English Grammar Review
Clauses and Punctuation
A clause is a group of related words containing a subject and a verb:
clause : I prefer the earlier tram
clause : which departs at four o'clock
clause : check the schedule [subject = You]
clause : before you leave
Clauses are either independent or dependent. An independent clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence:
I prefer the earlier tram.
Check the schedule.
A dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause, is not complete and must be attached to some element in an independent clause:
I prefer the earlier tram, which departs at four o'clock.
[The dependent clause modifies the noun tram.]
Check the schedule before you leave.
[The dependent clause modifies the verb check.]
There are three kinds of dependent clauses: noun, adjective, and adverb.
A noun dependent clause can function as a noun in a sentence:
Nadia learned about your comment.
[noun (not a clause)]
Nadia learned about what you said.
Most noun clauses are connected to an independent clause using a subordinating conjunction such as that. Others include what, which, if, whether, who, whom, when, where, whoever, and whatever.
Noun clauses are most commonly placed after a verb, but they can also serve as a noun in other places in a sentence. Here are some examples, categorized by the vocabulary of English grammar:
Our opinion is that sales in Moscow could be better.
Mr. Ivanov's decision was that we should scrap the app.
object of a verb:
Mikhail knows what we have been working on.
Mr. Ivanov decided that we should scrap the app.
object of a preposition:
Sasha is worried about how this will affect us.
Send it to whoever ordered it in Vladivostok.
subject of a verb:
What Ms. Smirnov wants is unknown at this point in time.
Whatever you recommend will be presented to Egor.
subject of a verb, via "it":
It is not clear what we need to focus on next.
What we need to focus on next is not clear.
Lesson: Dependent Noun Clauses
Module: Clauses and Punctuation
Course: English Grammar Review