Set III, 2
A clause is often defined as a group of related words that contains both a subject and a
predicate. Like a phrase, a subordinate (or dependent) clause is not a sentence. The
subordinate clause functions as a single part of speech--as a noun, an adjective, or an
adverb. Notice the relationship of the sentences below to the clauses that follow.
That fact I must admit.
Ralph was my first and only blind date.
I married him.
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES IN SENTENCES
I must admit that Ralph was my first and only blind date. (Noun clause--direct object)
The first blind date that I ever had was Ralph. (Adjective clause)
Ralph was my first and only blind date because I married him. (Adverb clause)
In the examples above, that and because are used as subordinators: they subordinate the clauses they
introduce, making these clauses dependent. The following words are commonly used to mark
that, what, which, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose
after, although, as, because, before, if, once, since, that, though, till, unless, until,
when, whenever, where, wherever, while
Subordinators may consist of more than one word:
as if, as soon as, as though, even though, in order that, in that, no matter how, so that
no matter how hard I try, I cannot float with my toes out of the water.
We bought three dozen doughnuts so that everyone would be sure to have enough.
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES USED AS NOUNS
NOUNS NOUN CLAUSES
The news may be false. What the newspapers say may be false.
I do not know his address. I do not know where he lives.
Give the tools to Rita. Give the tools to whoever can use
them best. (Object of a preposition)
That fact--Karen's protest-- The fact that Karen protested
amazed me. amazed me. (Appositive)
The conjunction that before a noun clause may be omitted in some sentences:
I know she is right. (Compare "I know that she is right.")
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES USED AS MODIFIERS
Two types of subordinate clauses, the adjective clause and the adverb clause, are used as
Adjective clauses: Any clause that modifies a noun or a pronoun is an adjective clause. Adjective
clauses, which nearly always follow the words modified, are most frequently introduced by relative
pronoun but may begin with such words as when, where, or why.
ADJECTIVES ADJECTIVE CLAUSES
Everyone needs loyal friends. Everyone needs friends who are loyal.
The golden window reflects The window, which shines like
the sun. gold, reflects the sun.
Peaceful country sides no Country sides where I found
longer exist. peace of mind no longer exist.
If it is not used as a subject, the relative pronoun in an adjective clause may sometimes be omitted:
He is a man I admire. (Compare "He is a man whom I admire.")
Adverb clauses: An adverb clause may modify a verb, an adjective, an adverb, an infinitive, a gerund,
a participle, or even the rest of the sentence in which it appears. Many adverb clauses can take
various positions in a sentence. Adverb clauses are ordinarily introduced by subordinating conjunctions.
ADVERBS ADVERB CLAUSES
Soon the lights went out. When the windstorm hit, the
lights went out.
No alcoholic beverages are No alcoholic beverages are
sold locally. sold where I live.
Speak distinctly. Speak so that you can be
Some adverb clauses may be elliptical.
If I can save enough money, I'll go to Alaska next summer. If not, I'll take a trip to
St. Louis. (Omitted words are clearly implied.)
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES: Harbrace College Handbook, 8th edition, pp. 18-21.