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Types of Dependent Clauses

Types of Dependent Clauses

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Dependent clauses, also known as subordinate clauses, can be categorized into three main types based on their grammatical functions within a sentence: noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverb clauses.

Here's more information about each type:

  1. Noun Clauses:

    • Noun clauses function as nouns within a sentence. They can act as the subject, object, or complement.
    • They answer questions such as "who," "what," "when," "where," "why," and "how."
    • Examples:
      • Subject: "What she said surprised me."
      • Object: "I know what she said."
      • Complement: "Her main goal is to succeed."
  2. Adjective Clauses:

    • Adjective clauses, also called relative clauses, modify nouns or pronouns. They provide additional information about the noun or pronoun they are modifying.
    • They are introduced by relative pronouns (e.g., who, whom, whose, which, that) or relative adverbs (e.g., where, when, why).
    • Examples:
      • "The book that she is reading is interesting."
      • "The house where I grew up is now for sale."
  3. Adverb Clauses:

    • Adverb clauses modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They provide information about time, place, manner, condition, reason, purpose, or contrast.
    • They are introduced by subordinating conjunctions (e.g., because, if, when, although, since, while, etc.).
    • Examples:
      • Time: "He left when the movie ended."
      • Place: "She looked wherever she could."
      • Reason: "I didn't go to the party because I was tired."


These types of dependent clauses enhance sentence structure by adding depth, specificity, and additional information. They allow for complex and varied sentence constructions, providing a more precise and nuanced expression of ideas. Understanding the different types of dependent clauses helps in constructing well-formed and cohesive sentences.