Thursday, July 7, 2011

Exploring grammar - types of clause and how they are connected

We read about and study this sort of clause and that sort of clause: conditional clauses, relative clauses, subordinate clauses etc. And as advanced students you'll be coming across terms like participle clauses, clauses of concession and noun clauses. But how many types of clause are there? How do they fit into the big picture? That's what I'm going to try and find out here.
I like tables, and I don't think I've ever seen a complete table of clauses, so here goes. I'm bound to miss something out, so this post might get amended now and then. First there is the table, and then some explanations, with lots of examples. There are no exercises with this post, which I wouldn't call a lesson, more of an exploration.
I should also say that some of this categorisation is my own interpretation – in particular, whether to classify non-finite verbs as noun, adjective and adverb clauses. I am neither a linguist nor a grammarian, so don't take this post as gospel truth, it's more of a little experiment.
This is only an outline of the various types of clause. I will try and do some lessons based on some of them later. I've already done one on participle clauses, and quite a few to do with conditionals (see Contents).
Some of the terminology I'm using here is not used so often in EFL materials, but comes from more specialist grammar studies.

Clause types and how they link together

Simple sentence One independent (main) clause

Compound sentence Two or more independent clauses
Independent clauses can be linked with:
  • coordinating conjunctions - and, but, or, etc
  • corelative conjunctions - not only ... but also ..., etc
  • a semicolon
  • conjunctive adverbs, expressing:
    Resulttherefore, consequently, of course
    Concessionnevertheless, yet, still, after all, of course
    Appositionfor, example, that is, namely, in other words, etc
    Additionmoreover, furthermore, also, in addition, likewise, etc
    Timemeanwhile, in the meantime
    Contrasthowever, instead, on the contrary etc
    Summaryin conclusion, thus, so etc
    Reinforcementfurther, in particular, indeed, above all, etc
  • Relative pronouns who, which and adverb where in connective or coordinate relative clauses
Complex sentence An independent clause and one or more dependent clauses
Dependent clauses can be:
Relative clauses (Adjective clauses)
  • Finite relative clauses
    • Defining (restrictive) relative clauses
    • Non-defining (non-restrictive) relative clauses
  • Non-finite relative clauses
    • Reduced relative clauses
  • Other non-finite adjective clauses
    • Participle clauses after verbs of perception + object
    • Participle clauses after there is/are + object
    I'm not sure of these, but they certainly modify nouns
Adverb clauses
  • Finite adverb clauses introduced with subordinating conjunctions, expressing:
    Conditionif, unless, as long as etc
    Timewhen, before, after, since etc
    Purpose(in order) to, so that, in order that
    Reasonbecause, since, as, given etc
    Resultso, so ... that, such ... that
    Concessionalthough, (even) though, while
    Placewhere, wherever, anywhere, everywhere, etc.
    Manneras, like, the way
  • Non-finite adverb clauses - adverbial participle clauses, expressing:
    Simultaneous actions
    Consecutive actions
    The importance of one action happening before another
  • The relative pronoun which in sentential relative clauses
Noun clauses
  • Finite noun clauses
    • That-clauses
    • Interrogative wh- clauses
    • Nominal relative clauses
    • Exclamative clauses
  • Non-finite noun clauses
    • To-infinitive clauses
    • Gerund clauses / Nominal ing-clauses
Comparative clauses
  • Comparisons of non-equivalence - more ... than ... etc
  • comparisons of equivalence - as ... as ...
Difficult to classify
  • Non-finite participle clauses after certain prepositions and conjunctions
It is difficult to say whether these are participle clauses or gerund clauses.
Elliptical clauses
  • A clause where some words have been left out, but where the meaning is still clear. Elliptical clauses can be indendent or dependent (subordinate)
Small clauses
  • Verbless phrases which act like clauses.
Compound-complex sentence Two or more independent clauses with at least one independent clause

