modify a verb, adverb or adjective in the main or some other clause. (Modification)

More about Sub-ordinate Clauses

(1) Noun Clause

Take care of the rules given below while writing a noun clause-

(a) Use the conjunctions ‘that, if, whether, when, where, how, why, what (whatever), who, whose, whom, which.’

(b) Tense of the noun clause should be in the past if the verb of the main clause is in the past. The tense of universal truth does not change.

(c) Noun clause should never be expressed in interrogative form.

Sentences and Clauses Types
Sentences and Clauses Types

(2) Adjective Clause

While writing an adjective clause a student is required to observe the following rules :

(a) Adjective clause should be placed after the antecedent (noun/pronoun) qualified by the adjective clause. ‘Those’ is used for ‘They’ and Them’ as an antecedent.

(b) The verb of the adjective clause should be (singular/plural) in accordance with the antecedent.

(c) Use of connectives (relative pronouns)

Who, whose, whom For living beings.
Which, of which, which For non-living things and animals.
‘That’ may be used For ‘who & which’

But ‘that’ is usuallyused if the antecedent is preceded by ‘the same, all, only, nothing, little, few, superlative degree, interrogative pronoun, some, any.’

‘As’ is used After ‘the same or such’ in place of who or which. [Refer to note (2) under the Box]
‘Why’ is used

‘When is used

‘Where’ is used

‘How’ is used

After reason as an antecedent

After time as an antecedent

After place as an antecedent

After manner as an antecedent


Note :

1. Conjunctions when, why, where, how used in adjective clause are relative adverbs.

They express their meanings as follow :

  1. I remember the year when she was married. (in which year)
  2. She explained the reason why she had to tell a lie. (for which reason)
  3. Has he told you the place where the accident took place?(at which place)
  4. She told me the manner how her sister completed the work. (in which manner)

2. The use of ‘As’ and ‘That’ with the ‘Same” (is what way/manner)

‘That’ is used when ‘The same’ is used with a noun both in the case of qualification and resemblance.

  • I shall buy the same perfume that my friend bought. (resemblance)
  • She is the same girl that asked me for books yesterday. (qualification)

‘As’ is used when ‘The same’ is used either without a noun or when the verb is unexpressed in the case of resemblance.

  • Just do the same as I do. (resemblance)
  • I like the same perfume as she. (like) (resemblance)
  • I shall buy the same perfume that my friend bought. (resemblance)

(3) Adverb Clause

Adverb clause is one of the three sub-ordinate clauses. It does the work of an adverb. It modifies some verb, adverb or adjective in the main clause. Adverb clause may be classified as follows-

  • Adverb Clause of Time
  • Adverb Clause of Condition
  • Adverb Clause of Purpose
  • Adverb Clause of Place
  • Adverb Clause of Result
  • Adverb Clause of Reason
  • Adverb Clause of Concession or Contrast
  • Adverb Clause of Manner
  • Adverb Clause of Comparison

Note-Future tense in an adverb clause becomes Present.

1. Adverb Clause of Time

#This clause is introduce by conjunctions of time such as- ‘when, whenever, as soon as, as, while, before, after, by the time, until, till since, ever since, as long as.’

#One should be careful in distinguishing between simultaneous and preceding/succeeding actions. Preceding action should be expressed in perfect tense as the case may be.

Study the following sentences carefully-

1.When she will arrive, she will tell us about the expedition. (Change ‘will arrive’ to arrives’.)

2.When he completed the letter, he posted it. (Change ‘completed’ to ‘had completed’.)

3. As the teacher arrived, the students stood up. (Correct)

#Avoid the use ‘not’ in the clause beginning with ‘until’.

Please do not go until I return.               (Correct)

#Clause beginning with ‘since, ever since’ should be in Past Indefinite/Past Perfect and the main clause should be according to the rules of time expression. (Perfect tense or perfect continuous) For example-

Study the following sentences carefully-

  • I can’t say when he will go. (Noun clause)
  • I know the time when he will go. (Adjective clause)
  • I shall give you money when you return my book. (Adverb clause)
  • It is (or it has been) a long time since we met. (Correct)
  • It was (or it had been) a long time since I had me her. (Correct)

2. Adverb Clause of Condition

(a) There are three types of conditional clauses. Each kind contains a different pair of sequences as follows :

Condition Conditional Clause Principal Clause
(i)  Present likely condition


(ii)              Present unlikely condition/Regret, wish



(iii)            Past condition

Present Indefinite


Subjunctive mood



Past Perfect







(Would, should, could, might) + have


Present likely  

(i) If he runs, he will get here soon.

(ii) You will pass if you work hard.

Present unlikely/Regret, wish

(i) If I had a stamp, I would give it to you.

