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English Grammar Tutorials

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  • Chapter 11. Clause

    clause

    Clause is a group of words having only one finite verb and only one subject and it is a part of a large sentence. The following three characteristics, a clause must possess.

  • It has only one finite verb.
  • It has only one subject.
  • It is a part of a sentence.
  • Now let us examine the following sentence. Ram says that he will go to Calcutta on Sunday next. Here ‘says’ and ‘go’ are the two finite verb. ‘Ram’ is the subject of the verb ‘says’, and ‘he’ is the subject of the verb ‘will go’. It is clear that ‘Ram says’ is a part of this sentence having only one subject i.e. ‘Ram’ and only one finite verb i.e. ‘says’. Again it is part of a sentence. So it is a clause. Now in the second part ‘he’ is subject and ‘go’ is the finite verb. Thus here we see that there are two parts of the sentence. First part is ‘Ram says’ and second part is ‘he will go to Calcutta on Sunday next’. Each of these two parts is called a clause; and each part/clause is connected by ‘that’.

    The sentence, that has only one subject and only one finite verb and cannot be divided into clauses is called a simple sentence. For example, Ram will come here is a simple sentence. The clause can be classified firstly into two groups.

    1. Principal clause/ independent clause
    2. Sub-ordinate clause/ dependent clause

    11.1 Principal clause

    Principal clause is independent and it does not depend on other clause. Now let us take the above sentence. Here you see that if we ask the verb ‘say’ with what, the answer is ‘he will go to Calcutta on Sunday next’. But if we ask any question to the second clause we can not find the first. So the clause ‘Ram says’ is independent and it is an example of a principal clause.

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