A bit more explanation


1. Some basic definitions - the building blocks

sentencea set of words expressing a statement, a question or an order, usually containing a subject and a verb. In written English sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop/period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark/exclamation point (!).
clausea group of words that includes a subject and a verb, and forms a sentence or part of a sentence - In the sentence ‘They often go to Italy because they love the food’, ‘They often go to Italy’ is the main clause and ‘because they love the food’ is a subordinate clause.
phrasea group of words without a finite verb, especially one that forms part of a sentence. ‘the green car’ and ‘on Friday morning’ are phrases.
Definitions from Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

2. Independent and dependent clauses

Before we look at types of sentence we need a couple of definitions:
Type of clauseDescription
independent clausea clause that can stand on its own and make sense
dependent (subordinate) clausea clause that only makes sense when it is attached to an independent clause
main clausea single independent clause which has at least one dependent clause attached to it.

3. The sentence - four structural types

Type of sentenceConsists of:
1. simple sentenceone independent clause
2. compound sentencetwo or more independent linked clauses
3. complex sentencea main clause and at least one dependent (subordinate) clause
4. compound-complex sentenceat least two independent clauses plus at least one dependent (subordinate) clause

4. Linking devices - conjunctions etc

1. coordinating conjunctionand, but, so etc
2. corelative conjunctionnot only .. but also ..., etc
3. subordinating conjunctionif, although, before, etc
4. conjunctive adverbmoreover, however, therefore, etc
There is more information on how these are used in the following sections.

The sentence

1. Simple sentences

A simple sentence consists of one independent clause
  • This boy loves that girl.
  • The handsome boy next door dearly loves that incredibly intelligent and beautiful girl with all his heart.
As you can see a simple sentence doesn't have to be that 'simple', but the important thing is that it only has one verb, and therefore one clause.

2. Compound sentences

A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses linked with:
1. a coordinating conjunction and separated with a comma.
and, but and or are the most commonly used:
  • The boy next door loves Judy, and she loves him
  • The boy next door loves Judy, but she doesn't love him.
  • The boy next door loves Judy, or at least he says he loves her.
There have traditionally said to be seven coordinating conjunctions, which can be remembered with the mnemonic - FANBOYS
for   ·   and   ·   nor   ·   but   ·   or   ·   yet   ·   so
But this categorization is now disputed, and some experts only recognise and, but, or.
In any case the others, whether coordinating conjunctions or not, are used less often
  • Judy doesn't love him, nor does she even find him particularly attractive.
  • She doesn't find him attractive, yet she quite likes his company.
  • She likes his company, for he can be quite amusing when he wants to.
  • He can be quite amusing, so she spends quite a lot of time with him.
  • nor is followed by inversion of the subject and verb
  • yet means something between but and even so
  • for is similar in meaning to because, but is now considered a bit old-fashioned
2. a corelative conjunction
  • either. . .or
    - Either she goes or I do
  • both. . . and
    - She both drinks like a fish and swears like a trooper.
  • neither. . . nor
    - He neither drinks nor does he smoke.
  • not only. . . but also
    - Not only was she late for work but she also insulted the boss.
3. a semicolon when the independent clauses are related:
  • The boy next door loves my sister Judy; he would like to marry her one day.
4. a conjunctive adverb at the beginning of one of the clauses, in which case the adverb acts rather like a coordinating conjunction:
  • The boy next door loves my sister Judy; accordingly / in fact / moreover, he would like to marry her one day.
The independent clauses can either be separated with a semicolon or treated as separate sentence. In whichever case, the conjunctive adverb is separated from the rest of its clause with a comma. There is list of these with their functions at the end of this post.
5. the relative pronouns who and which and the relative adverb where to mean and this person, event, place etc to introduce new information or develop the story further. This is sometimes called a connective or coordinate relative clause:
  • She gave it to David, who passed it on to Sam.
  • He missed his train, which meant we had to start without him
  • We stopped at a nice little hotel, where we had the most delicious lunch.

