A clause is a group of words in a sentence that contains both a subject and a predicate. Every sentence must have at least one principal clause.
Many sentences also has subordinate clauses. The word “subordinate” means “of lesser importance” or “lower in rank.” It is derived from:
sub = below
ordinate = order, rank.
Even though a subordinate clause has both a subject and a predicate, it does not carry a complete meaning. The subordinate clause depends on the principal clause to complete its meaning. At the same time, the subordinate clause adds to the meaning of the principal clause.
Here are some simple examples of subordinate clauses which may appear in sentences.
- while the whole world watch.
- after we left the the party.
- when we saw the elephant.
- that people go to the river every day.
- which we have never seen.
Now let’s work these subordinate clauses into sentences by adding a principal clause in front of them.
1. The President addressed the nation while the whole world watched.
2. The rain started falling after we left the party.
3. We were startled when we saw the elephant.
4. The temperature is so high that people go to the river every day.
5 He pulled out a handkerchief which we have never seen.
Note: The principal clause does not necessary have to come in at the start the sentence.