All clauses in English have at least two parts: a noun phrase and a verb phrase

Noun phrase (subject) Verb phrase
The children
All the people in the bus
laughed
were watching

But most clauses have more than two parts:

 

Noun phrase (subject) Verb phrase    
The children
John
All of the girls
This soup
Mary and the family
She
laughed
wanted
are learning
tastes
were driving
put

a new bicycle
English
awful
to Madrid
the flowers




 
in a vase

The first noun phrase is the subject of the sentence:

The children laughed.
John wanted a new bicycle.
All the girls are learning English.
She put the flowers in the vase.

English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. Was a teacher. He was a teacher.
I’m waiting for my wife. Is late. She is late.

… except for the imperative which is used to give orders:

Stop!
Go away.

… and for "soft imperatives" like invitations and requests:

Please come to dinner tomorrow.
Play it again please.

If we have no other subject we use "there" or "it" as subject. We call this a ‘dummy subject’:

There were twenty people at the meeting..
There will be an eclipse of the moon tonight.

It’s a lovely day.
It’s nearly one o’clock.
I have toothache. It hurts a lot.

Exercise

Comments

Hi there! I wish there could be a page just with lots of sentences with emphasized parts of clause such as subject, verb, adverbial etc. I do understand that it's tons of hard work but I also believe that it will be appreciated not only by me but also by a vast amount of people who consider this theme to be at least tens times less as essential I do .

Hi there! Could you help me with this: Our flight time will be approximately forty-five minutes?
Which is right?
1) [our flight time (subject {noun phrase} ) ]
[will be (verb {verb phrase} ) ]
[approximately forty-five minutes (complement {noun phrase} ) ].
OR
2) [our flight time (subject {noun phrase} ) ]
[will be (verb {verb phrase} ) ]
[approximately (adverbial (adjunct?) {adverb phrase} ) ]
[ forty-five minutes (complement {noun phrase} ) ].
I've just realized that understanding the clause structure is one of the most important things in English, isn't it?
P. S. That what you're doing is something so useful for me that I'm afraid of my disability to describe, even in my native language, not to mention English *which I love so much that I would say 'who' instead of ' *which' but for the grammar, a titanic boost that you're giving to all of us all the time.

Hi sir,
They were fond of music,played on various kinds of instruments,and indulged in much singing.
Tell me is it a clause "played on various kinds of instruments" and if it is so what kind of clause it is?

Hello aseel aftab,

This is an example of a reduced relative clause:

They were fond of music (which was) played on various kinds of instruments, and (they) indulged in much singing.

 

The clause here describes the noun 'music' and so has an adjectival function.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Much as we like Shakespeare's comedies,we cannot agree with Dr Johnson that they are are better than his tragedies.
Could you please tell me that the clause"that they are better than his tragedies"is what kind of clause a noun or an adverb clause of comparision of degree?

Hello aseel aftab,

The that-clause here acts as a noun clause and is the direct object of the verb 'agree'. There are many verbs which take a that-clause as an object (see here and here, for example).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! I want to express my thanks for the lessons and the exercises. My problem here is that after finishing the exercises it says that there are seven more items to do but I tried and couldn' t find them. Thanks!

Hello kallarati,

Thanks for your comment! It's always great to hear that people appreciate our work.

I'm sorry for the confusion with the task. In this kind of exercise, you can tick more than one box in some questions, which is why it says there are items remaining. If you tick too many boxes for a question, the exercise will tell you this.

After you click or press the Finish button, it turns into a Show Answers button. This will show which boxes should have been ticked.

I think that should solve the problem for you, but if not, please let us know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

After 12th the exercise is not permiting advance to next question.

Hello delsonscoelho,

The twelfth sentence is the last one, so after that you can click or press on Finish. Then you can click or press on Show Answers if you want to see them. I've just used the exercise and haven't had any trouble, but if you still can't get the exercise to work for you, please let us know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pages