3a. Complex sentences

A complex sentence consists of a main clause and one or more dependent (subordinate) clauses:
  • The boy who loves Judy lives next door.
  • He loves Judy because she has such an infectious laugh.
  • I don't know why Judy spends so much time with him.

3b. Three main types of dependent (subordinate) clause

Dependent clauses are sometimes divided into three main categories according to their function in the sentence:
  • Adjective clauses (basically relative clauses) - these modify a noun
    • The boy who loves Judy lives next door.
  • Adverb clauses - these modify the verb or the whole of the main clause
    • He loves Judy because she has such an infectious laugh.
  • Noun clauses - these act as subject, object etc.
    • Why Judy spends so much time with him, I have no idea.

3c. Finite and non-finite dependent clauses

  • In finite clauses the verb is in a tense and has a subject.
  • In non-finite clauses the verb has no subject and is an impersonal form.
The main types of non-finite clauses are:
  • To infitive clauses
  • Gerund clauses
  • Participle clauses:
    • Reduced relative clauses
    • Participle clauses after verbs of perception + object
    • Participle clauses after there is/are
    • Participle clauses after certain conjunctions and prepositions
    • Adverbial participle clauses
Note - Some grammarians would probably not regard non-finite clauses as clauses at all, but rather as phrases. This is because they would define a clause as having a verb in a tense with a subject; in other words, a finite verb, as in the dictionary definition above.
The verb in non-finite clauses can, however, be modified with an adverb and have an object, making it to some extent look more like a clause than a phrase:
  • To play the game hard is what is expected of you. (to infinitive)
  • Constantly smoking cigarettes is the way to an early grave. (gerund)
  • Pedalling his bike furiously, he made his way across town. (participle)
For this reason and the fact that the terms 'gerund clause' and 'participle clause' are so widely used, I'll stay with this broader definition.

Dependent or subordinate clauses

1a. Relative clauses - finite

These are sometimes known as adjective clauses, and can be introduced with:
  • relative pronouns: who, which, that, whose
  • relative adverbs: when, where, why, how
and can be:
  • Defining (restrictive) relative clauses
    • The man who/that is talking to my wife is our doctor.
    • That book (which/that) you are looking at was given to us by my aunt.
    • This is the place where we saw the otters.
  • Non-defining (non-restrictive) relative clauses
    • The man with my wife, who lives next door, is our doctor
    • That book, which was given to us by my aunt, is really interesting.
  • Non-defining relative clauses modifying the whole of the main clause (also known as sentential relative clauses)
    • This river is full of otters, which is quite unusual at this time of year.
  • Note that Nominal Relative Clauses are counted as Noun clauses
NB 1 - defining relative clauses with a zero relative pronoun, eg - The book you are looking for is on the table - are sometimes called contact clauses.
NB 2 - non-defining relative clauses which develop the idea of the preceding clause, eg - And Smith passes the ball to Jones, who passes it to Jenkins, who slams it into the back of the net. - are sometimes called connective or coordinate relative clauses. (see Compound sentences 5)
NB 3 - a type of non-defining relative clause which refers to the main clause rather than to a noun, eg - She's late again, which is rather annoying. - is sometimes called a sentential relative clauses. (See 2C)

1b.Relative clauses - non-finite

  • Reduced relative clauses
    • The man talking to my wife is our doctor.
    • The book given to us by my aunt is really interesting.

1c. Other non-finite participle clauses acting like adjectives

  • Participle clauses after verbs of perception + object
    • I saw a man running away.
    • She heard somebody moving about downstairs.
    • He could feel something crawling up his leg.
  • Participle clauses after there is/are + object
    • There is a dog chasing our cat round the garden.
    • There's a boat moored to the quay
    • There are some people over there looking at something.
Note that the two groups of participle clauses act very like reduced relative clauses. It would be possible to insert who is , which is, etc. after the noun.

