English has two basic ways of combining words into groups: phrases and clauses.
- Phrases are centred around nouns (in the van, by early morning).
- Clauses are centred around verbs (she runs the marathon; when he saw the ruins).
Types of Clauses
All sentences are constructed from two types of clauses.
- The main, principal, or independent clause. It contains a subject (noun), a predicate (verb), and expresses a complete thought:
She decided to walk to the park.
(subject) (verb) (= complete thought)
- The subordinate or dependent It also contains a subject and a verb but does not express a complete thought. Subordinate clauses often begin with words like since, while, although, despite, etc.:
Because it was a sunny day…
(subject) (verb) (= incomplete thought)