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Clauses 1. Intro/Types - Func. Grammar
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1. This webpage: Clauses - types: noun, adjectival/relative, adverbial
More: Clauses - types of adverbial clauses
More: Clauses - clarifying some confusing uses/meanings
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Sentences can be complex and include a main clause, what we call main sentence, or a subordinate clause, what we call clause. There are 3 types of clauses:

bullet Noun clauses: A clause which acts as the subject or object (O) or as the complement (C, atributo in Spanish)
bullet Adjectival or Relative clauses: They refer to nouns (generally) and therefore perform the same syntactic function as the preceding noun or antecedent, this means they are PART of whatever syntactic function that noun performs in the sentence. For instance, The girl who is eating prawns is Russian, who is eating prawns is the relative clause which is modifying “girl”, so the subject of is Russian is the whole idea The girl who is eating prawns. Likewise, I don’t like the film we saw last night has the relative clause we saw last night modifying film, so the object of the main sentence (I don’t like) is the film we saw last night, and not the film only.
bullet Adverbial clauses are complementos circunstanciales. There are different types: time clauses, (CCT), place (CCL), manner (CCM), comparison, reason or cause (CCC), purpose (CCF), result (consecutivas), conditional, concession.

Clauses can be finite or non-finite. In other words, they may have a finite verb (a verb with a subject in a tense) or a non-finite verb (an infinitive, a present participle [-ing] or a past participle, no subject).

NOTE: Square brackets indicate the clause, underlined word(s) indicate the link in finite clauses and the non-finite verb in non-finite.

Type of CLAUSE



Noun clauses

[What you said] was great
> subject

(Infinitive, Present participle)
[To give up at this stage] would be a pity
> non-finite noun clause, infinitive, subject
[Closing the factory] would mean unemploy­ment for all
> non-finite noun clause, gerund, subject

Adjectival Clauses
or Relative Clauses

We bought the house [which you had rented]
> object, part of the object!

(Infinitive, Present and Past Participles)
I have something [to tell you]
> non-finite adjectival clause; infinitive
The thieves took two bags [containing $2,000]
> present participle
I couldn't read the instructions [given in the manual]
> past participle

Adverbial Clauses*

I shall see you [when we return]
> time adverbial

(Infinitive, Present and Past Participles,
Perfect Participle)
[To speed up the process] she bought a computer
> non-finite adverbial clause, infinitive of purpose
[While travelling by air], she was taken sick
[Given time], she'll do the job extremely well
[Having finished their task], they went out for a drink