2a. Adverb clauses - finite

This is probably the biggest category. Adverb clauses modify the verb or the whole of the main clause, and are usually introduced with a coordinating conjunction
Note 1. - Punctuation
  • If the dependent clause comes first, we usually put a comma after it.
  • We don't usually use a comma when the main clause comes first.
Note 2 - Subordinating conjunctions can have more than one function:
  • Just as we were leaving the house, I suddenly remembered I hadn't shut the windows. (time)
  • As we were leaving on to go on holiday, I cancelled the milk and the newspapers. (reason)
  • Why don't you do it just as it says in the instructions? (manner)
Note 3 - Subordinating conjunctions can also sometimes act as adverbs:
  • We'll go to the shops before we have lunch. (conjunction)
  • I've never seen him before in my life. (adverb)

2.1 Conditional clauses

  1. The standard conditionals with if
    1. 0 If you buy two, you get an extra one free.
    2. 1 I'll do the supper tonight if you want, .
    3. 2 If it rained, we would/could have the picnic in the summer house.
    4. 3 She'd have missed the bus if she hadn't run.
  2. Mixed conditionals with if
    • 3/2 If he'd got a better degree, he could be doing his Masters now.
    • 2/3 if she spoke German, she might have got the job.
  3. False conditionals with if
    • If you knew he was married, why did you go out with him?
    • There's some pasta in the fridge if you're hungry.
    • If you like jazz, I've got a very good collection of Charlie Parker.
  4. Future time clauses with unless, as soon as, when, in case, until etc
    • I'll do it now, unless you've done it already.
    • As soon as you get home, go straight to bed.
    • When you see him, give him my regards.
    • Take an umbrella in case it rains.
    • We won't know what to do until we have seen the results.
  5. Conditional clauses with alternatives to if
    as long as, provided, supposing etc
    • As long as the traffic isn't too bad, she should be here any minute.
    • We should have quite a nice day provided the rain holds off.
    • Supposing we offered you more discount, how would that seem?

2.2 Time clauses

when, before, after, since, while, as, until, till, etc..
Note that some of them are the same as those used in Future time clauses, but here they are used in a different way. See also 4. Indeterminate clauses.
  • He met her when he was studying at university.
  • You need to turn the oven on before you start preparing the food.
  • He caught a glimpse of her as she was coming out of the shop.
  • She didn't find out the truth until she read about him in the newspaper.

2.3 Purpose clauses

(in order) to, so that, in order that
  • He didn't say anything (in order) to spare her feelings.
  • So that they wouldn't be late, they took a taxi.
  • In order that everybody completely understood their instructions, he went through them again.

2.4 Reason clauses

because, since, as, given
  • He bought her some flowers because it was her birthday.
  • She forgave him since had had been so kind to her earlier.
  • I'll give it to him tomorrow, as I'm seeing him then.
  • Given how important this project is, it is only right we spend a lot of time and effort on it.

2.5 Result clauses

so, so ... (that), such ... (that)
  • I was very tired, so I went straight to bed.
  • He was so angry, (that) he couldn't say a word
  • She was such a bright kid, (that) she got top grades in all her exams.

2.6 Concessive clauses, clauses of concession

although, (even) though, while
  • Although he took a taxi, he was still late for work.
  • I failed my exam even though I had revised quite hard for it.
  • While I generally like his books, this one left me cold.

2.7 Clauses of place

where, wherever, anywhere, everywhere, etc.
  • Just leave it where the other ones are..
  • He can sleep wherever he is, in a bus, in a plane, anywhere.
  • Put it down anywhere you like.
  • Everywhere you looked, there were people dancing.

2.8 Clauses of manner

as, like, the way
  • Do as I say, not as I do.
  • He walks just like his father does.
  • He always does things the way he wants to, never by the manual.

