Do you have a hard time understanding dependent clauses? In English, we have four types of dependent clauses. In this advanced lesson, I'll help you understand each type of dependent clause and its purpose. I'll give you definitions and examples of each clause. Mastering these clauses will improve your reading comprehension and make you a better writer.
Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam, and today's lesson is a special lesson. It's an introduction to dependent clauses. Now, before I begin, I want you to understand I'm only going to look at the functions of the dependent clauses today. I'm not going to look at how they're built, how to structure them, the conjunctions they use, the relative pronouns they use; only about the functions, because it's very important that you are able to recognize the different types of dependent clauses. Once you recognize the function of a clause, you know how it's built, you know what it's doing in the sentence, you can understand the sentence better, you can write better sentences.
So, dependent clauses, what are they? First of all, they're also called subordinate clauses. You might see "subordinate", you might see "dependent". They're very different from the independent clause. The independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself, and has a complete meaning. It doesn't have... It doesn't need any other information. A "clause" is a collection of words-sorry-that must include a subject and a verb.
Okay, we have basically four types. Technically, we think of three types, but there's one extra one that we're going to look at today. We have "noun clauses", we have "adjective clauses"-adjective clauses" are also called "relative clauses"-we have "adverb clauses", and we have something called a "that clause", which is really none of these three. It's closest to the noun clause, but it doesn't function like a noun clause.
We're going to start with the noun clause, then. What is a noun clause? First of all, a noun clause has a specific function in a sentence. It is used, just like it's called, it's used like a noun. You think of a noun clause as you would a noun, except that it's a clause. There's a subject, there's a verb, there's other pieces to it. We can use it as a subject of a sentence, we can use it as a subject of an otherwise independent clause. "What you do in your free time is your business." So, look... Let's, first of all, look at all the verbs, here. We have "do" and we have "is". We have two verbs. The subject for "you"... For "do" is "you". Okay? What is the subject for "is"? Well, if you look around, it's not "time", it's not "your", and it's not "you" because "you" is already being used. So the whole thing: "What you do in your free time", this is the subject, this is the verb, this is the subject complement. Okay?
Now, very rarely do people actually use noun clauses as subjects, especially in writing. What they might say is "it": "It is your business what you do in your free time." Okay? We call this a "preparatory 'it'". It means we prepare you for the subject that's going to come later. Why do we do this? Because it's more... It's a bit awkward to do it like this. It's more convenient to begin with "it", get to the verb, and get to whatever comes after the verb, and put the subject later because it's long. Okay? "What you do in your free time", subject, "is", verb.
Now, we can use it as a subject complement. A subject complement looks like an object, but it is not. It comes after a "be" verb. It comes after a "be" verb, okay? And it completes the meaning of the subject. So, Tom, what do we know about Tom? "Tom isn't"... Isn't what? He "isn't what you would call friendly." This is the noun clause. There is the subject, there is the verb. These, by the way, these are just called the pronouns or the conjunctions, whatever you want to call them. They begin the clause. Now, as we know from other lessons, "is" works like an equal sign. Tom, not really friendly. That's basically what this sentence means. This is the subject complement to Tom, noun clause. Notice the conjunction "what" can only be used in a noun clause; not in an adjective clause, not in an adverb clause.