(ii) If I were rich, I would help you.

(iii) I wish I were a queen.

(iv) If I knew her address, I would send her a message.

Past condition  

(i) If she had written the letter, she would have got reply yesterday.

(ii) If she had brought money, she could have enjoyed the picnic.

(b) Conditional clauses are introduced with following connectives-

‘If, unless, I wish, would that, I would, if only, suppose, on condition that, provided, in case. For example-

(i) If you come by car, we will take you to temple.

(ii) In case you don’twaste time, you can live here.

(c) Sometimes sub-ordinate conjunction ‘if is omitted in adverb clause of condition. (‘Should, were, had’ are used instead.) For example-

(i) Should you work hard, you will pass.         (Present condition)

(ii) Were she intelligent, she would not do it.(Present unlikely condition)

(iii)Had I done it, I would not have repented.            (Past condition)

(d) Avoid the use of ‘not’ in the clause beginning with ‘unless’.

You will not pass unless you work hard.

(e) ‘Would that, I wish, I would & if only’ are used to express regret or dissatisfaction with the present. Such expression are expressed in subjunctive mood. For example-

(i) Would that I were intelligent.

(ii) I wish I had money now.

(iii) If only I hadn’t met her last year.

(iv) I wish I had had money then.

Note : ‘Would, should be used when the subjects of the clauses differ, eg, I wish you would help my brother.

3. Adverb Clause of Purpose

Adverb clause of purpose is introduced by the conjunctions ‘that, so that, in order that, lest’. For example-

(i) He goes to Delhi every month so that he may see his ailing father.

(ii) She came in order that she might borrow money.

(iii) Work hard lest you should fail.

Note : ‘not’ is avoided in a clause beginning with lest

4. Adverb Clause of Place

Adverb clause of place in introduced by the conjunctions ‘where & wherever’ but Adverb clause of place does not qualify any place given in the main clause. For example-

(i) I shall go to Delhi where my father. (It is an adjective clause because it qualifies the noun ‘Delhi’)

(ii) I shall follow you where you go       (Adverb clause)

(iii) I do not know where he lives.         (Noun clause)

5. Adverb Clause of Result

Adverb clause of result is expressed by ‘that’ in the adverb clause preceded by ‘so’, ‘such’ in the main clause. For example-

(i) He was so late that he had to miss the dinner.

(ii) He is such an intelligent boy that he can easily pass.

6. Adverb Clause of Reason

Adverb clause of reason is introduced by ‘because, since, as, now that, that.’

(i) I did it because my father told me to do it.

(ii) As he was absent, he was punished.

(iii) Since she came late, so she was fined.      (Remove ‘so’)

(iv) I am happy that you are successful.          (‘That’ means because)

Note : ‘so’ and ‘therefore’ should be avoided in the main clause.

7. Adverb Clause of Concession or Contrast

Adverb clause of contrast is introduced by ‘Although, though, even if, however, whatever no matter what, no matter how, no matter where, no matter that etc., notwithstanding that admitting that, as, whether, even though, much as, come what may, say what you will.’

For example-

(i) Though she is rich, she is unhappy.

(ii) Rich as she is, she is not happy

(iii) Even if it is cold, I shall go

(iv) Though he was intelligent but he failed.                          (remove ‘but’)

(v) No matter what I say, no body listens to me

(vi) I shall do it whether you like it or not.

(vii) Much as I like to give you money, I can’t do so.

(viii) However rich he may be, he is not kind.

Note : The main clause following the adverb clause of contrast should not begin with ‘but, nevertheless & still’. A student may write the main clause with ‘yet’.

8. Adverb Clause of Manner

Adverb clause of manner is introduced by ‘as, as if and as though’. Conjunctions ‘as if’ and ‘as though’ are used to express a contrary to fact statement. Subjunctive mood is used in this kind of statements. For example-

(i) She did it as she was advised.

(ii) She talks as if she were the landlady.

(iii) She talks as if she had belonged to a very rich family before her marriage.

(iv) He looks as if he is my brother.                   (Resemblance) (Correct)

In sentence (iv), manner clause is not a contrary to fact statement. It means that he looks like my brother. (Resemblance)

9. Adverb Clause of Comparison

Adverb clause of comparison is introduced by ‘than and as’. Comparison should be made between the same cases of pronouns or between two persons or things being compared, for example-

(i) She is as good as he is.             (Affirmative)

(ii) She is not so active as they are. (Negative)

(iii) She is as intelligent like her brother. (‘like’ is a preposition, use ‘as’)

(iv) He is wiser than me.   (Use ‘I’ in place of ‘me’)

(v) My house is larger than her. (Use ‘hers’/’her house’ in place of ‘her’)

(vi) The price of my book is less than your book. (Insert ‘that of’ after ‘than’)

(vii) I found her smarter than he.          (Use ‘him’ in place of ‘he’)

Clause Analysis

As already stated in chapter on clauses a number of finite verbs in a sentence determine a number of clauses. Non-finite verbs are not considered for the purpose of clause analysis.

