Main Clause vs. Subordinate Clause

A main clause is an independent clause. It makes complete sense and hence it can stand alone. Examples are given below.

  • I live with my parents.
  • She works abroad.
  • You are my best friend.
  • My son wants to be an entrepreneur.

A main clause has a subject and a finite verb. A finite verb is a verb whose forms change when there is a change in the number or person of the subject.

Study the examples given below.

  • I write stories.
  • He writes stories. (The verb write becomes writes when the subject is a third person singular pronoun.)
  • My son writes with his left hand. (The verb write becomes writes when the subject is a singular noun.)
  • They write stories.

Note that every clause must have a finite verb.

A main clause is not introduced by a conjunction or relative pronoun.

A subordinate clause cannot stand alone. It is usually introduced by a conjunction or a relative pronoun.

See also

Just like a main clause, a subordinate clause also has a subject and a finite verb.

Examples are given below

  • because he was angry
  • that she would come
  • when you are free
  • if you are hungry

As you can see subordinate clauses do not make complete sense and hence they cannot stand alone. They need to be connected to a main clause.

  • I said nothing (main clause) because he was angry (subordinate clause).
  • She said (main clause) that she would come (subordinate clause)
  • Give me a call (main clause) when you are free (subordinate clause)
  • I will make an omelette (main clause) if you are hungry (subordinate clause)
See also  Use Of Present Perfect Tense

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