To form a complete sentence, we need to combine and mix various elements of grammar together. These elements are basically the parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, etc. And when we combine such elements, we get clauses. These clauses further become the layer of sentences that help us convey our thoughts.
Generally, we can divide clauses into two basic categories. One is the independent clause, and the other is the subordinate clause. In this post, we will strictly focus on the latter type i.e. subordinate clause. In a simple sense, subordinate clauses are basically the type of clause that cannot exist on their own. They are not capable of conveying a complete thought by themselves.
However, there are specific ways and rules of identifying a subordinate clause. Let us have a quick discussion and understand them better.
What are Subordinate Clauses?
By definition, subordinate clauses are basically a group of words that will not provide a complete meaning or a message on their own. These clauses are always reliant on the main clause or the independent clause that consist of the main subject and a predicate. Due to the fact that subordinate clauses are always dependent on the main clause, they are also known as the dependent clause.
In simple words, subordinate or dependent clauses are those that cannot stand alone in a sentence. They cannot express a complete thought by themselves and will never form a complete sentence. The main aim of a dependent clause is to provide added information regarding the main clause. Therefore, they are always introduced to an independent clause with the help of one of the subordinate conjunctions or relative pronouns to add more meaning to the main clause.
Subordinate conjunctions are the linking words that primarily aim at joining an independent clause to a dependent clause. So, when subordinate conjunction introduces a new clause to the independent clause, it is said to be a subordinate clause. By subordinate conjunctions, we mean the words such as after, before, provided that, even if, because, in order that, where, though, due to, consequently, whenever, unless, etc.
Let us look at some examples to have a better understanding:
- I love drinking tea after I finish my daily chores.
- She is having fun with her friends while her parents are getting worried.
- We can all have dinner together if I can finish my work early.
- I want to have tea before I get back to college.
As we can see, the subordinate conjunctions introduce dependent clauses to the sentences. These clauses without the main clauses would seem meaningless and incomplete. Hence, the primary aim of a dependent clause is to make a sentence complex and more informative.
Different types of subordinate clauses
Since dependent clauses are basically added information of the main clauses, they can function as three different parts of speech.
1. Adjective clauses: Adjective clauses are dependent clauses that act as an adjective to the main clause. They usually follow a relative pronoun.
2. Adverb clauses: Adverb clauses are the type of dependent clauses that act as an adverb. They are introduced by subordinating conjunctions.
3. Noun clauses: Noun clauses are the type of dependent clauses that basically act as nouns in a sentence. They may be introduced by a noun clause marker or nothing at all.
So, these are the three different types of dependent clauses. They help form complete and complex sentences with the main clause.