ESL Term:


ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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clause: A group of words having both a subject and predicate. Independent clauses are clauses that can stand on their own. Subordinate clauses are clauses that cannot stand on their own as they do not express a complete idea.

For example,

        I ate the bread, even though it was moldy.

I ate the bread is a complete idea and so it is an independent clause, whereas even though it was moldy does not express a complete idea; it is a subordinate clause.

Of particular interest to ESL teachers are clauses that act as other parts of speech such as the adverbial clause, adjective clause, and noun clause.