The Clause
DECS Languages & Multicultural
Education Portfolio Group
Professional Development and Resource
Materials for ESL
The clause
•is the basic unit of meaning in English
•conveys a message
•can provide information about
what is happening (verb group)
who, what is taking part (participant – usually
a noun group)
when, where, how, why surrounding the
activity (circumstance)
•can be identified by the presence of a
single verb or verb group.
Examples of clauses
• Help!
• Help me!
• The woman was able to help me.
• Yesterday the young woman was able to help me.
• Yesterday the young woman who was passing was able to help me
at the scene of the accident.
• Yesterday the young German woman who was passing was able to
help me immediately at the scene of the accident.
• Yesterday, because of her first aid experience, the young German
woman who was passing was able to immediately help me at the
scene of the accident.
Parts of a Clause
Generally each clause must have a verb to be classed as a clause
Help!
Help me!
The woman was able to help me.
Yesterday the young woman was able to help me.
Yesterday the young woman who was passing was able to help me at the
scene of the accident.
Yesterday the young German woman who was passing was able to help
me immediately at the scene of the accident.
Yesterday, because of her first aid experience, the young German woman
who was passing was able to immediately help me at the scene of the
accident.
Parts of a Clause
Participant - who or what is taking part (usually a noun group)
Help!
Help me!
The woman was able to help me.
Yesterday the young woman was able to help me.
Yesterday the young woman who was passing was able to help me at the
scene of the accident.
Yesterday the young German woman who was passing was able to help
me immediately at the scene of the accident.
Yesterday, because of her first aid experience, the young German woman
who was passing was able to immediately help me at the scene of the
accident.
Parts of a Clause
Circumstances
(when, where, how, why – giving more information about the verb)
Help!
Help me!
The woman was able to help me.
Yesterday the young woman was able to help me. (When)
Yesterday the young woman who was passing was able to help me at the
scene of the accident. (Where)
Yesterday the young German woman who was passing was able to help
me immediately at the scene of the accident. (How)
Yesterday, because of her first aid experience, the young German woman
who was passing was able to immediately help me at the scene of the
accident. (Why)
Parts of a Clause
Identify the verb group, the participant and circumstances in the following - some
examples comprise two clauses.
You must give some money to charity.
All my life I have supported the environment.
Cook the biscuits in the oven for twenty minutes.
Have you played tennis recently?
In each hole, the dog found one or two bones.
He ran down the stairs very quickly.
All my life I have supported the environment but now I want to give up.
I played tennis recently and I enjoyed it immensely.
After working hard during the term, I’m looking forward to the holidays.
He said that he needed a holiday.
Independent and Dependent Clauses
Independent
Can stand on its own and convey a message
Is always finite – ie has a Subject (unless in the imperative form)
You must give some money to charity. (Independent)
You must give some money to charity (Independent)
because you are very rich (Dependent)
You must give some money to charity (Independent) and
you should give some to me as well. (Independent)
Independent and Dependent Clauses
Dependent
Cannot stand on its own – is bound to an independent clause, eg with a
binding conjunction such as “if” to make meaning.
Usually provides more circumstantial information eg ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and
‘why’ or projects mental or verbal processes
When I get home (Dependent) I am going to bed
He thought that he should go home (Dependent)
Can be moved with the binding conjunction in front of or after the independent
clause and the meaning remains the same.
If I am going to be late (Dependent), I will ring you (Independent).
OR
I will ring you (Independent) if I am going to be late. (Dependent)
Independent and Dependent Clauses
Non - finite Dependent Clauses
Some sentences include dependent clauses which
have non-finite verbs i.e. verbs with no Subject
To make a cake you usually need eggs. (Dependent
clause using the infinitive “to make”)
You can book a holiday by going to the internet.
(Dependent clause using the present participle
“going”)
After eating dinner, she watched TV. (Dependent
clause using the present participle “eating”)
Dependent or Independent?
Activity
Identify the dependent and independent clauses
When the tap is turned on, be sure it is not too hot.
After five minutes place the mixture in the oven.
By dialling an emergency number, I quickly got help.
Because I wasn’t really sure of myself, I decided not to go.
People are destroying the environment by logging forests.
Do you like opera?
Even though she disagrees with me, she will listen to me
They knew that I would go.
To make a great pizza, you need a good base.
I went to Broome, which is a really interesting place.
Activity Answers
When the tap is turned on, (Dependent) be sure it is not too hot.
After five minutes, place the mixture in the oven (Independent)
By dialling an emergency number (Dependent, non-finite), I quickly got
help.
Because I wasn’t really sure of myself, (Dependent) I decided not to go.
People are destroying the environment (Independent) by logging forests
Do you like opera? (Independent)
Even though she disagrees with me, (Dependent) she will listen to me
They knew (Independent) that I would go.
To make a great pizza, (Dependent, non-finite) you need a good base.
I went to Broome, which is a really interesting place.(Dependent)
Interrupting Clause
Joins another clause by interrupting it.
Uses commas to signal its function.
My brother, who lives in Canberra, is a public servant.
(Interrupting Clause)
As opposed to:
My brother who lives in Canberra is a public servant
(Embedded clause is part of the nominal group “My brother
who lives in Canberra”….) see Embedded Clause
Broome, which is a really interesting place, is becoming a
popular tourist location.
Projected Clause
A dependent clause that comes after saying
and some mental verbs to project thoughts,
ideas and feelings.
I said that my brother lives in Canberra
They thought that my brother lived in
Canberra
Embedded Clause
Functions inside another clause , ,usually as a part of the noun group or
as participant.
Use ‘who’ or ‘that’ when referring to people
Use ‘which’ or ‘that’ when referring to things.
The woman who is over there is my mother’s best friend.
Attachment 8 (continued)
The dog that barks all night belongs to the man who lives across the
road.
What I really needed was a long holiday
Note that interrupting and projected clauses are dependent, whereas
embedded clauses are simply seen as part of another clause.
Using conjunctions to combine
clauses
Linking – Independent Clauses
(Adjacent clauses that are not structurally dependent on the other)
We went to the cinema and we enjoyed the movie very much.
Monica walked home but her friends got the bus.
(These sentences are sometimes called compound sentences)
Binding - Dependent and Independent Clauses
(One clause is structurally dependent on another. A dependent clause can be
moved with the conjunction attached)
I will get very angry if you kick the ball inside.
OR
If you kick the ball inside, I will get very angry.
(These sentences can be called complex sentences)
Relative clauses as dependent clauses
Relative clauses are dependent clauses which with
‘who, which, that’. Relative clauses can be used to
form more complex sentences
We travelled to Broome, which is a really interesting
place. (Relative clause added to the main
independent clause)
Broome, which is a really interesting place, is
becoming a popular tourist location. (Interrupting
clause)
Some people felt that it was the only solution.
(Projecting clause)
Activity
With a partner, analyse the shaded sections of the text
in Attachment 11B and then try to find the following
language features:
Note that there may not be examples of all of these
features in the text you choose.
An independent clause and then identify its different parts.
Two independent clauses joined by a linking conjunction eg and, but, and
then
A dependent clause joined to an independent clause
A projected clause
A relative clause added to an independent clause
A relative clause in an embedded clause.
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The clause : presentation