2b. Adverb clauses - non-finite

Consecutive actions
  • Closing the door behind him, he locked it carefully.
  • Turning off the TV and the sitting room lights, she went up to bed.
Simultaneous actions
  • She walked down the road whistling happily to herself.
  • He sat at his computer writing grammar exercises.
It is important that one thing happened before another
  • Having finished reading for the night, I put out the light.
  • Having done all his exercises, he opened a bottle of beer.
Cause (because (of) + idea in participle clause)
  • Needing a bit of peace and quiet, she went for a country weekend.
  • Having run out of olive oil, I had to cook with butter.
Result (with the result of the idea in the participle clause)
  • I slept in yesterday arriving at work half an hour late.
  • He studied really hard this year passing all his exams.
  • Kept in the fridge, this product should last for four weeks
  • Asparagus is at its best simply served with butter.
Note - having done
It is sometimes hard to decide whether this refers to the importance of one thing happening before another (1), or to the fact that it is the reason (cause) for something else (2).
  • Having finished his beer, he went for a walk. (1)
  • Having finished all the beer, we went to buy some more. (2)

2c. Sentential relative clauses

These are relative clauses introduced with the relative pronoun which that refer back to the whole of the previous clause, and so have an adverbial function:
  • She suddenly announced she was getting married, which surprised everybody.
  • He passed all his exams with excellent grades, which is wonderful news.

3a. Noun clauses - finite

These can have the same position and function as normal nouns
  • Subject
  • Object
  • Complement to the subject (after the verb to be)
  • Object of a preposition

3a.1 that clauses

These can follow certain nouns and adjectives. When the that clause functions as the object, we often leave out that.
  • The fact that you didn't mean it is neither here nor there.
  • It's likely (that) I won't be able to come.
They are common in reported statements
  • He said (that) he would be coming tomorrow.
  • She insisted (that) we (should) go with her.

3a.2 interrogative wh- clauses

who, what, why, when, whether, how, etc
  • I don't know what she wants.
  • I was wondering where to go this year.
Wh-clauses imply a question. They are common in reported questions and indirect question. Note word order.
  • She asked when we would be ready.
  • I wondered how much the job paid.
  • Do you know whether Harry's coming to the party?

3a.3 exclamation clauses

what, how
  • It's incredible how time flies past so quickly!
  • I can't believe how late it is.
  • It's amazing what she can do with just some pasta and a few vegetables.
  • She told me what an idiot I was.

3a.4 nominal relative clauses

In nominal relative clauses, one word acts like a noun and a relative pronoun all rolled into one word. The most common is what, meaning something like 'the thing which', and in some languages this use of what is translated as 'that which', for example: ce que (French) and lo que (Spanish).
  • What I need is a nice hot bath.
  • She gave me exactly what I had been wanting.
  • That's exactly what I said.
  • This book is all about what to do in an emergency.
Other words used in nominal relative clauses include:
whatever, whoever, whichever, when, where, who, why, how
  • Whatever you do is OK by me. (anything that)
  • You can ask whoever you like to the party. (anyone who)
  • Take whichever you like. (any thing which)
  • This photo was taken when we lived in France. (the occasion on which)
  • This is where they used to (the place in which)
  • Oh, is that who you were talking about? (the person who)
  • That's exactly why we told you to be careful. (the reason that)
  • Now this is how you do it, like this. (the way that)

Content Clauses

Linguists sometimes refer to that-clauses as declarative content clauses, and interrogative wh-clauses as interrogative content clauses.

3b. Noun clauses - non -finite

3b.1 to-infinitive clauses

These can function as the subject (rather formal), object, as complement of the subject after be and can also come after certain nouns and adjectives.
  • To be able to sing like that at her age is incredible.
  • We want to go to Corfu this year.
  • Our dream is to save up enough to buy a country cottage.
  • His plan to travel round the world came to nothing.
  • I'm very glad to meet you at last.

