clauses


clauses
clauses
1. A clause is a group of words normally containing a verb and its subject. A main clause makes sense by itself and can constitute an entire sentence, e.g. The train arrived at 6 o'clock. Alternatively, a sentence can be made up of more than one main clause linked by a conjunction, e.g. The train arrived at 6 o'clock and the passengers got out. A subordinate clause is one that qualifies a main clause, e.g. The train arrived at 6 o'clock when it was already dark or The train arrived at 6 o'clock in order to let the passengers out. A clause can have the status of another part of speech; for example it can be an adverb (as in the sentence just given), an adjective (The train which left Tokyo this morning arrived at 6 o'clock), or a noun The train arrived at what we thought was 6 o'clock. A relative clause is one beginning with who, which, or that that gives extra information, as in the second example above. Relative clauses can be restrictive (or defining), as in the same example (‘Which train? The one from Tokyo’) or non-restrictive, as in The train, which left Tokyo this morning, arrived at 6 o'clock (in which the fact of leaving Tokyo is incidental information and not essential to the meaning).
2. There are various ways of analysing clauses and sentences. The most important abbreviations used are S (subject), V (verb), O (object), C (complement), and A (adverbial), as in My son [S] considers [V] the price [O] quite reasonable in the circumstances [A]. For a fuller description, and more complex examples of notations, see Greenbaum, Oxford English Grammar, 311–55.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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