Topic: Subordinate clause

Sub-topics

A clause which is subordinate to some other part of the same sentence is a subordinate clause.

Relative clauses in composition

In this activity, students will look at examples of sentences and turn them into one sentence that incorporates a relative clause with a relative pronoun. You can review relative clauses and relative pronouns using the Englicious glossary and 'Professional development' pages, found in the 'Content type' menu to the left.

Relative clauses in composition: Activity

  • This is a dance group. This dance group does not exclude people.
  • This is a dance group which does not exclude people

  • The same status was granted to Montenegro. Montenegro’s inhabitants were encouraged to identify with the territory’s historic identity.
  • The same status was granted to Montenegro, whose inhabitants were encouraged to identify with the territory’s historic identity.

Subordinate clauses in sentences

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right corner of this page. The slide in the Activity page can be displayed on a projector or smart board.

On the slide are several subordinate clauses, including finite and nonfinite clauses. Ask your students to compose 10 new sentences, each containing at least one of the subordinate clauses. Encourage them to use more than one subordinate clause in a sentence.

There are some strong grammatical patterns that guide us. For example, compare:

Subordinate clauses in sentences: Activity

Try to construct 10 new sentences, each containing one or more of these subordinate clauses.

Sentences with 'because'

In this activity, students practise composing sentences with the word because.

Goals

  • Identify the causal relationship that underlies use of because.
  • Compose some reasonable sentences using because.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise using the word because.

Sentences with 'because': Activity

I'm wearing wellies.
Why?
Because it's raining.

I'm wearing wellies
because
it's raining.

You're it.
Why?
Because I tagged you.

Sentences with 'if'

In this activity, students practise composing sentences with the word if.

Goals

  • Rehearse an implicit understanding of the conditional meaning of if.
  • Practise composing sentences using if.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise writing sentences with the word if.

Sentences with 'if': Activity

If you're wearing red, raise your hand.

If you're wearing blue, stomp your feet.

If you're wearing velcro, scratch your head.

If you have a zipper on your clothes, scratch your ear.

If you're the tallest one, wiggle your nose.

Writing with different sentence types

In this lesson, students explore the effects of using different types of sentences, such as simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences. In the National Curriculum compound sentences and complex sentences are now lumped together as multi-clause sentences.

Subordinate or main clause?

 

Try to identify which clauses can stand on their own (click yes) or those which can’t (click no). The capitals and punctuation marks have been removed to make this slightly less obvious.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the relative clause

Identify the relative clause in each of the following examples. Click on the first and last word of the relative clause to select or deselect it.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the subordinate clause

Identify the subordinate clauses in each of the following examples. Click on the words that comprise the subordinate clause to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Subordinate clause?

Select whether the example sentence contains a subordinate clause or not:

Adverbial

Subjects, Direct Objects and Indirect Objects are typically noun phrases  (and sometimes clauses) which identify participants in the situation described by the main verb – they answer ‘who’ or ‘what’ questions.

Adverbials are rather different. Consider the highlighted phrases in the examples below:

Clauses: Finite and nonfinite clauses

Look at each of these examples. Do they have present tense or past tense? Can we change the tense?

  • She feels sick.
  • I was watching TV.

In the first example, we have the present tense verb form feels. We could change to past tense: She felt sick.

In the second example, the verb phrase was watching contains the past tense form was. We could change to the present tense: I am watching TV.

Clauses: Further guidance for teachers

Modern grammatical descriptions of English differ in some ways from the accounts in traditional grammars. This can sometimes lead to confusion. Here we note a few important differences in relation to the analysis of clauses and sentences.

Clauses: Main and subordinate clauses

Typically, a clause expresses a particular situation – an event or state of affairs. To do this, it usually needs to contain a verb. Here is an example of a clause:

  • My brother phoned me on Tuesday night.

This expresses an event, with the verb phoned indicating the type of event.

Here are some more examples of clauses, with the verb phrases highlighted:

Clauses: Relative clauses

Look at the highlighted clauses in these examples. What do they add to the meaning of the sentences?

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link linguistic units such as words, phrases or clauses.

We distinguish coordinating conjunctions such as andor and but from subordinating conjunctions such as because, since, when, while, etc.

Examples of coordinating conjunctions conjunctions are:

Sentence types: simple, compound, complex

This unit further explains simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences, which were introduced in the unit 'Clauses: main and subordinate'. Simple sentences contain one clause, while compound and complex sentences contain more than one clause.

National Curriculum note: The National Curriculum now refers to sentences that contain one clause as single-clause sentences, and those that contain more than one clause as multi-clause sentences.

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