3b.2 -ing clauses (gerunds)

These can function as the subject, object, as complement of the subject after be and can also come after certain nouns, adjectives and prepositions.
  • Speaking on your mobile while driving reduces your concentration.
  • He doesn't like using public transport.
  • My biggest fault was not remembering her birthday.
  • We had a bit of a hassle getting here on time.
  • It's so good seeing you again after all those years.
  • They don't approve of swimming in the nude.

4. Comparative clauses

Comparative clauses are a type of subordinate clause. Some people include them as adverb clauses, but the writers of the authorative Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language see them as a separate category of subordinate clause.
In a comparative construction the main clause has a comparative element, for example more or as, and is followed by a comparative clause starting with than or as.
  • It cost me more to rent than I had expected.
  • It didn't cost me as much to rent as I thought it would.
There are two basic structures:


  • older / younger than etc
  • better / worse … than etc
  • more / less … than … etc


  • as ... as ...
  • not as/so ... as ...
  • (not) the same ... as ...
Comparative structures can be quite simple:
  • Tom is taller than Dick.
  • Dick isn't as good looking as Harry.
  • Instant coffee isn't the same as the real thing, is it?
Or quite complex, where the comparative element and the comparative clause can be quite far apart:
  • It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. (Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities)
  • We didn't do as good a job preparing the garden for planting as we should have done.
  • We just did just the same boring old lying on the beach and visiting boring old museums as we do every year
Comparative clauses often involve ellipsis - missing out words
  • A cyclist can't go as fast as a motocyclist. (= as a motocyclist can go)
  • Tom is wiser than Dick. (= Dick is wise)
Many websites preach a 'rule' (which I bet they don't follow in conversation themselves) that we must always use a subject pronoun after than and as, even though that sounds hopelesly formal and old-fashioned to most of us.
  • Tom is taller than I (= than I am tall)
  • Dick is as intelligent as she. (= as she is intelligent)
More intelligent and sensible sources tell us we have a choice:
  • Tom is taller than me. - normal informal spoken English
  • Tom is taller than I am. - neutral
  • Tom is taller than I - very formal)
  • She sings better than him. - normal informal spoken English
  • She sings better than he does. - neutral
  • She sings better than he. - very formal)

5. Indeterminate non-finite clauses

5a. Participle clauses after certain prepositions and conjunctions

Participle clauses sometimes come after certain prepositions and conjunctions. These are sometimes seen as reduced adverb clauses. It can be difficult to decide whether these are really adverbial participle clauses or gerund clauses.
while, when, after, by, on, since
  • While having our picnic, we saw some herons fishing in the river.
  • When eating spaghetti, you have to be careful not to slurp.
  • We went for a walk after doing the washing up.
  • You can adjust the temperature by turning this button.
  • On hearing the fire alarm, everybody should go to the assembly point.
  • Since coming to live here, I've put on a lot of weight.
whenever, as well as, in spite of, before, without, instead of, until, once
  • Whenever visiting a foreign city, I like to just wander around soaking in the atmosphere.
  • As well as being very beautiful, Paris is quite easy to walk around.
  • In spite of having a bit of a reputation, he seemed quite charming to me.
  • Start making the sauce before cooking the spaghetti, not vice-versa.
  • Heat the ingredients gently without burning them.
  • Instead of going to France this year, we are staying at home.
  • Stir the ingredients until well blended.
  • Once dried, the plaster of Paris model can be removed from its mould.
  • He met her when studying at university.
  • You need to turn the oven on before preparing the food.
  • She didn't find out the truth until reading about him in the newspaper.

