Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 06-01: Clauses II – Introduction


chapter 6: introduction

This chapter will describe the form and function of clauses. There are two primary clause forms: independent clauses and dependent clauses. 
As we described in Chapter 5, a CLAUSE is a  fundamental grammatical structure that must have both a nominal subject and a  main verb phrase/predicate to be a clause. If both elements are not present, then it cannot be a  clause. Also, remember that a clause is NOT a sentence. A sentence can contain one clause, or it can contain many, many clauses. We’ll talk more about sentences and the ways that multiple clauses help us analyze for sentence variety.
In the previous chapter, we introduced clause types to understand patterns (FUNCTION SLOTS) in English. We now want you to take your analysis to another level of complexity by analyzing clauses for form and function. Just as with WORDS and PHRASES, the form of a clause names the clause and the function of a clause states how it is acting in a particular context. Make sure that you understand the difference between clause types and clause forms.
There are two primary clause forms: independent clauses and dependent clauses.
An independent clause is a clause that is able to stand alone as a sentence. An independent clause can only function as an independent clause, so its form and function is always independent clause.
A dependent clause is a clause that is unable to stand independently because of its DEPENDENT MARKER which requires that it function either nominally, adjectivally, or adverbially, thereby fitting into a FUNCTION SLOT as an entire clause.
You should be able to distinguish between an INDEPENDENT CLAUSE and a DEPENDENT CLAUSE. The key difference is whether or not a dependent marker precedes the subject. We will discuss this difference in more detail in the upcoming pages. Moreover, once you can tell the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause, you should then be able to identify  the function of any dependent clause in the context of its sentence.