Stage 7 Stage 8

This week we are going to look at two very common types of dependent clauses. But first, let´s just revise what a clause is.

A clause is any group of words with a subject and a main verb. We have two types of clauses – Main clauses and Dependent clauses. A Main Clause contains the main message of a sentence, whereas a Dependent Clause just gives us extra information about the main clause. Also, a dependent clause cannot stand on its own. It must have a main clause for it to make sense.

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The two main types of dependent clauses are Time Clauses and Conditional Clauses. Let´s look at the Time Clauses first.

A Time Clause tells us when an action takes place, or in another way, the time information. For example –
~ “I will go home after I finish my work.”

The clause “after I finish my work” is our time clause. It tells us when the person will go home, which is our main clause. Some common words to start a time clause with are after, before, when, until and an actual time, like 5 o´clock.

Another example –

~ “Susan likes to have breakfast before she goes to work.”
The clause “before she goes to work” is our time clause here.

The other main type of dependent clause is a Conditional Clause. A conditional clause usually starts with the word “if” but we can also use words like “except” and “unless”. This type of clause communicates the condition for the information contained in the main clause. For example –

~ “Barça will win if Messi scores.”
In this sentence, “if Messi scores” is our conditional clause. It says that Barça will win on the condition that Messi scores. Another example –
~ “John will go to the beach unless it is raining.”
Here our condition is “unless it is raining”. If it is not raining, then John will go to the beach.

Another thing to remember is that in both time clauses and conditional clauses we cannot use the future tense. We must use the present tense. The future tense is contained within the main clause. So, I cannot say “When I will get home, I will cook dinner.” We must say “When I get home, I will cook dinner.” Another example –

We cannot say “If I will win the lottery, I will buy a boat.” We must say “If I win the lottery, I will buy a boat.”

So, let´s have a look at some more examples.

~ “At 7 o´clock, it will be time to go home.”
The clause “at 7 o´clock” is our time clause here.
~ “If Darren has enough money, he will buy a Ferrari.

Again, “If Darren has enough money” is our conditional clause and “He will buy a Ferrari” is our main clause.

For more practice with time clauses and conditional clauses, have a go at our example questions and see if you can tell what the dependent clauses are. Good luck..”

K. Charles

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Kym Charles
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