What is a clause?

A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. Clauses are used to build sentences in English. There are many clauses, such as the main clause, relative clause, or a ‘how’ clause.

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 fast, blue car.

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

For example:

  • The fast, 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.

So, what’s the main clause?

The main clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb and can form a complete sentence.

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

What is a simple sentence?

Main clauses can also be called simple sentences when independently used because they make one simple sentence.

What type of sentence contains two main clauses?

A sentence made up of two main clauses is a compound sentence. Compound sentences include two or more independent clauses combined with a comma, a semicolon, or a coordinating conjunction. For example:

  • She finished her homework, so she turned on the TV.

How do you find the main clause in a sentence?

To find the main clause in a sentence, look for a subject and a verb. Once you’ve identified these, see if the clause would make sense as a stand-alone sentence. If this is the case, you’ve probably found the main clause. If not, keep looking!

We’ll use an example below to illustrate the point. Look at the following sentence:

  • I walked past the park where I used to play.

This example is a complex sentence, as it features a main clause (I walked past the park) and a subordinate clause (where I used to play).

In the main clause, ‘I’ is the subject, and ‘walked’ is the verb. It contains both ingredients of the main clause and makes sense on its own. The two clauses are joined by ‘where,’ a connective.

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