Clause and its Types | Principal Clause, Subordinate Clause, Co-ordinate Clause

Clause and its Types | Principal Clause, Subordinate Clause, Co-ordinate Clause

Clauses is crucial topic to learn before discussing Joining or Synthesis. 

What is clause?

A clause is a group of words having a finite verb. It is a part of a bigger sentence. 

E.g. –

i. I saw the boy who was buying chocolates.

ii. She went there but you did not keep your promise.

In the sentence i. “I saw the boy” and “who was buying chocolates” are the parts of the f sentence – I saw the boy who was buying chocolates. Each of these parts is a clause.

Similarly In the sentence ii. “She went there” and “but you did not keep your promise” are the parts of the bigger sentence – She went there but you did not keep your promise. Each of these parts is a clause.


What are the types of clause?

Clause is of three types —

Principal Clause, 

Subordinate Clause and

Coordinate Clause.

Principal Clause:

A principal clause is that part, which alone can make a complete sense, which is independent. It has a main (finite) verb.

As in “I saw the boy who was buying chocolates”, the part “I saw the boy” alone can make a sense. Therefore it is the principal clause. While the rest portion (clause) of the sentence can not make sense alone.

“When the sun rose, the soldiers began to march.”  in this sentence, the second part “the soldiers began to march” can make sense independently. This is the Principal Clause of the sentence. The other part is a subordinate clause.

Other examples –

  • I am going there where the sun never sets.
  • She must cry if you leave her alone. 
  • They had hidden everything before the police reached the place.
  • Everyone is asking how you can commit such a heinous crime.

Subordinate Clause:

Subordinate Clause is also known as Dependent Clause.

A Subordinate Clause cannot make sense alone. It depends on a principal clause to make a meaningful sentence.

E.g. – 

As in “I saw the boy who was buying chocolates”, the part “who was buying chocolates” cannot make a sense alone unlike the rest portion of the sentence. Therefore it is a Subordinate Clause. 

A Subordinate Clause can be classified as —

a) Noun Clause or Nominal Clause,

b) Adjective Clause,

c) Adverbial Clause.

a) Noun Clause –

When a clause in a sentence performs as a noun is called Noun Clause or Nominal Clause.

E.g. – 

What he will demand is uncertain.

I know when the train will depart.

Noun Clause Used as the Subject

  • That you are a dishonest boy is known to us.
  • What she likes is strange.

Subject Verb Object
That you are a dishonest fellow Is known to us
What she likes Is Strange

Noun Clause Used as the Object

  • Everybody thinks that I am jealous of her.
  • Her parents don’t like how she drives.
  • You know what his name is.

Subject Verb Object
Everybody Thinks That I am jealous of her.
Her parents Like How she drives.
You Know What his name is.

b) Adjective Clause –

When a clause in a sentence acts as an adjective qualifying a noun or a pronoun, is known as Adjective Clause.

E.g. – 

  • I know the time when the train will depart.
  • We saw the man who was walking along the road.
  • This is the school where I studied.
  • I have repaired the bicycle which was damaged.

c) Adverbial Clause –

An Adverbial Clause acts as an adverb in a sentence qualifying a verb or a adjective or another adverb.

Types of Adverbial Clause – 

 #1:  Adverbial Clause Denoting Manner:–

It starts with as.

E.g. –

Do as you think. You are late as I expected.

 #2:  Adverbial Clause Denoting a Place

It is introduced by where, wherever, whence etc.

E.g. –

I’ll go wherever you go.

They met where the temple was.

Put it there whence you take it. [Whence = Wherefrom]

 #3:  Adverbial Clause Denoting Time:–

It starts with till, until, since, before, after, when, while etc.

E.g. –

Sleep till the morning.

Fight until you die.

Strike while the iron is hot.

She has been waiting for us since she came here.

The bus had departed before we reached

She laughs immediately after her mother goes out.

 #4:  Adverbial Clause Denoting  Purpose:–

It starts with that, lest, so that, in order that etc.

E.g. – 

She works hard that she may be selected.

She tiptoed lest her mother should here her.

I go to bed early so that I wake up early

He read a lot in order that he becomes a wise man.

 #5:  Adverbial Clause Denoting Cause/Reason:–

It starts with because, as, that, since etc.

E.g. –

I was absent because I was not well.

As the burglars robbed her of all her money, she went to the police.

Since the road was deserted, the robbery was easy.

I am glad that you like this room.

 #6:  Adverbial clause Denoting Result:–

It starts with that, so ... that, such ... that etc.

E.g. –

What happened that you are weeping?

He is so proud that he will not apologise.

John is such a good singer that everyone admires him.

 #7:  Adverbial Clause Denoting Condition:–

It starts with if, unless, in case, whether, supposing that, on condition, provided, provided that etc.

E.g. –

If we win we’ll work overall development.

Unless you keep your promise you will not allowed to go out.

In case you needs my help feel free to call me.

I don’t know whether she likes me or not.

They will give his job back on condition that he will apologize.

She will join the party provided she is free.

I’ll go provided that I can wear what I like.

Co-ordinate Clause:

When two clauses with equal rank are joined by a correlative conjunctions.

E.g. –

John invited us and we attended the party.

In the sentence above is formed with two clauses— “John invited us” and “we attended the party”; both are of equal rank, that means both can be used independently. One doesn’t depend on the other. There joined by a coordinating conjunction – ‘and’

These clauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions such as and, or, but, yet, because, so, not only... but also, either...or, neither...nor etc. For this reason, this kind of clause is called coordinate clause. 

Other examples –


She was talking to her mother and her brother was watching TV.


I have been calling you for two hours but you didn’t answer my call.


Shut your mouth up or I'll complain against you.


I told you hundred times yet you waste time on video games.


Either Kamal is standing there or his brother is.


Neither the police can tackle the issue  nor the administrators were able to tackle it.

 Not only...but also— 

Mohan not only smokes cigarettes but also drinks liquor.

 No sooner...than— 

No sooner did Manisha enter the park, than she saw beautiful flowers.


Just as many people support Cricket, so many people support Hockey.

Thank you...

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  1. The best form of write-up which explains every aspect of topic very clearly and concisely. Excellent work. Thanks to provide us good content at par.

  2. it is good writing of clause and i liked it very much

  3. Very true and correct informations about Synthesis of the sentence.

    1. You're welcome...
      Happy to help you...
      Visit again 🙂


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