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Clauses: Building Blocks

for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Aclauseisagroupof
relatedwordscontaining
asubjectandaverb.
Itisdifferentfromaphraseinthataphrasedoes
notincludeasubjectandaverbrelationship.
Therearemanydifferentkindsofclauses.Itwouldbe
helpfultoreviewsomeofthegrammarvocabularywe
usetotalkaboutclauses.
WordsandphrasesinthiscolorarehyperlinkstotheGuidetoGrammar&Writing.

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Clausesgobymanynames.Herearesomedefinitions:
1.Independent:Aclausethatcanstandbyitselfandstillmake
sense.Anindependentclausecouldbeitsownsentence,butisoften
partofalargerstructure,combinedwithotherindependentclauses
andwithdependentclauses.Independentclausesaresometimes
calledessentialorrestrictiveclauses.
2.Dependent:Aclausethatcannotstandbyitself.Itdependson
somethingelse,anindependentclause,foritsmeaning.A
dependentclausetryingtostandbyitselfwouldbea
sentencefragment.Dependentclausesaresometimescalled
subordinate,nonessential,ornonrestrictiveclauses.Wewill
reviewthedifferentkindsofdependentclauses.

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences
Andherearesomeexamplesofindependentclauses....

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1.Independentclauses:
Glaciersoftenleavebehindholesintheground.
Theseholesarecalledkettles,andtheylookjustlike
scoopedoutpots.
Glaciersalsoleavebehindenormousdepositsofglacial
garbage;thesedepositsarecalledmorains.
Kettleholesresultwhenalargeblockoficeisleftbehind
theglacierandthenmeltsaway,leavingalargedepression.
Thislastsentencedeservesfurtherattention....

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Noticethatthissentenceconsistsofaverybriefindependent
clausefollowedbyalongandcomplexdependentclause.
Kettleholesresultwhenalargeblockoficeisleftbehind
theglacierandthenmeltsaway,leavingalargedepression.
Thedependentclausebeginswithwhatiscalleda
subordinatingconjunction.Thiscausestheclausetobe
dependentupontherestofthesentenceforitsmeaning;it
cannotstandbyitself.
More on dependent clauses in a moment. . . .

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Independentclausescanbeconnectedinavarietyofways:
1.Byacommaandlittleconjunction(and,but,or,nor,for,
yet,andsometimesso).
2.Byasemicolon,byitself.
3.Byasemicolonaccompaniedbyaconjunctiveadverb
(suchashowever,moreover,nevertheless,asaresult,
consequently,etc.).
4.And,ofcourse,independentclausesareoftennot
connectedbypunctuationatallbutareseparatedbyaperiod.

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Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences
Dependentclausescanbeidentifiedandclassifiedaccordingto
theirroleinthesentence.
Nounclausesdoanythingthatanouncando.Theycanbe
subjects,objects,andobjectsofprepositions.
WhatTurveydrophasforgottenaboutAmericanpolitics
couldfillentirelibraries.
PresidentJohnsonfinallyrevealedwhathehadinmindfor
hiscongressionalleaders.
SheilaThistlethwaitehaswrittenamarvelousbookabout
howAmericanpoliticsandeconomicprocessesoftenrun
countertocommonsense.

CapitalCommunityCollege

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences
Dependentclausescanbeidentifiedandclassifiedaccordingto
theirroleinthesentence.
ADVERBCLAUSEStendtotellussomethingaboutthe
sentencesmainverb:when,why,underwhatconditions.
AfterJubalEarlyinvadedtheoutskirtsofWashington,
Congressionalleaderstookthesouthernthreatmoreseriously.
Lincolninsistedonattendingthetheaterthatnightbecauseit
wasimportanttodemonstratedomestictranquility.
Noticehowthedependentclausesbeginwithdependentwords,
wordsthatsubordinatewhatfollowstotherestofthesentence.
Thesewordsarealsocalledsubordinatingconjunctions.

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Dependentclausescanbeidentifiedandclassifiedaccordingto
theirroleinthesentence.
ADJECTIVECLAUSESmodifynounsorpronounsinthe
restofthesentence..

TheInternet,whichstartedoutasameansformilitaryandacademic
typestosharedocuments,hasbecomeahouseholdnecessity.
TimBernersLee,whodevelopedtheWorldWideWeb,couldnever
haveforeseenthepopularityofhisinvention.
Thegraphicaluserinterface(GUI)thatwealltakeforgranted
nowadaysisactuallyalatedevelopmentintheWorldWideWeb.
Notice,now,howthesubjectisoftenseparatedfromitsverbby
informationrepresentedbythedependentclause.

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

Sometimesanadjectiveclausehasnosubjectotherthanthe
relativepronounthatintroducestheclauses.
The Internet was started in 1969 under a contract let by the
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which connected
four major computers at universities in the southwestern US
(UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, UCSB, and the University
of Utah).
Suchclausesallbeginningwithwhich,that,oraform
ofwhoarealsoknownasRELATIVECLAUSES.The
relativepronounservesasthesubjectofthedependentclause
andrelatestosomewordorideaintheindependentclause.

Clauses: Building Blocks


for Sentences

CapitalCommunityCollege

UnderstandingCLAUSESandhowtheyareconnectedwithin
thelargerstructureofyoursentencewillhelpyouavoid
SentenceFragments

RunonSentences

andmakeitpossibleforyoutopunctuateyoursentences
properlyandwriteconfidentlywithavarietyofsentence
structures.

Dont forget to take the


quizzes listed at the end
of the section on clauses.

This PowerPoint presentation was created by


Charles Darling, PhD

CapitalCommunityCollege

Professor of English and Webmaster


Capital Community College
Hartford, Connecticut
copyright November 1999