What is a Main Clause?

For a sentence to be complete rather than a fragment, it must include the main clause. In English grammar, the main clause (an independent clause, superordinate clause, or base clause) is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate expressing a complete concept together.

To write sentences effectively, a writer must decide which information to include in the main clause and which to relegate to dependent clauses. The basic rule of thumb is to ensure the most important information goes into the main clause, while information that ties things together by providing description and nuance is placed in a dependent clause.

Examples and Observations

Clauses are made of even smaller units like words and phrases:

  • Words: singular units of meaning, for example, car.
  • Phrases: small groups of words that convey meaning, for example, the quick, blue car.

A clause contains a subject (the person or thing that the sentence is about which is usually the doer of the action) and a predicate (the verb/doing word).

For example:

  • The quick, blue car drove down the road.

In this example, the subject of the clause is “the quick blue car”, while “drove” is the predicate or verb.

  • Dad ate all the pizza.

And in this sentence “dad” is the subject of the clause and “ate” is the predicate or verb

So, what’s a main clause?

The easy definition of a main clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb and can form a complete sentence on its own.

What are Some Main Clause Sentence Examples?

Check out some simple main clause examples below:

  • The lion roared at its prey.

Subject = the lion
Verb = roared

  • The baby cried.

Subject = the baby
Verb = cried

  • The teacher listened to the children.

Subject = the teacher
Verb = listened

  • Jack kicked the ball.

Subject = Jack
Verb = kicked

  • The spider spun a web.

Subject = the spider
Verb = spun

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