A clause is comprised of a group of words that include a subject and a finite verb. It contains only one subject and one verb. The subject of a clause can be mentioned or hidden, but the verb must be apparent and distinguishable.

clause is “a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex or compound sentence.” (Merriam-Webster)


  • I came to Australia in 2001. (One clause sentence)
  • When I came to Australia, I went to university. (Two clause sentence)
  • When I came to Australia, I went to university and got a job. (Three clause sentence)

There are 7 types of clauses:

1. Independent clause

An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. An independent clause is a sentence.

2. Dependent clause (also known as subordinate clause)

A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence. 

3. Adjective clause

An adjective clause, which is also called a relative clause, is used within a sentence to provide essential and non-essential information to the reader. It s a type of dependent clause that works to describe a noun in a sentence.

For example:
The man who I was speaking to on the phone is a politician.

4. Adverbial clause

An adverbial clause sometimes referred to as an adverb clause, is a group of words that, together, functions as an adverb.

For example:

Ahmed plays soccer weekly.

5. Noun clause

A noun clause is a dependent clause that acts as a noun. Noun clauses begin with words such as how, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, and why

For example:

Whoever invented Algebra is a genius!

6. Relative clause

 A relative clause is a type of subordinate clause which gives extra information about a noun. It’s connected to the main clause of a sentence using a relative pronoun – words like who, whom, which, that or whose.

For example:

He lives in Victoria, which is the education state in Australia.

7. Conditional clause

Conditional sentences consist of a main clause and a conditional clause (sometimes called an if-clause). The conditional clause usually begins with if or unless. The conditional clause can come before or after the main clause.
There are 4 types of conditional clauses:

  1. Zero conditionals
  2. First conditionals
  3. Second conditionals
  4. Third conditionals

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