6. Elliptical clauses

Ellipsis is when we miss out words, and we do it a lot in English. The term Elliptical Clause is used quite a bit, but there doesn't seem to be clear agreement on what constitutes an elliptical clause.
Some people use it for any clause where there is a word missing, such as relative clauses and that-clauses
  • I told you about the man [who(m)] we met yesterday didn't I?
  • She said [that] she would be with us in a minute.
But this is such a standard feature of this type of clause, we hardly need to give them a special name. Some people suggest that Elliptical Clauses must be subordinate adverbial clauses, for example when the verb and/or adjective is missing in a Comparative structure:
  • A jaguar can run faster than an armadillo. (= than an armadillo can run)
  • Tom is taller than Dick. (= than Dick is tall)
Yet others quote examples like the following, which are coordinate clauses:
  • Tom had five dollars; Dick, three. (= Dick had three dollars)
  • Dick liked the color green; Harry, red. (= Harry liked the colour red)
Again, I think ellipsis is such a standard feature of both Comparative structures and the second in a pair of Coordinate clauses, that we don't need to think of them as a different type of clause.
On the other hand, there's a type of adverbial clause starting with a conjunction or preposition such as while, when, before, after, if, though etc. These are similar to the participle clauses we've just been looking at (which some people also consider elliptical clauses), but here both the subject and verb (usually be) are missed out.
This type of clause doesn't, as far as I know, have any other name, and I think really does make a good candidate for being considered as an Elliptical Clause.
  • While at boarding school, he saw his mother once a term. (= While he was ...)
  • When only three, she started to read. (= When she was ...)
  • At the age of three, she started to read. (= When she was three)
  • Before school age, he knew all the major capital cities. (= Before he was ...)
  • If a bit nervous at first, he nevertheless sang his song very well. (= If he was ...)
  • Though from a humble background, she eventually became prime minister. (= Though she was ...)
Warning - As in participle clauses, the implied subject of the Elliptical clause should agree with the subject of the main clause, or we get a dangling modifier:
  • While at boarding school, his mother visited him once a term.
    Who was at boarding school at the time, him or his mother?
  • When only three, her parents divorced.
    A bit young to get divorced, perhaps!
  • Though from a humble background, her career flourished.
    Who (or what) was from a humble background - her or her career.

7. 'Small clauses' - clauses without a verb

These are phrases acting like a clause where the verb, usually a form of to be has been removed. Whether they are in fact clauses and what constitutes a small clause remains controversial, but I thought I'd put them in just for fun.
In most of the examples I've been able to find, the 'small clause' consists of Direct Object + Object Complement
After verbs like find, think, consider, we find adjectives and occasionally nouns as Object Complements
  • David thought Peter stupid (= to be stupid)
  • Peter, on the other hand, considered David an idiot. (= to be an idiot)
  • She considered the challenge incredibly exciting. (= to be incredibly exciting)
  • The jury found the defendent guilty. (= to be guilty)
Another type of example sometimes given is where the -ing form of be is missed out. To me this looks a candidate to be an 'elliptical clause'
  • The game over, we all went to the pub. (= being over)
  • Lunch finished, they went into the garden. (= being finished)
Some sources also include verb forms as Object Complements after verbs of perception like see, hear etc
  • The crowd saw their team lose yet again.
  • Mandy watched Sarah eat her third cake.
Most of this information comes from UCL and Wikipedia, links below.

8. Independent clauses with conjunctive adverbs

Note that some of these can also be used as simple adverbs

Punctuation with independent clauses and conjunctive adverbs

We have a choice: we can have two separate sentences or two related independent clauses within a sentence separated by a semicolon. Whichever we choose, the conjunctive adverb is separated off from the rest of its clause by a comma.
  • We can have two separate sentences. For example, we can have these two sentences.
  • We can have one sentence with two clauses separated by a semicolon; in fact, we can have this one.

Note - this is not a complete list of conjunctive adverbs. For a more comprehensive list, see (link below)

8.1 addition

in addition, besides, furthermore, next, still, also, again
  • We don't have much experience in this field; in addition, the budget won't cover any more expansion
  • That dress doesn't fit you very well; besides, it doesn't really suit your colour.