1.In a simple sentence, there is one finite verb and hence only one clause. For example-

(i) She is writing a novel.

(ii) Pearl will examine a patient.

2. In a complex sentence, there are more than one clause as follow-

(a) Principal/Main clause

(b) Sub-ordinate clauses-

(i) Noun clause

(ii) Adjective clause and

(iii) Adverb clause

These sub-ordinate clauses are joined by sub-ordinating conjunctions (Look up chapter 4, based on clauses)

3. In a compound sentence, there are more than one principal clause/co-ordinate clause related to each other.

(a) Principal clause

(b) Co-ordinate clause

Co-ordinate clause is joined by co-ordinating conjunctions (Look up chapter 4, based on clauses)

Note : However when co-ordinating conjunction joins two sub-ordinate clauses, the sentence remains a complex sentence. e.g.

(i) I told her that she was polite and her sister was humble (Complex)

(ii) I told her that she was not polite and advised her to improve her behavior (Compound)

How to find out Clauses?

Now let us study how to analysis a sentence by pointing out the clause separately and defining their functions.

1. Principal/Main Clause

While analyzing a sentence, student is required to find out a Principal clause. It is easy to do so because the principal clause is not introduced by any joining conjunction.

Having found out the principal clause a student is expected to break up the rest of the sentence into sub-ordinate/co-ordinate clauses.

2. Sub-ordinate Clauses

(i) Noun Clause,

(ii) Adjective clause and

(iii) Adverb clause.

3. Co-ordinate Clause

Note : Refer to Chapter 4 (on Clauses) for the detailed study of the clauses before attempting the following questions.

The Manners of Conjunctions

Some of the conjunctions, denoting different meanings, have been used in the following sentences. As a result of this they form different clauses-

  1. I asked him when he would go there. (Noun clause)
  2. I know the time when he will come. (Adjective clause)
  3. He will give me money when I go to Mumbai. (Adverb clause)
  4. I shall not tell you where he lives. (Noun clause)
  5. I shall go to the place where my friend lives. (Adjective clause)
  6. I shall go where my friend lives. (Adverb clause)
  7. I do not know if he will come. (Noun clause)
  8. You will pass if you work hard. (Adverb clause)
  9. I do not know who came here last night. (Noun clause)
  10. I know the boy who came here last night. (Adjective clause)
  11. I know the man whom every body likes. (Adjective clause)
  12. I do not know whom she is teaching. (Noun clause)
  13. I cannot say whose book this is. (Noun clause)
  14. I have invited my friends he got built last year. (Adjective clause)
  15. Do you know which his house is. (Noun clause)
  16. I know the house which he got built last year. (Adjective clause)
  17. He gave me the same book that I wanted. (Adjective clause)
  18. I know that he will come. (Noun clause)
  19. I know the boy that lives there. (Adjective clause)
  20. I am happy that she is successful. (Adverb clause)
  21. We come here that we may study. (Adverb clause)
  22. He is so weak that he cannot run. (Adverb clause)
  23. He is such a weak boy that he cannot run. (Adverb clause)
  24. He is such a boy as does not help any body. (Adjective clause)
  1. Since she is ill, she cannot go out. (Adverb clause)
  2. As I arrived at the station, the train left. (Adverb clause)
  3. As he was late, he missed the bus. (Adverb clause)
  4. She is as intelligent as her brother is. (Adverb clause)
  5. Rich as he is, he is not happy. (Adverb clause)
  6. She did it as I advised her to do. (Adverb clause)
  7. My house is the same as yours(is). (Adjective clause)
  8. I shall do whatever he says. (Noun clause)
  9. I shall do it whatever you may say. (Adverb clause)
  10. I cannot say what he is talking about. (Noun clause)
  11. He told me what his father had told him. (Noun clause)
  12. I do not know whether he will come tomorrow. (Noun clause)
  13. I shall do it whether you like it or not. (Adverb clause)
  14. While it was raining, nobody went out. (Adverb clause)
  15. She is intelligent while her brother is dull. (Co-ordinate clause)
  16. I do not know why he will not come. (Noun clause)
  17. This is the reason why he has not passed. (Adjective clause)
  18. It was dark, however we went out.
  19. However honest he may be he is not respected.
  20. Since my brother came, he has been teaching. (Adverb clause)



About Sneha Sharma 26 Articles
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