A group of words, which forms part of a sentence and have a Subject and a Predicate of its own, is known as a Clause. In other words, Clauses are units of grammar that contain at least one predicate (verb) and a subject. A clause, therefore, contains a single verb group, while a phrase does not have a verb and subject and that is the difference between a phrase and a clause. Therefore, the essential component of a clause is the verb and a clause contains only one verb or a verb group. However, a verb group can consist of a single word or combine multiple words.
A Clause is a meaningful combination of words, which can alone express a complete thought. Thus, a clause can be a simple sentence. In other words, a simple sentence contains only one clause. Examples of simple sentences comprising of a single clause: Rabin played / Dipika cooked Pasta / Suman has been sleeping during the English class. / The dog is barking.
A clause can be a part of a compound or a complex sentence, consisting more than one clause. Examples: She is crying (one clause) / She waited for him, but he did not come (two clauses) / My sister likes English, but I like Biology because I want to become a Doctor. (three clauses).
When a phrase conveys a complete meaning and can stand alone as a complete sentence, it is called a Main or an Independent Clause. On the other hand, a Subordinate or a Dependent clause cannot stand alone to give a complete meaning and needs to be combined with the main clause to be a meaningful complete sentence.
In the following examples, the underlined portions are the Main or the Independent Clauses, while the remaining parts are Subordinate or Dependent Clauses: I saw a man, who was limping. / We met a man, who could speak only in Hindi. / My father does not like that particular man, who never keeps his words. / The teacher asked many questions on History, but no one could answer properly.
Two Independent Clauses can be connected by adding a comma and a Conjunction. Examples: He told me to give him a reminder, but I failed. / You may watch the game, or go home. / She wanted to please her parents, so she did not go to the party.
Apart from that, two Independent Clauses can also be connected by using a semicolon and a conjunctive verb like however, moreover, subsequently, consequently, nevertheless and etc.
A clause can act as a noun, an adjective or an adverb.
When a group of words, consisting of a Subject and a Predicate of its own, does the work of a Noun, it is called a Noun clause. Examples: Early to rise is a good habit / He hopes to win the race. / I cannot remember what I did yesterday.
An Adjective clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb of its own and does the work of an adjective. Adjective clauses begin with the relative pronouns, which include who, whom, whose, that and which. However, they may also begin with relative adverbs like when, where and why. Examples of Adjective clause: The umbrella with a broken handle is mine / I remember the house where I was born / Fast food, which is tasty, is not healthy.
An adverbial clause is a dependent clause that functions as an adverb and modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Like the other clauses, it contains a subject and predicate, although the subject as well as the (predicate) verb may sometimes be omitted and implied. Examples of Adverbial clause: Whether you like it or not, you are to do it immediately./ If you pay the bill within the due day, you will get a rebate./ The fireworks will start, after the sun goes down.