8.2 comparison

also, likewise, similarly
  • Manchester United won the cup again this year; similarly, they came top of the league.
  • I didn't enjoy that soup very much; also, it was already cold when it arrived.

8.3 concession

granted, nevertheless, yet, still, after all, of course
  • We had a great holiday in Nepal; of course, we couldn't really afford it.
  • The hotel was very comfortable; granted, the food wasn't anything to write home about.
  • The weather wasn't great. Still, I suppose it could have been worse: we didn't actually have a hurricane.

8.3 result

accordingly, as a result, consequently, hence, so, subsequently, therefore, thus
  • Money is very short at the moment; as a result, this year's Christmas party will be held in a pub. I will of course buy the first round.
  • I'm trying to lose weight; consequently, it's orange juice for me, please.
  • Our sales have gone through the roof this month. We are,therefore, paying you an extra bonus in appreciation of all your hard work.

8.4 contrast

although, besides, however, in any case, in contrast, instead, in spite of, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, rather
  • We're not going abroad this year; instead, we're going to the Cornish Riviera.
  • I've never liked tea; on the other hand, I'm very fond of a cup of coffee.
  • She never smokes cigarettes; she is, however, rather partial to small cigars.

8.5 emphasis / reinforcement

above all, certainly, indeed, in fact, in particular, of course
  • A car is very handy; certainly, it never crossed my mind to do without one.
  • A car is essential when you live in the country; indeed, I don't know how we'd do without it.
  • Mediterranean food is very good for you; in fact, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets around.

8.6 illustrating / apposition

for example, for instance, namely, that is, in other words, thus
  • She has quite a green lifestyle; for example, she recycles nearly everything.
  • We teachers have to understand one simple fact; namely, that very few people actually like grammar.
  • I'm afraid I'm stony broke; in other words, I've no money at all.

8.7 summarising

all in all, in conclusion, in short, in summary
  • Well, thank you very much everyone. All in all, it's been a very fruitful meeting.
  • We've decided not to buy it; in short, we haven't enough cash.

8.8 time

afterwards, at last, at the same time, before, earlier, eventually, finally, in the meantime, meanwhile, lately, later, now, since, then, thereafter
  • We couldn't find a hotel anywhere. Eventually, we booked into a Bed and Breakfast.
  • I'll go and get some pasta. Meanwhile, could you start preparing the sauce.
  • The weather looks OK now. Earlier, it looked as though we were going to have rain.

Some comments

-ing clauses - Gerund or participle clause?

TEFL books often don't make a distinction between gerunds and present participles, calling them -ing forms. The difference (as I see it) is that in gerunds the -ing form behaves like a noun:
  • Subject - Smoking (cigarettes) is bad for you.
  • Object - I like reading (crime novels)
  • Subject complement - My favourite form of exercise is cycling (in the forests).
  • Prepositional object - His illness was partly the result of smoking too much.
Whereas in a participle clause, it behaves more like a verb:
  • Smoking a cigarette, he walked down the street.
  • He lay on the bed, reading a crime novel.
  • Cycling through the forest, she saw a lot of deer.
You can read more about this in my post on Gerunds and Gerund phrases

Related posts



PaperCoachNet said...

Thank you for this post.This is very interesting information for me. The medical research topic has stirred the world.

WritePaperForMe said...

Love this!!! Please make more!!!:)Why pay someone to write my essay ?

Nicki Minaz said...

I enjoyed reading your article, and I know you worked hard on it.Your enthusiasm for this topic helps energize your discussion.Your article is really looked nice and great because in this way we can learn a lot of things.
Extremely helpful article to understand the Compound Sentence in an better way.I will recommend to watch your blog.

Vasa said...

Great article friend. It will be especially useful for those who are not native speakers, but are learning English. It will also be useful for native speakers. I work as a designer in ramotion, but I often come across the fact that people are illiterate, unfortunately.