Clauses and Phrases


A clause is a group of words containing a subject and verb. An independent clause is a simple sentence. It can stand on its own.

She is hungry.
I am feeling well today.

A dependent clause cannot stand on its own. It needs an independent clause to complete a sentence. Dependent clauses often begin with such words as although, since, if, when, and because.

Although she is hungry …
Whoever is hungry …
Because I am feeling well …

Dependent Independent
Although she is hungry, she will give him some of her food.
Whatever they decide, I will agree to.

A phrase is a group of words without a subject-verb component, used as a single part of speech.

Best friend (noun phrase)
Needing help (adjective phrase; see the "Adjectives and Adverbs" section later in this chapter)
With the blue shirt (prepositional adjective phrase; see the "Prepositions" section later in this chapter)
For twenty days (prepositional adverb phrase)

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